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8th June

Proverbs 25-27; Psalm 4

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
8th June

Proverbs 25-27; Psalm 4

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Proverbs, we’ve read through the introductory speeches from a father to his son and started the wisdom one liners. We learnt that wisdom is to be practised and that these aren't promises or laws. They are principles for living out righteousness and justice. The father started out by warning his son to avoid following those who are wicked. Instead, he should chase after Lady Wisdom, the embodiment of wisdom. Lady Wisdom calls out to all to listen to her, but the foolish ignore.

The father explained the value of wisdom and how it only comes from God. It comes when we put our trust in God and not ourselves. And it also comes as part of righteousness. They’re a package deal. If you’re not living righteously, you’re not listening to wisdom. Wisdom should be a lifelong journey. It doesn’t happen overnight.

The father then brought a second character, the adulteress. While pursuing Lady Wisdom leads to righteousness and life, pursuing the adulteress will destroy your life. This wasn’t meant to serve on a commentary on women. It’s a father using the idea of a good woman and a bad woman to teach his son wise principles. The ways of the adulteress seem attractive to begin with, but they soon lead to destruction. Instead, the son should hold to integrity and right living. The father also offered some practical advice. From handling debt, to working hard, to keeping your talk honest.

Again the father warned about the temptings of the adulteress, the life that looks good but quickly destroys. He explained that she uses all sorts of tricks to distract you from thinking so she can lure you in. In order to protect yourself from this, you need to guard your thoughts from being clouded, not stray too close to temptation, and look beyond the immediate promises of pleasure to the consequences of these actions. In contrast, Lady Wisdom is an open feast where all are invited and should be encouraged to join. As long as you fear God and put your trust in him and his wisdom, then you will be blessed. All of this then becomes the lens through which the wisdom sayings are looking through.

Proverbs 25-27

As we’ve mentioned so far, because the proverbs aren’t passages you study, but passages you soak yourselves in, I’m not unpacking what they mean. Instead, I’m modelling what applying the proverbs to your life could look like. Try to find a handful of proverbs that jump out to you in today’s reading. Here are some that jump out to me.

“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” (Proverbs 25:1). This is one of my favourite proverbs at the moment. God’s glory is that he’s taken the mysteries of the universe, wisdom, who he is, and more so that we can search them out. In searching to better understand God and the universe he made we are participating in worship.

As someone who likes to think deeply and wrestle with different questions, I often get asked, “What‘s the point? We’ll never know this side of heaven”. I get the idea, but for me the wrestling with the question is how I engage with God. Now genuinely arguing with people on theological questions we don’t know the answer to is pointless. But for me, wrestling with them, even when I know I’ll never get a proper answer, is worship.

"Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;" (Proverbs 25:4). Just like silver needs to be purified of mineral waste before it can be used, so do we, as humans, need to rid ourselves of excess waste if we want to be useful. Each one of us picks up baggage, bad habits, and poor thinking as we go through life. These things hold us back from what we're called by God to be doing.

And these things don't just go away on their own. We have to be intentional about searching ourselves, finding these things, and dealing with them so we can remove them from ourselves. This is why a book like Proverbs is so useful. It allows us to identify these things that we might otherwise miss so we can rid ourselves of them.

"Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end." (Proverbs 25:9-10). I have been guilty of this. I'll be talking about someone, gossipping about someone, and it will get back to them. Then often that person is hurt and angry, and also able to point out I was wrong all along.

What I said never actually happened, or I'd got the completely wrong end of the stick. What I thought was harmless gossip ended up doing a lot of damage and bringing me to shame. Gossip is one of the most dangerous things to our friendship groups and communities. We need to learn to kill it in ourselves and refuse to engage in it when others start.

"It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory." (Proverbs 25:27). To use a modern proverb, it's possible to have too much of a good thing. As a child, every Easter I was the bane of my parents. I would eat all my Easter eggs in one go and then a little later throw them all up.

This is what it's like for someone who seeks their own glory and praise. Yes, glory and praise are good things, but only when we let others give them to us naturally. When we try to twist the situation so that people give us praise, it will make us feel sick in the long run because it wasn't genuine or properly earned. Deep down, we know this, which then makes us want more praise to satisfy this need. It's a vicious circle. Instead of seeking it for ourselves, let it come naturally.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." (Proverbs 27:6). One thing that I prize dearly from those close to me is honesty. If I've been a jerk, I want to be told that I've been a jerk. This isn't my friends being mean, it's them giving me some really good information when I can't see it.

There are too many people out there that don't like someone, but will say nice things to them just to appease them. I don't want to be surrounded by people who say nice things to my face, but inwardly don't like who I am. I want people close to me who are willing to tell me the truth, even when it hurts, because they care for me.

Psalm 4

This psalm is attributed to king David, and falls into the category of lament psalm.

Psalm 4:1 - Asking God to hear and answer

Psalm 4:2 - The complaint

Psalm 4:3 - Declaring trust in God

Psalm 4:4-5 - Wisdom offered to those struggling

Psalm 4:6-8 - Declaring trust in God

Turning to God, the psalmist’s main desire is to know that God is listening. Often when we go through difficult times, the most difficult thing is feeling like God is silent in our struggle. 

It seems like they are being accused of something, and they are upset that their honour has been turned to shame, and that everyone is making up lies about them. But this person chooses to respond to these insults by putting their trust in God. While humans may accuse and lie, God set those that are his apart and listens to them when they pray.

Next, they give themselves a pep talk. In the midst of this struggle, it would be very easy to make some poor decision and do stuff they shouldn’t. Instead, they should not respond out of anger but take themselves away and think through everything properly. They should make sure they are right before God and put their trust in him.

The psalmist is now beginning to pull themself out of their sense of despair. They could continue like many others, wondering if anything good will happen and begging God to be kind to them. But the psalmist knows that God’s will is already for them and has given them the joy they needs to survive.

And so to end, the psalmist makes the greatest declaration of trust in God. They will sleep peacefully that night, knowing that God is the one who keeps them safe. 

Just as Psalm 3 is a prayer that was commonly read out in the morning, Psalm 4 was read out in the evening before going to bed each night. These two psalms serve as a reminder of the importance of starting and ending each day with God. It’s the greatest way to get through those difficult times.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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