Lesson 123: Proverbs 3:9-10…
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
This is one of the greatest promises of God regarding our money. The language is agrarian, but the principle clear: if we are generous with God, he will be generous with us. Giving to God is an important act of worship, but also a way to be blessed. Many have found that God faithfully meets their needs, as they faithfully honor him with their money.
Unfortunately, there are false ministers who abuse the Bible’s teaching to raise money for themselves. The worst example I have seen was a preacher on television who asked people to use their credit cards to give a thousand dollars. In return he promised that God would bless them financially, especially those who were in debt. Your credit card got you into debt, and your credit card can get you out of debt, he said.
But even the worst examples do not negate the biblical truth that if we are generous with God, he will be generous with us. The best financial advice I know is to save ten percent, give ten percent, and live on the rest. How much we give is up to us (2 Corinthians 9:7a), but God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7b), wrote Paul.
Proverbs 3:33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
Some homes are filled with happiness, harmony and joy. Others are filled with hatred, rage and despair. Some homes are unusually happy. Others are so miserable that no one wants to be there. Our misery or happiness may have various causes, but in general, righteousness brings a blessing and wickedness brings a curse.
That is why it is so important for the righteous to guard their hearts and homes from wickedness. If your home is not as happy as it could be, start by cleansing your heart of everything impure. Then remove from your house anything that belongs to you, but does not bring glory to God. Then be careful what comes into your home electronically. If Jesus feels at home in your house, he will bring a blessing. If not, all that’s left is a curse.
Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
The elderly are sometimes described as living in their sunset years. This is a positive way to describe life’s end, since a beautiful sunset can be glorious. If you complete the analogy, childhood is morning, adulthood is afternoon, and retirement is evening. But that is not the image we find here. For those who belong to God, all of life is morning, and death is high noon. We do not ride off into the sunset, but step into an even brighter light.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there (Revelation 21:23-25), wrote John.
Christianity is a faith of radical optimism, not because there are no hardships, but because our story ends well, and then goes on forever.
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Whatever you allow into your heart affects every part of your life. This is true of love, joy and peace, as well as hatred, bitterness and wrath. One of the most important things we can do, therefore, is to protect our heart from evil.
An American soldier on foreign soil did not know he was in danger, but a professional sniper had his heart in the crosshairs. The sniper gently squeezed the trigger, and the bullet hit its mark. The soldier went down, but was able to get back up again because he was wearing protective armor. Since we are always in the devil’s crosshairs, guarding our heart means life or death.
Proverbs 4:27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Our sinful nature is like a dog on a leash, trying to pull us off the path. He is a big dog, curious about everything, and pulls hard right and left. Our job is to control the dog and force it to obey. Unless we do, it will take us where we do not want to go. That is about as silly as a dog walking its owner.
Proverbs 6:32 [A] man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.
There are a number of proverbs that deal with the subject of adultery, perhaps because it ran in Solomon’s family. Solomon’s father was the great King David. He started out as a humble shepherd who followed the Lord with all his heart. God blessed him, and gave him tremendous success at leading the nation of Israel.
A turning point in David’s life was an act of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-4). Prior to that, David’s life was characterized by victory and success. Afterward, he experienced hardship and failure. Solomon knew from his father’s experience that few things are more destructive than adultery, and by extension, all sexual sin.
The sexual impulse is one of the strongest in human nature, and is not always subject to human reason. Many who know the risks are sexually reckless, and some even believe that sex is worth dying for. Others keep their body from adultery, but commit it in their mind on a regular basis.
Many wives are hurt to find their husbands looking at pornography, any many husbands are hurt to learn their wives long for someone else. The biblical ideal is an exclusive union between husband and wife, committed for life in a covenant of marriage. That ideal has never been improved on, and is worth a little self-control.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Wisdom is mostly about the future. The farmer who puts off caring for his crops until the day before the harvest is not wise. And the student who puts off studying until the night before the exam is not wise. And the athlete who puts off training until the day before the event is not wise. But the person who does not get ready for Judgment Day is the biggest fool of all. Wisdom uses every day to get ready for that day. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Reflection and Review
How much money should we give to God?
How can we make our homes happier?
How can we prepare for Judgment Day?