#6 of 100

#6 of 100







Back to that website that has produced a list of the 100 MOST-READ Bible verses (i.e., read on their site). I do not question the statistics they supply. Number SIX on their list of the 100 most read is Proverbs 3.5. Verse six is needed to get the whole sentence:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  What a blessing is the Book of Proverbs!

In John G. Butler’s work, Analytical Bible Expositor, he breaks down the command of Proverbs 3.5-6 into a threefold charge, alliteratively each beginning with the letter D: (1) Dependence; (2) Deference; and (3) Devotion.

First, there is DEPENDENCE: Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  It is what God expects of us and, in fact, demands. So frequently, in Old Testament times, God’s people failed in this expectation! They were easily swayed away from the proper trust of God toward trusting the gods men had created for themselves. Also, they tended to trust in themselves rather than in the God Who had blessed them in so many ways in the past. It is easy today to fail in this regard by trusting science or the views of the worldly-educated rather than that which equips us for every good work (2 Tim 3.16-17), the very God-breathed word. How helpful it would be for you and me to reflect upon another great proverb: Prov 14.12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Another bit of wisdom is found at Proverbs 29.25, The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Jesus makes so clear the importance of trusting in God as He teaches us: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Second, there is DEFERENCE: Lean not on your own understanding. How many times have we made important life decisions having ignored this great principle? We serve, worship, and love an omniscient God. Not only so, He is a good God. He cares for His people. How foolish is it for us to think that we can come up with a better way than is presented to us in God’s Word? We have a Book to follow that will lead us from here to eternal glory. The abundant life Jesus speaks of in John 10.10 is by far the superior life to live while we walk upon this earth. Abraham certainly was wise to wait for “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11.10). Guidance from the almighty is such a great blessing and leaning on His revelation as the guide for our lives will never be wrong.

Third there is DEVOTION: In all your ways acknowledge Him. Whatever we do, before we do it, we must be assured it is according to His will. It is easy to get to the point where we have little compartments for the many aspects of a modern-day lifestyle. We may set aside that certain amount of time on Sundays and Wednesdays for worship to God. The rest of the time is “for us.” That sort of reasoning is what leads to the opposite of what is suggested with this command from Proverbs 3.6. God’s instruction to us in Scripture is to be consulted in the multiple decisions of every aspect of our lives, day by day.

If it is our desire to have God direct our paths, it will be necessary to pay close heed to these three commands found in Proverbs 3.5-6. What a thrill it is to know there is a way to live which has God directing our paths! But it is a great challenge forever before us.




A Special Kind of Wisdom

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The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise (Proverbs 11.30). The Book of Proverbs is a great source of practical instruction about life and how to live it in the best possible way. A great suggestion for becoming more familiar with Proverbs is to read one chapter from this great book each day. Following this procedure, the book gets read each month. Proverbs 11.30 certainly ought to be a verse that slows us down as we read to spend some serious “pondering time.” To ponder is not as common as once it was, because of the rush-rush world in which we live.

I have an old volume of Teacher’s Annual Lesson Commentary in my personal library. I love these books, especially some of the older ones. This particular book was published in 1952 for the use of Bible Class teachers in 1953. One of the many texts dealt with in this edition of the series is Proverbs 11.30. Roy H. Lanier, Sr., was the editor of this volume. He makes application of this text to wise men winning souls away from destruction. He lists seven reasons why such an activity is to be labeled W-I-S-E.

  1. When we win a soul for Christ, we lessen the influence for evil in the world.
  2. When we win a soul for Christ we increase the total influence for good in the world.
  3. When we win a soul for Christ we have done that person the greatest favor it is possible to do.
  4. In that way we cause more joy in heaven than we can cause in any other way (Luke 15.7).
  5. In doing so, we save a soul from eternal death (James 5.20).
  6. We transform a life from sin and shame unto a life of righteousness and usefulness.
  7. In doing so, we are trying to win our own souls from destruction by not only hearing but doing what Jesus has taught us to do (Matthew 7.24-27).

May I just ask you to look over brother Lanier’s seven points once again? It is easy to skim through a list and not get the full benefit that is available with a careful consideration of that which is listed.

I want us to contemplate the immense value the work of winning souls happens to be. Can we not find within this listing of the value of evangelistic activity some point that will serve as a goad or prick to our own feeble efforts in that direction? Paul was told by our Lord that it was hard for him to kick against the pricks (Acts 9.5). The “prick” or “goad” was the same instrument used by Shamgar to kill 600 Philistines (Judges 3.31). The prick was a sharp piece of iron on a stick with which the ox is urged on in the right direction by its owner [Barnes’ Notes]. I have seen them used quite effectively in India and Indonesia. Let’s allow these shining truths to prick us in the right direction, also.

To be wise with the use of our God-given resources is something good and pleasant to the Lord. If we would take notice of the opportunities that come our way to reach out to the lost and to be an influence for that which is right and good, the rewards for the vision and actions should truly be large. For those of us at Maple Hill, let’s be sure to get those “business cards” out into the public!

Tools that are available to us today are truly amazing! The use of whatever means or method we have available to work toward winning lost souls just has to be the most special kind of wisdom!