I worship You, Father, for setting me on the “path of life” that leads to “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Read Proverbs 24:1–22
24 Do not envy the wicked,
do not desire their company;
2 for their hearts plot violence,
and their lips talk about making trouble.
3 By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
4 through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.
5 The wise prevail through great power,
and those who have knowledge muster their strength.
6 Surely you need guidance to wage war,
and victory is won through many advisers.
7 Wisdom is too high for fools;
in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.
8 Whoever plots evil
will be known as a schemer.
9 The schemes of folly are sin,
and people detest a mocker.
10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
how small is your strength!
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
do not plunder their dwelling place;
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers
or be envious of the wicked,
20 for the evildoer has no future hope,
and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.
21 Fear the Lord and the king, my son,
and do not join with rebellious officials,
22 for those two will send sudden destruction on them,
and who knows what calamities they can bring?
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWould you characterize your life as “full of joy”?
You have good reason to be full of joy! Eternal wisdom dares to hope big, knowing that in all things God “works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Proverbs is full of “future hope” (14, 16, 19, 20) for those who choose God’s wisdom, but what immediate help in the ground zero of our sufferings can it give? “More contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world” (John Piper, Desiring God, IVP, 2004). The letter of James, which picks up many of Proverbs’ concerns, calls us to treat trials as “pure joy” for they develop perseverance leading to mature faith (James 1:2–4). How have you laid hold of wisdom’s perspective on your struggles?
Like the court officials addressed by these proverbs we must choose to build and furnish ourselves with wisdom (3, 4), which is a gradual process, but we’ve also received Jesus as a gift of wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30). This is the concentrated hit of honey that brings the joy, strength, and sweetness of the good news alive in us (13, 14)! So it’s with a blend of wise strategy, merciful responsibility-taking and God’s power that, working together as the church, we will rescue many (5, 6, 11).
Who has God given you to “rescue” in some way? This may include people you’d call “enemy” (17). How can you use wisdom to be a peacemaker?
God of peace, may I be an image-bearer of You.