All of my grandchildren love to read, and my sweet granddaughter Lucy’s favorite place to hang out at Nana and Pappy’s house is what she calls “the library”. It’s really an office, but the walls are lined with books. She loves to put on her fake reading glasses and pretend she is the librarian. She will stay in that room for an hour, patiently waiting for someone to come check out a book (and of course Nana is her assistant who scouts for willing participants!)
She comes by it honestly. As a child I could spend hours in a library, scanning the endless possibilities. Perusing through page after page trying to choose which book I couldn’t possibly live without, I would check out the maximum number allowed. Pastor and I both love to read, and so do our children, who have passed the love of books down to the next generation.
In Proverbs, Solomon is writing so much more than fatherly advice to his son. His words were not meant to be a “take it or leave it” speech. These words of wisdom that a father wants to instill in his son, Proverbs 10 takes a turn from the poetic to imperative. A kind of “laundry list” if you will, that sorts out the good from the bad and the righteous from the wicked. The parallelism is stark:
“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son, heartache to his mother.” Proverbs 10:1
While many of the proverbs on this long list seem obvious, each of them are a reminder from God that there really are only two choices we make–we follow God’s way or we choose to go our own way.
And God’s way is always good and right and best.
Because I love my children and grandchildren dearly, verse one is one that I can look at and say “Amen!”. Parents get it. Our hearts can barely contain the joy when our kids do well, and we are broken-hearted when they make bad choices.
How much more our Heavenly Father wants to see us succeed.
And so, He gives us proverbs. He has Solomon pen these words of wisdom so we can see the difference in a life that chooses wisdom and one that does not.
“The one who follows instruction is on the path of life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.” Proverbs 10:17
Chapters 10-24 are a collection of Solomon’s proverbs. If you read chapter 10 today one verse might stand out to you more than the other. I take notes. I write in my Bible. And through the years I can clearly see how, depending on the stage of life I am in, God will teach me something new. It might be one verse or it might be a collection of thought about a particular subject.
Chapter 10 really spoke to me about the importance of what we say. Verse 6, “mouth of the wicked”, Verse 8, “foolish lips”, Verse 11, “mouth of the righteous”, and the list goes on reminding me that what I say matters:
Read it for yourself. Take note. Look for the truth in his words. Some are obvious–some are painfully obvious.
And that’s okay. Seeking answers is more than just hearing what God says, it’s taking what you’ve learned and applying it to today. It means living it out in the next moment, and the next.
Relationships are important. We value time with our family just as Solomon must have. These words are practical. They will help you to see and understand what is good and best for your life. As much as I love to read, no other book can do that. There can be truth in fiction and we can learn from history, but nothing replaces the truth and life we find in Scripture. Make it your go-to guide-book for life and I guarantee you will start to see life-changing results.
“The hope of the righteous is joy, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.” Proverbs 10:28