Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Proverbs 3:1-12 and Five Attitudes Towards God

Proverbs 3:1-12

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as a father the son in whom he delights.

When it comes to our attitudes towards God, five specific attitudes are urged on us. 

First, we are to be steadfast in our commitment (Prov. 3:3–4; cf. Dt. 6:8; 11:18). Love and faithfulness are a key Old Testament word pair suggesting the making and keeping of commitments. Such characteristics belong to God, and constitute aims for the human response to God and to other people (e.g. 14:22; 16:6; 20:28; Pss. 25:10; 40:10–11).

Secondly, we are to be dependent in our thinking (Prov. 3:5–6). Trust and lean both suggest the physical experience of supporting yourself on something or someone in total and helpless reliance and commitment.

Thirdly, we are to be humble in our obedience (Prov. 3:7–8). Wise in your own eyes denotes not merely proud of your own wisdom but self-sufficient in it and therefore not feeling the need to refer things to God (no doubt a besetting temptation for people committed to finding wisdom).
Fourthly, we are to be lavishly generous in our giving (Prov. 3:9–10; cf. Dt. 26).

Fifthly, we are to be submissive in our experience of affliction (Prov. 11–12; cf. Dt. 8:5).

We can be those things because they will bring us favour (v. 4), direction (v. 6), health (v. 8), and prosperity (v. 10), and because the one to whom we submit in these varying ways is our loving Father (v. 12).