Never Stop Growing
Verses 3-9 of the final chapter of Proverbs address what a king ought to do as a leader. The subject, by this point, has achieved their highest calling. He is a leader of an entire nation, and yet he still needs instruction on how to properly lead. This teaches us that the learning process never ceases. No matter how far along we are in our calling or high up we rise in the Kingdom, we still need God if we are to continue to be established and further develop.
Some of the lessons intimated in these verses are items that have already been addressed in Proverbs to those of lesser rank, usually sons of kings and the common man. That the king is still learning these lessons shows us that we need to revisit our learned lessons periodically to ensure we know them. I personally have watched people abandon doctrinal beliefs simply because they stopped reinforcing them in their lives. They let other ideas and distractions into their minds and hearts and it led them away from something they had been taught from childhood. We can't neglect the most basic teachings just because we've heard it since we were a baby. What those lessons spoke to us then, they'll speak afresh and new now.
So What Things Does The King Get Reinforced?
Don't Give Strength To Women And Ways That Destroy Kings
If we remember, women are frequently used as forms of wisdom and thinking. The Wisdom of God is described as a pure and beautiful woman. The wisdom of the world is often looked on as whore and seducer. Basically, we are being told to make sure that we don't let ideas and the ways of the world lead us in our lives. We can't put our might and abilities behind the things of this world. If we do, they'll eventually lead to our destruction.
Activation: Ensure that you are not letting worldly ideas or thoughts dominate your life by filtering them through the Word of God and prayer. Anytime a new idea that is presented to you, set it aside until you are able to check it against what God says. If it checks out with the Word and God, apply it based on how it checks out. If it doesn't, discard it.
Don't Drink Wine And You Won't Forge The Law
Throughout the Bible, leaders are asked to abstain from strong drink as a sign of separation and reverence. Though this is a good practical position for us to hold if we want to be leaders, this scripture is also primarily acting as metaphor. It, like other scriptures in Proverbs, is telling us to abstain from activities that take us away from the Word of God. If the cares and pleasures of this life are able to infiltrate our time with God and His Word, we will lose our focus and perspective on God and be worthless.
Activation: Consider removing activities from your life that prevent you from connecting to God. Whether its a favorite TV show, a game, a hobby or even extra work or school work, consider removing it and replacing it with time with God.
Give Drink To Those in Need
Once again, we are referenced to strong drink as a metaphor. However, this time it is in a positive sense. At times, the Israelites would administer wine and strong drink to those in severe pain or in deep depression. They were seen as mercy offerings for the low of heart and spirit. We are tasked to do the same. However, instead of strong drink, we have something stronger: God's presence in us. We can lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. We can fellowship with those who are brokenhearted and help them to heal. Both of these take our resources and time. It's up to us to use it wisely for those in need.
Activation: Write down what God has given you in terms of spiritual and temporal gifts and blessings. Now write down those you know who could benefit from them. Create a plan to start spreading your gifts as soon as possible.
Speak Out for the Oppressed and the Poor
God likes an activist. Whether it was Moses leading Israel from the land of Egypt, Daniel leading Persia to social reforms through prayer, the prophets leading Israel back to its moral center, John the Baptist leading people towards the new covenant or the apostles spreading the message of the greatest activist ever, God chooses people who activate others. He likes people who get involved in their communities. He likes people who look to improve the temporal and spiritual lives of others. If we'll start opening our mouths to give a voice to the voiceless, we can be like those who have gone before us. Finding an area of need in your community and starting to organize and speak out for that need can go a long way to establishing our credibility. When do this with a God-centered heart and proclaiming him to others as we do it, we start to activate God's Spirit in our community. He starts to get involved in the lives of those who need Him the most and it opens the door to spiritual and temporal blessings. We just have to exercise our voice.
Activation: Look for one area in your community that needs a "voice". Pray for God to give you what to say and do for that area and that He would be glorified for your actions. Also, pray for God to send a strong supporting cast to assist you in your endeavor.
Notice how, even though we've covered most of these topics already, they come out fresh and new even in this short 6 month span. We can't hope to find the depths of this wisdom, but we can continue to dive deeper every day.
That's it for Part 1. Join us Friday as we look into one of the most vivid and beautiful passages of all the Bible and finally see exactly what wisdom is all about and what it should mean to all of us.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.