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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!
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Read Proverbs 24
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?
Further Sayings of the Wise
23 These also are sayings of the wise:
To show partiality in judging is not good:
24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,”
will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.
25 But it will go well with those who convict the guilty,
and rich blessing will come on them.
26 An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips.
27 Put your outdoor work in order
and get your fields ready;
after that, build your house.
28 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause—
would you use your lips to mislead?
29 Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me;
I’ll pay them back for what they did.”
30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
In continuing with the book of wisdom, Proverbs 24 contrasts the wise person from the foolish and evil person. Believers of God are warned not to envy the wicked, but rather to find treasure in attaining Godly wisdom. There is profound strength that comes through relying on God’s knowledge rather than our own, and it is truly only God who has wisdom to offer us. Everybody has a flawed understanding of what is truth because of this broken world as well as our own sin which clouds our perspective. Thankfully, God graciously grants not only the gift of His wisdom to those who seek it, but more so He grants salvation to those who admit their sin and accept Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection as the payment for their sins. This Gospel is the beginning of a relationship with the Creator of everything, and it is He who holds all wisdom.
After instructing us about our relationship with the Lord, the author transitions to our relationships with others. Verses 11-12 are central to this chapter, and invite us to look more closely at how God functions as well as how He calls those of us who are believers to function. While we are called to flee evil and pursue godliness, we are not called to cast aside those who do not know Christ. If given the opportunity, followers of Christ should seek deliverance for the lost out of sincere love for them. God has taken extraordinary measures to free the lost in the Old Testament (Exodus 14:10-22), New Testament (Luke 23:34), and in the lives of believers currently. Although we cannot save the lost (that is solely God’s role), we do get to share the deliverance and freedom that is available for all through Christ Jesus with those who are lost!
In this world, it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to those who do not know Christ. We can seek the path that is most comfortable, and sometimes withdraw from nonbelievers all together. Yet this passivity does not acknowledge that God has created, knows, and values every heart. God created us to live in community with believers (Romans 12:4-5), and also commands us to spread the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). It is prideful to disregard those who don’t know Christ because the same grace that abounds for every believer is loving, powerful, and intimate enough to extend to every unbeliever as well.
Christians are invited to be part of the rescue team that loves the lost. We are not to partake in evil, withdraw from the lost, or rejoice in anyone else’s suffering. We love others because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19), and that is wisdom in action. Jesus has secured an eternal victory that is open to all who believe in Him, and will be the perfect Judge of who are the wise and who are the foolish. Christ followers can desire evil to be convicted and rebuked while on Earth, but can also ultimately trust in God’s sovereignty and justice for the world. When we press into this trust, it stirs our hearts to rely on the Lord’s strength. This strength is what sustains us so that we do not become apathetic or bitter towards those that don’t know Christ, but rather engage in the fight for their deliverance and freedom.
- Who makes up your community?
- Who in your life is easy for you to love? Who is hard to love?
- How do you view and engage with believers? How do you view and engage with nonbelievers?
As you reflect on today’s reading, try these three steps to categorize your thoughts:
- Reflect on what Christ has delivered you from in your life. Praise God for His grace! If you do not feel like He has freed you from anything, ask for the eyes to see Him more deeply!
- Confess any unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, or apathy in your heart towards others.
- Pray for the people in your life (your family, close friends, classmates, life group, co-workers, etc.) that do know Christ and that don’t, and pray for a heart that desires freedom for each of them.
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