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Proverbs 29

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As I’m sitting here listening to Illmatic by Nas, I have to remember that intent is important. For example, Nas is spitting about how it is in his world, not necessarily telling me what to do in mine. There’s a big difference between describing something and prescribing something.

When I read Proverbs (and the rest of the Bible), I have to realise its intent too. After all, I don’t check a cookbook recipe for tips on graffiti writing and I don’t read a comic book to understand physics. (Captain America’s shield would mess me up fo sho!) I have to understand that: 

  • Proverbs aren’t about gaining knowledge, but applying knowledge. Wisdom isn’t just knowing facts, but using them. For example, watching videos on breaking without trying it out does not mean I can do a halo.

  • Proverbs uses metaphors, similes, and comparisons to get their points across, often in short sentences or couplets indicated by the verse numbers.

  • Proverbs areen’t instructions to follow that will guarantee outcomes, but are insights to follow towards probable outcomes. (Exceptions can happen.)

  • Proverbs says that wisdom starts with reverence and awe of God (“fear of the LORD”) and that he’s the one that sets what’s right and wrong – not me and not society.

  • Proverbs begins with chapters 1-9 as an intro to the hundreds of sayings in chapters 10-29, with chapters 30-31 being the conclusion, with all of them talking about wisdom.

Keeping these is mind as the clues to understand Proverbs helps me to follow God well in terms of my character, relationships, and responding to how the world is (and having the life that comes from that). For example, from chapter 29:

  • Character: “Too much pride brings disgrace; humility leads to honor.” So, if I brag about certain talents or resources, I’ll most likely get a bad rep. But if I use them to help others, then I’ll most likely get props.

  • Relationships: “Sneering at others is a spark that sets a city on fire; using good sense can put out the flames of anger.” If I perpetuate resentment, it can cause violence and rifts, but treating others from a positive perspective can prevent friendships, crews, and families from falling apart.

  • World: “The poor and all who abuse them must each depend on God for light.” I have to remember that both victims and oppressors need God in their own way and so I have to introduce both to Jesus.

So no bragging, no beefing, and no bias? Dang, that’s gonna be tough, especially as someone that loves hip-hop, a culture that has these things for sure. But God’s way is the best way to live and betters the chances of having the life that he wants for me and mine (and the world).

Are there certain verses that stand out for you at this time? How are you being challenged to act in wisdom – not just know it – in terms your character, relationships, and responding to how the world is?

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