Young people often feel like they have heard it all before. A wise person is able to enjoy repeated instruction in the truth, gaining new insight from old words.
We already know about gluttony and drunkenness. Who has not heard that greed is a bad way to go? The Lord’s children have been taught that God watches over the poor and that He will not allow the weak to be abused forever. We are aware that people need to raise their children with loving discipline. It is not a surprise that pursuing pleasure with someone who sells her body is a very bad idea for lots of reasons.
These are all facts that bear repeating, but we should also consider the bigger picture and not just the specifics that happen to be mentioned here. Proverbs is not only a list of select prohibitions. The book presents a godly perspective on life that we need to embrace more deeply every day. It teaches us to have a reverence for a God who deeply loves His children. If we see Him rightly, we will be helped with thousands of moral dilemmas that may not even be mentioned in the Bible.
Consider just one of the phrases in Proverbs 23: “Let not your heart envy sinners.” Here is a very versatile word of wisdom for the person that can receive it. Those who have little reverence for God have a very different way of thinking about life. If they do not believe in a coming judgment and the resurrection of the dead, if they do not embrace the fact that Jesus ascended into heaven and that when we die, we face the One who has gone to prepare a place for His children, they will imagine that this life is everything. Because of this fundamental error they will make many wrong and harmful choices. An adversary may make the way of instant gratification look like fun for a brief time, but envying sinners is still a very costly mistake that is corrosive to the human heart. But if we do not see the greatness of the Lord, will we just get stuck in ungodly jealousy?
Christ, through His death and resurrection, has secured a future for us that is worth hearing about again and again. Embrace Him and His eternal kingdom, and a thousand particulars of how to live a godly life and how to avoid dangerous folly will become increasingly pleasing to your soul.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of Glory, forgive us for our many follies. Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we should do it all for Your glory. We must hear Your instruction and apply our hearts to the truth. What do we say? How do we bring up our children? How do we work, and what is our way of having fun? In all of these things we need Your wisdom. We long for the health, safety, and fruitfulness of future generations. Drowning ourselves in wine will never solve our problems. It will do us no good to pretend that we are stronger than we really are. You are God, and we are not. Our lives and the lives of our descendants are surely in Your hands.