July 19, 2020 | Books of the Bible | Proverbs by Cameron Wagner
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all. The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Have you noticed the recurring themes so far in the book of Proverbs? In chapter 22 we see a few of these popular themes repeated as Solomon instructs the reader how to live and conduct oneself. As a reminder, this large section of instruction from Solomon began in Proverbs 10 and ends here in Proverbs 22:16.
Some of the themes we see in these verses that we have heard earlier in the book of Proverbs include a good reputation; humility; education, instruction, and discipleship; the sovereignty of God; and wealth and poverty.
We notice particularly in these verses that Solomon says a good reputation is more valuable than any wealth. A good reputation far exceeds any other blessing in life. He says that regardless of one's status in life, the Lord is the sovereign one. Do you personally understand the value you have before your Creator? Or are you allowing yourself to be influenced and compared to those around you? Maybe you would admit that you struggle with exercising wisdom, and you can identify with verse 3. Perhaps there have been times when you lacked the execution of wisdom or discernment and suffered because of it.
For me, a theme that has been challenging so far in our study of Proverbs is humility. Solomon points out how God will reward the pious life. He lists two spiritual qualifications here – humility and fear – and then follows by explaining three rewards – riches, honor, and life. One pastor explains this verse in this way: "The fear of the Lord is a state of mind in which one's own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God's. By rightly fearing the Lord in humility, you gain everything you could ever want and need, everything that your selfish pride could never give you."
- In your walk with God, do you see the themes of these verses evident in your life? Are you a person of wisdom or foolishness? Do you find yourself running to the Scriptures to guide you in your decision-making or looking for direction from someplace else?
- As you reflect on this section of Solomon's instruction, where are you the strongest, and where are you the weakest? Ask the Lord to reveal to you how you might grow by his grace for his glory.
- Pray for wisdom to understand how to live in humility before God and let the Scriptures guide your decision-making.
- Pray that your discipleship would be a priority so that you can help others grow in their walks with God, and that your reputation would be that you are a disciple who makes disciples.