Wisdom For Such a Time as This
May 29, 2020 · Dave Bast
Where can you turn for wise, practical advice these days? So many voices bombard us with conflicting information and claims. Media outlets are as polarized as ever. You would think that our political leaders and health officials and economic advisers could put aside their differences and come together during a crisis like we’re experiencing with COVID-19, but that’s not happening. And when you look to friends for advice you’re as likely to see a viral rant or depressing story as solid encouragement or wise advice.
So how about this as an alternative to endless news stories, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds? Turn to the book of Proverbs! Join us for a brief two-part study discussing “The Essence of Proverbs.” In this Groundwork series, we outline the basic theme of Proverbs: wisdom vs. folly.
Wisdom and Folly
In biblical terms, folly means acting without regard to the consequences. A fool is someone who can't―or won't―think ahead. By contrast, wisdom always tries to see where a course of action may lead before following it. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” says Proverbs. The wise person always starts with God, living in awe and love before him, and seeking to follow his way. Wisdom believes that God knows best what behavior will lead most often to health and happiness.
Wisdom for Every Situation
We are living in such an odd time. Everyone in the world is facing exactly the same life-threatening, world-turned-upside-down disease at exactly the same time. And yet, our personal experiences and circumstances in this season are all so different.
Some are grieving for loved ones who have died, and they couldn't even have a proper funeral. Others are grieving for lost opportunities. Friends of ours from church were lamenting that their high school graduate is missing so many unrepeatable celebrations this spring―no prom, no senior recital and concert, no commencement, and no open houses or graduation parties. Meanwhile, some of us are filled with worry and anxiety about major life-altering issues―health or money or jobs or businesses. And others are just bored and want to get out and have fun or take a trip.
That’s why Proverbs is such a valuable piece of wisdom literature. The book of Proverbs lays out God’s way to health and happiness with solid, practical advice―what Pinterest and Facebook videos might call good “life hacks.” And since it covers so many topics and areas of life, we will come across nuggets of wisdom that apply to any and every situation we experience.
Advice for Reading Proverbs
When I try to read a whole chapter of Proverbs I find that my mind can wander because the subject often changes quickly, sometimes even from verse to verse. But this year, my wife and I are using a printed schedule to read through the entire Bible. If we stick to the schedule, each day we read a couple of chapters from the Old Testament, then a passage from the New Testament, followed by a Psalm. And we end with just a verse or two from Proverbs. I’ve discovered that this is a great way to read this particular book. Reading just a few verses at a time always leaves me with something I can hold on to and think about. The book of Proverbs is best savored in small sips, not big gulps.
So here’s a tip: Dig into a little bit of Proverbs each day, just a few verses. The wonderful variety of advice, warnings, sayings, observations, and truths is bound to offer you just what you need to hear, just when you need to hear it. Words of wisdom, indeed.
Listen to “The Essence of Proverbs”
...and together we’ll find the wisdom and practical advice we need to live well, even in these uncharted times.