Our church recently participated in two parades. The first parade in Salladasburg is a quaint small town parade. It’s over within 15 minutes which is great! Then there is the larger parade in Jersey Shore which seems to go on forever! Last year, I wore the animal costume and in the hot and humid July weather, it felt like an eternity.
In high school, we had a project in Bible class where we were expected to categorize every proverb. For some reason, I saw this project as a daunting task, and I did not take it very seriously. Maybe it was the fact that in Proverbs 10:1-22:16 you will find three hundred seventy-five proverbs! Now, I wish I had invested more into the project. These proverbs have been carefully selected and organized to instruct and nurture the wise who “will receive commandments.” Sometimes the seemingly endless procession of proverbial truths is overwhelming, but with some effort, you will find an order which will help you process the instruction.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The pursuit of happiness is a serious endeavor, yet many fail to consider the pointers in Proverbs as to how one should pursue happiness. The contrast of joy and grief resurfaces throughout the proverbs often as a wise son versus a foolish son. The wise son makes his father glad and the hope of the righteous shall be gladness; but the foolish son grieves his mother and the workers of iniquity will be destroyed (10:1, 28)
If you run a business, then you may be familiar with P&L. This abbreviation is the second major contrast you will find throughout Proverbs. The proverbs are extremely practical and you will find many kernels of truth hinge on the profit and loss of one’s choices. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing and the fruit of the wicked tends to sin; but the righteous are delivered from death and the labor of the righteous tends to life (10:2, 16).
“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20). The final broad category of satisfaction and frustration includes so many of these truths. The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish, blessings are upon the head of the just, and the memory of the just is blessed; but the Lord pushes away the substance of the wicked beyond their reach, violence covers the mouth of the wicked, and their legacy shall rot (10:3, 6-7).
As you read through the book of Proverbs consider categorizing the Proverbs in one of these three or even more groupings of truth. You could even meditate on one proverb a day for just a little more than a year, and you would be much the wiser!