By Jesse Prewitt
HONEY FOR YOUR SOUL (Sneak Preview)
Daily Devotions for Peace in a Chaotic World
Copyright © 2020 by Jesse Prewitt
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Some quotes taken from the Amplified Bible:
“Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright 1965, 1987, by The Zondervan Corporation, The Amplified New Testament copyright 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
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My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Proverbs 24: 13, 14 (KJV)
This work shall by no means claim to be an exhaustive exposition of the book of Proverbs, but simply to delve into the riches of the blessings available to those who take the time to let the Wisdom of the Lord make entryway into their souls. Psalm 119:130 gives us a hint at what awaits our gaze into this sumptuous feast of life-giving nourishment for our souls. He says the entrance of Thy Word gives light. Another version says the unfolding of Thy Word. And best of all it gives understanding to the simple. I need that! I think we all do. There is a natural curiosity to understand the events that occur in our lives. We are never going to fully comprehend everything that happens to us, but much can be unfolded when we gaze into His Word and trust His Plan. It is here, as we engage in the daily nutriment of Scripture, that He often gives us a glimpse of what is going on in our lives and in the world around us.
Just as our bodies and minds need nourishment, so do our souls. If you are a child of God by a new birth in Jesus Christ, you absolutely need spiritual nourishment. You see, God gave us His Word, The Bible, to reveal Himself to us. Christ is the very embodiment of this Word. From Hebrews 1:3 we understand that Jesus Christ is the exact representation of who God the Father is. If we want to know about God and who He is, we can look at Christ and there we see all we need to gain understanding of who God really is. The Apostle John, in his Gospel, tells us that Jesus Christ is the Logos, The Word. John further writes that this Logos—Word—became flesh and dwelt among us. The Greek term is “tabernacled”. This Person is Jesus Christ, The Lord! Again, John records Jesus’ statement that he who has seen Me (Jesus) has seen the Father. (John 14:9) The Lord of heaven took on the robe of human flesh and dwelt in our midst. This was all in the plan of the Father that Jesus take upon Himself our sins and pay for them in full as our substitute, on the cross. This is the greatest news of the ages!
When Christ left this earth, He not only sent the Promised One, The Holy Spirit, to guide us into all truth, as John writes in John 16:13, but The Holy Spirit will abide with us and be in us. (John 14:17) I begin with this because of its importance to the reading and understanding of God’s Word, but also for this study. When we experience the new birth in Christ, The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts. It is here that we can begin to gain such insight into the Scriptures. Proverbs 28:5 tells us the wicked do not understand justice, but those that seek the Lord understand all things. This, as we will see when we get to that chapter, is not a guarantee to comprehend every single incident in life, but have a general understanding of life, itself. Those who do not know Christ cannot understand the Bible, though they may claim to do so. In fact, the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2;14 that the natural man, those unsaved by God’s Grace, not only do not accept or receive the things of God, they do not understand them, because such things are only understood by possessing the Spirit of God in our lives. Are you beginning to get what I am saying? Do you see the importance of being in a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, so that we may understand spiritual things? God’s Word is clear on this matter. It is vital, not only to your eternity, but to your comprehension of the Bible, to have Him in your life. This is where it all begins. This study is intended to be read with your Bible in the other hand. I cannot stress this enough. My purpose is for you the reader to experience a fresh, life-changing insight into The Word of God and what God has to say to you, today. He is speaking. Are you listening?
I encourage reading the day’s chapter prior to reading the devotion I have written. God’s Word is so much more important than what any of us can say about it. Each day read the text first, then as we study it, keep your Bible along side as we reference the various portions. This will greatly enhance your understanding of what God is saying to us all.
Our Key Verses
I think that verses 13 and 14, in chapter 24, give us an insight into what awaits those who seek His Wisdom. These verses seem to serve as an exhortation to the study of wisdom. And to wrap it up, neatly, Proverbs 9:10 states plainly that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. This is where we begin our devotions. God’s Word will be honey for your soul.
The Book of Proverbs is revered in the Hebrew as: Mishle Shelomoh, or The Proverbs of Solomon. Time and tradition have abbreviated it to: Mishle. We are told that among the early Christian writers, Sophia, or Wisdom, was the term used for the sacred writings of Solomon, who was considered the wisest man in his day. (Spence, H.D.M. & Exell, J.S., 1890)
Why study Proverbs? In the third chapter of 1 Kings, The Lord appeared to the young King Solomon in a dream and instructed him to ask what he wished to be given to him. Solomon, being humble in nature, asked God for an understanding heart with which to rule over and rightly judge God’s people. This request pleased The Lord and God told Solomon that because he had not asked, selfishly, for long life or riches, God granted the king a wise and understanding heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. (1Kings 3:13)
There are at least two great takeaways we can glean from this. First, Solomon is said to be the wisest man in his own time, and after that. We surely want to learn from a man like that. Second, the fact that the young king was selfless in his request, we see that God gave him that which he had not asked for, as well—riches and honor. This reveals something of the grace and blessing of God. I should think that we would want to participate in this blessing. We do not seek wisdom so that The Lord will make us rich, but simply because it pleases Him. He is looking to bless His people when we get our priorities in the correct order. God knew what Solomon was going to ask for and He gave Him the world.
As we study these sage words straight from God’s bountiful table, we too can expect to gain understanding in our hearts for not only what is occurring in our own lives, but a unique comprehension of what is happening in the world around us.
We all have questions. I have always been that kid. Even now as a grandfather, I have questions about life. It is natural for us to have a desire to understand life as it is happening to us. We will never understand it all, but as we dive deep into the Holy Writ we can have full assurance that God is in complete control and at the very least have a firm grasp of life which tends to give us a measure of peace from God. I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to our journey through this wonderful portion of God’s Holy Word together. Please know that every page is bathed in prayer as it pours forth from my heart. I pray that you find that peace with God that only He can give.
Chapter One: The Objective
It is believed that King Solomon spoke or penned over 3000 proverbs in his day. 1 Kings 4:32 relates this. Chapter 25 begins with stating that the proverbs following are from those copied out, or transcribed, by Hezekiah’s scribes. The book is basically a collection of the king’s sayings. It is natural then for the Jews to ascribe their king’s name to the entire work, but it is probable that two other authors contributed the final two chapters. Some hold that at least one of these is a nickname given by his mother to the king. Neither of these opinions constitute a hill on which I would choose to die. I think that our focus should be aimed at the content and intent of the proverbs rather than minor issues that have little impact on our lives.
Chapter one begins with the statement of who is writing—Solomon the son of David—king of Israel. Then, he gets right to his point. The first step is to know wisdom and instruction. Throughout this book we find that terms like wisdom, instruction, knowledge and understanding are used, and some may consider such terms to be simply interchangeable. It is true that in our day we tend to use these in such a manner. However, as we look closer, we can see that they are distinct. I like to frame it as instruction being something we receive, beginning at an early age, whether we are speaking chronologically or spiritually. We first receive instruction or teaching. This instruction is intended, even presumed, to be continual and repetitive to the extent that through it we gain knowledge. This knowledge, stored in our mind and pondered upon, grows into wisdom. This wisdom, coupled with life’s experiences, can flower into understanding. Understanding is the mature stage we reach when we can look at most of life with a certain insight—a sort of knowing—that transcends many of the problems and storms we go through with a firm belief that our God is in total and complete control of all that is happening around us. This is the goal of receiving wisdom, by that first glimpse into God’s Word, that when continued, grows into the full flower of faith. This will become increasingly clear as we study chapter three. From chapter 9, verse 10, we know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Verse 7, of this initial chapter, contains what many believe to be the motto or symbol of the book. We might go so far as to say it could be the propositional statement of the book. What is meant is that the reverential fear of The Lord God is where it all begins. Here it is stated that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. One may simply read the Scriptures with no commitment to be instructed, but to approach the Holy Writ with a heart that is humbled before God, ready and teachable, is where the seeds of change are planted. Someone has said that to even approach an opposing concept requires a sliver of faith. The unbeliever may approach the Bible with such a sliver of faith to investigate whether these things are true. If the condition of the heart is right, God will plant those seeds and instruction begins. The Christian that has never fully committed to the study of The Word may do so making use of that same fear of the Lord. This knowledge will germinate into godly wisdom.
How sad that many professing Christians suffer from a lack of godly wisdom and understanding of life as God intended us to live it. The latter part of verse 7 spills the beans: fools despise wisdom ad instruction. How sad to live in a relative state of spiritual poverty when we are the children of The King. How tragic to go through life not having a firm grip on God’s plan for us, simply existing instead of experiencing His Goodness and Grace to the fullest measure.
Verse 3 says that we can know righteousness (how God expects us to live toward Him), justice and judgement (knowing right from wrong in life), and equity (or simply, integrity). Without getting too deep, here, we can easily take from this how vital it is to have a worldview that is consistent with God’s. Scholars differ in the nuance of these terms, but the bottom line is that we learn how to live and act from the principles found in the Scriptures. Especially the youth and the naïve can gain prudence and discretion which is severely lacking in our society, today.
The first part of this chapter completes the picture with an admonition to hear and do not fail to follow our father’s instruction, and further not to leave our mother’s teaching. This is sadly evidenced in the world around us. Tragically, many have never had the opportunity to be instructed and taught by parents that love them. The instruction from the father referred to here, is said to correspond to our relationship with our heavenly Father. We are expected to be obedient to Him. The teaching of our mother refers to the oral instruction in the daily experience of our youth. This is of enormous import. This is where this sort of teaching begins, at the early age where the mind is open to it. The loving and instructive words of our mothers still sound in our ears, even as we age. I can often hear the voice of my mother as she taught me things that I could have never learned any other way. Oh, how I miss her! Such instruction and teaching promises to decorate our lives as a living testament to their love and care for us, to grow into the adults they desired us to become. (Proverbs 1:8)
From verse 10 through the remaining of this first chapter mainly give us the alternative to failing to take advantage of God’s teaching. Verses 10 to 19 put us in mind of some current gang activity we may observe on the street or television. Still wisdom shouts in the streets and lifts her voice for the simple and naïve to turn toward good sense and away from their foolishness. The promise is that if they do so, God will pour out His Words to them and make them to understand them. (Verse 23) However, in the remaining verses the tone changes to the consequences of refusing to acknowledge God and His way.
The final verse brings this chapter to a close with a final word of encouragement. He who listens to me shall live (or dwell) securely. This is what we are all looking for, isn’t it? He writes further that this person shall be at ease from the terror of the world and essentially be at peace. Thank God for the peace that comes from His Hand and Heart. This is peace in the middle of all that is going on in this chaotic world.
Chapter Two: Searching for Silver
Once again, the Teacher speaks: My son. This is followed by one of the smallest words in our language, yet one of the most formidable ones: if. The message is that the end-result is predicated upon our action: the inclination of our ear, and the application of our heart. This end-result is found beginning in verse 5: Then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
The Teacher admonishes us to receive His sayings, and further to treasure His commandments, with apparent candor and sincerity. There is a noticeable ascension in terms, here, increasing in emphasis from receiving to treasuring. What God is speaking about is the fact that He wants us to search for His Truth, in His Word, as if we were digging for a chest of gold on some tropical island. The whole of our being is referred to here, beginning with our ears. We are instructed to incline our ear to His teaching, apply our hearts to understanding, cry out with our mouths for discernment, lifting-up our voice for understanding. (Proverbs 2:2-4) He does not deliberately and specifically mention every part of our body, however, what is mentioned is the essential part of us that represents our person. This is a spiritual matter rather than one of physical effort. Indeed, such requires a lot of dedication, but more so of our inner person—our spirit.
Our first step is always the inclination of our ear. In this present world, it is difficult at times to be still long enough to sit and listen to the Lord. I find this true with my own children sometimes. As children, full of life and energy, they can get so amped-up that it requires effort to calm themselves down enough to sit still and listen to instruction. You and I are not that different when it comes to listening to God’s Voice. With all that life seems to throw at us each day, we tend to find it more and more inconvenient to take that time alone with God. Yet, this alone-time is so extremely vital to our spiritual health, not to mention the physical and psychological application to our lives.
Verse three urges us to cry for discernment, lifting-up our voices for understanding. This is illustrated in searching for hidden treasure. I have no doubt that if we knew for certain that valuable treasure was buried on our own property, we would excavate until we dropped. If we were sure that silver, gold or some other form of precious stone, was buried underneath our property, and it was ours for the digging, we would spare no effort nor waste time finding it. The roses and azaleas would simply have to be replanted later. We would not stop until we found that first priceless nugget. Then, like a goldminer panning in the mountain stream, we would continue knowing there is always another just like the first one. This is the attitude that God wants us to have in searching for His wisdom and understanding in our lives. We must search for it as if for silver.
Dr. Harry Ironside writes: “It is to be feared that even among those who hold and value much precious truth, diligent Bible Study is on the wane.” (Ironside, H.A., 1908, p. 29) Please notice the date on this citation. The publishing date was 1908, yet the manuscript was penned at least a year earlier. I have these books in my personal library. It amazes me to think that even then, over 113 years ago, that such was the case. It seems that today we witness a rise in everything but the diligent study of God’s Word. I recently read an article published by a pastor that flatly denies the substitutionary atonement of Christ. His premise was that God’s intent was not for Jesus to die, but He allowed it, and sort of went with the flow. My friend, anyone involved in diligent Bible Study easily recognizes this as absolute heresy. So, when we speak of devotions, as in this book, we are not referring to carving a single moment out of our day, taking a surface glimpse at a couple of verses, and then going on our way, only to repeat again tomorrow. I refer to putting God first in our day and making certain that we spend adequate time alone with Him in His Word, daily. This requires us to prioritize our schedule. We must make time and put things in the correct perspective.
Dr. McGee reminds us that the Book of Proverbs is not simply a random collection of mysterious maxims, but rather that they tell a “connected story”. (McGee, J.V., 1991, p. 26) This speaks of the importance of the study of Systematic Theology. (Chafer, L.S., 1948) Systematic Theology is the study of The Bible as a book that tells a story, with a single theme and purpose. Anyone can cherry-pick and select random Bible verses as a basis for some preconceived ideal rather than studying God’s Word as the blessed book with a single story to tell. That story is Jesus. He, and He alone, is the central theme of this book.
Dr. McGee further notes, in this same vain, that the young man referred to in verse one, and to whom this instruction is given, has two primary enemies. These enemies are the evil man (verse 12) and the stranger woman. (McGee, 1991, p. 32) This strange woman, or better stranger woman, is referred to in verse 16. In chapter one, beginning in verse 10, and again in chapter two, verse 12, the young man is cautioned against association with men of evil intent. Few of us can boast of a life free of such youthful associations. Most of us can remember times when we did things we would rather not recall, but it is good for us to do so to remind us to never go there again. As this young man begins to mature, the problems arise that would involve the stranger woman. Why the stranger woman? This stranger woman was most likely a gentile. Her influence was to lure the young man away from all that he has been being taught by his parents and God. She is the enemy of all that is virtuous and good. Again, Dr. Ironside notes that this stranger woman has another meaning in a secondary sense, in that she represents false religion and her “subtle and deceptive” solicitations. (Ironside, 1948, p. 33)
My observation today is that we have a rise in the desire to worship God. I do not wish to throw a bucket of cold water on this, but my concern is the apparent lack of an equal desire to know His Word. The Bible warns us that in times like these we will witness this evidenced in people’s desire to have their ears tickled with a powerless doctrine born of their own selfish desires. (2 Timothy 4: 1-4) Again, my concern is not that people want to worship, but the absence of focus on God’s Word is a seedbed for deception. Solid Biblical doctrine is the only path to spiritual maturity for believers. In this frame the young man is admonished to walk in the way of good men and keep himself on the right path. (Proverbs 2:20) God’s Word must not only be the focus of our collective worship, but at the center of our individual lives.
Thank you for visiting! The book is set for release in June 2020! I’ll keep you updated!