By Waylon Bailey
More and more I find myself being drawn to the Proverbs. I am afraid that in the past I have not taken this teaching of God seriously enough. God gave the Proverbs to teach the people of Israel to learn from God and to live for Him.
As you go through the Proverbs, this twin teaching seems to be found again and again. All of us are to Learn from God, and we are to live for Him. Not only is this the theme of the Proverbs, but it is also the theme of the Scripture and of our relationship with God.
God wants us to be conformed to His image. When we are like God, then we shall do as He does. We will live for Him.
God wants us to learn from Him. The Proverbs begins by a proper relationship with God. Only from God can we get wisdom and understanding. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and understanding” (Proverbs 1: 7).
God Himself is the source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. The person who would live wisely must learn from God. We are always tempted to assume we have all knowledge and all understanding. Even now, we seek to conform God to our image instead of being conformed to His image.
Until we learn from God, we really can’t learn.
God wants us to live for Him and to be a blessing for others. The two themes of the Proverbs go together. We must learn from God. When we have learned from God, we will live for Him. That living will be a blessing to others because of the way we live.
Proverbs 3 describes the blessing of the one who finds wisdom. But the blessing doesn’t end at that point. After finding wisdom, the wise person uses that wisdom for himself and the people around him. “Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm” (Proverbs 3:29-30).
The Book of James, one of the wisdom books of the New Testament, tells us to do good for others. We are to use what we have learned from God to bless others.
That kind of life will bring blessing to others–and to ourselves! “The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace” (Proverbs 3: 35).
Learn from God, and live for Him.
Waylon Bailey is pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington. This editorial first appeared on his blog.