Monday, February 20, 2012

God and "How to Succeed"

Does Proverbs care more for success than for God?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Proverbs 9:10

Bookstores are full of “how to” books, each promising to teach you how to make a success of yourself by just following a few simple rules. Is Proverbs an ancient “how to” book? It seems, at first look, more interested in success and prosperity than in God. Many of the Proverbs can be adopted by those who have no love for God.

But if you look at Proverbs as a book, rather, than a collection of unrelated fragments, you will find that its “how-to’s” of wise living can’t be separated from God. While some Proverbs observe the hard facts of life—that bribes are effective, for instance, or that money does buy friends of a kind— the book never for a moment endorses success techniques that involve immorality. More importantly, a deep sense of people’s sin and their utter dependence on God is spread throughout Proverbs. Wisdom, that fundamental tool for living, starts with the fear of God and leads to a knowledge of Him.

The word’s Lord or God are actually mentioned nearly 100 times, so a complete study of God’s place in Proverbs takes you through virtually the entire book. Here’s a closer look:

Proverbs on God’s relationship to wisdom: 1:7; 2:5-9; 8:22-31; 9:10; 22:17-19

Proverbs on sin: 15:8; 16:6; 20:9; 24:11-12; 28:9-13

Proverbs on trust in God: 3:5-12; 14:26, 27; 16:20; 18:10; 19:21; 21:31; 29:25-26; 30:5-9

Proverbs on God’s blessing: 10:22, 27, 29; 15:16

What are your plans for success? Is God’s will the basis of your plans or an afterthought? 

- Pastor Regan Myers