The Word Made Fresh
1Children, always remember what I am teaching you
and live by my rules,
2and a long and abundant life
filled with joy will be yours.
3Always be loyal and faithful;
wear them like an amulet and keep them in your heart.
4You will find favor and have a good reputation
before God and the people.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and don’t rely on your own understanding.
6Acknowledge God in everything you do,
and your path in life will always be straight.
7Don’t think of yourself as being wise.
Fear the LORD and turn your back on evil.
8You will find it to be a balm for your flesh,
and healing for your body.
9Honor the LORD with your gain,
and with the first fruits of your fields.
10If you do that, your barns will always be full,
and your vats will overflow with wine.
11Children, don’t hate the LORD’s discipline.
Don’t be weary of God’s corrections,
12because the LORD corrects those who are loved,
just as parents correct a child who is their joy.
13Those who find wisdom are rewarded
for they have gotten understanding.
14Wisdom’s reward is better than silver;
what you received from her is better than gold.
15Wisdom is more precious than jewels,
and nothing else you desire can compare.
16Wisdom grants long life
with riches and honor.
17Wisdom’s ways are peaceful
and all her paths are pleasant.
18She is like a tree of life to those who embrace her,
and those who cling to her are blessed.
19The LORD founded the earth on wisdom,
and the heavens were made with understanding.
20It is God’s plan that the deeps pour forth water
and the clouds sprinkle the ground with dew.
21Children, don’t ever let wisdom and prudence
escape you; hold them close.
22They will nurture your soul
and you may wear them as jewelry.
23Then your way will be safe,
and your feet will not stumble.
24You will be able to lie down safely
and sleep sweetly.
25Don’t be afraid of sudden disasters
or of storms that strike quickly,
26for the wicked will be caught up in it
but the LORD will protect you.
27Don’t refuse to help those who are deserving
if it is in your power to do so.
28If you can help your neighbor today,
don’t put it off until tomorrow.
29Don’t plan evil against your neighbors,
for they live beside you and trust you.
30Don’t get into an argument with someone
who has done nothing to harm you.
31Don’t be jealous of those who gain through violence,
and never follow their paths to gain.
32The LORD hates violent people,
but those who live uprightly God will bless.
33The LORD curses the family of the wicked,
but blesses the family of the righteous.
34God scorns the scornful,
but blesses the family of the righteous.
35The wise will be honored,
but fools will be disgraced.
1-4: Loyalty and faithfulness are two qualities that are needed in every community.
5-8: Verses 5 & 6 should be familiar to every churchgoer. Following God’s ways is better than trusting in one’s own ideas of right and wrong.
9-10: One of the first lessons has to do with honoring God by setting aside the first fruits. I think the reason such a practice helps to result in prosperity is that it establishes a simple discipline for the handling of material wealth.
11-12: All through the book we will find the sentiment expressed that discipline — meaning disciplinary measures — are good for the character.
13-18: Wisdom is presented as a generous companion throughout life.
19-20: Wisdom is the principle on which God’s good creation was established; that is why the pursuit of wisdom is a necessary component of living within that created world.
21-26: Living according to God’s wisdom enables us to live with confident hope.
27-35: Here is a description of the effect of being guided by wisdom in our relationships. A list of five clauses that begin with “do not” is followed by a quartet of comparisons between those who are wise and those who are not. The unwise are categorized as perverse, wicked, scornful, and stubborn. The wise are categorized as upright, righteous, and humble.
Basically, wisdom is simply doing what God wants us to do. Pretty simple, yes? Foolishness is following our own desires for gain of any kind.