November 8—Wisdom Cries
Read Proverbs 8:1–21
Throughout Proverbs, wisdom is personified, and wisdom speaks. Wisdom is an attribute of God, his “knowledge of all things and his wonderful ability to do all things for his own glory” (Doctrine According to Godliness). The Hebrew word for wisdom is feminine: that’s why wisdom is personified as a woman throughout Proverbs. Ultimately wisdom personified is Jesus Christ himself.
Wisdom is one of God’s communicable attributes. It is an attribute that he promise to give to all those who ask it of him in faith (James 1:5–6). “Wisdom for us is knowing how to do everything for the glory of God” (DAG). Wisdom is the ability to apply God’s word correctly in our lives. How does God impart wisdom to us? Through Christ, the Word. In 1 Corinthians 1:23–24, the inspired apostle Paul declared, “But we preach Christ crucified…unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Christ applies the word to us through the work of his Holy Spirit: “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you” (Prov. 1:23). Do you heed wisdom’s words?
Sing or pray Psalter #322.
November 9—Wisdom’s Banquet
Read Proverbs 9:1–12
Proverbs 9 teaches that the woman Wisdom has built a grand house, a house fully supported with seven pillars. In her home she has prepared a feast, and she sends her maidservants to call for guests. They summon those who lack understanding, and at her banquet Wisdom imparts instruction to them. Does this remind you of other Bible passages? Jesus’s parables about the feast that God prepares are recorded in Matthew 22 and Luke 14. He bids many simple to his banquet, too, but most of them who are called are full of excuses why they can’t come.
Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God, is preparing a house of many mansions. He is making ready the banquet that will be the great culmination of all things. Only those clothed in the garments of his righteousness will sit there, those who eat of his flesh and drink of his blood by faith already in this life. To those who hunger and thirst after righteousness and to those who know they cannot buy their own salvation, he cries, “Come ye, buy, and eat…buy wine and milk without money and without price…Incline your ear…hear, and your soul shall live.” (Isa. 55:1–3).
Sing or pray Psalter #424.
November 10—In the Multitude of Words
Read Proverbs 10:1–22
There’s a recurring theme throughout this passage: v. 8: “A prating fool [a fool of lips] shall fall”; v. 10: “A prating fool shall fall”; v. 11: “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked”; v. 12: “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins”; v. 13: “In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found”; v. 14: “Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction”; v. 18: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool”; v. 19: “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise”; v. 20: “The tongue of the just is as choice silver…”; v. 21: “The lips of the righteous feed many…”
Is your mouth a well of life, or does it stir up strife and hasten destruction? “He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Pet. 3:10).
Sing or pray Psalter #386:1–4
November 11—Don’t Trust in Uncertain Riches
Read Proverbs 11
This passage is peppered with warnings regarding wealth. We who live in one of the wealthiest society’s the world has known would do well to take heed: Prov. 11:4: “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. Proverbs 11:16: “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong [violent] men retain riches.” Proverbs 11:18: “The wicked earneth deceptive wages” [ESV]: “but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.” Proverbs 11:24–25: “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:28: “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.”
1 Timothy 6:17–19: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Sing or pray Psalter #329.
November 12—Look Well to Your Herds
Read Proverbs 12:1–14
The other day my son and I went to a pet store and bought a frog. Before we left, I signed my name on a line marked “parent.” We were also subjected to an emotionally-charged appeal on how to ensure the quality and longevity of our frog’s life. I walked out shaking my head.
That being said, we take good care of our new pet. We do so because God’s word has bearing over every part of the Christian life, even how we care for our animals. “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds” (Prov. 7:23). The godly man has pity on God’s creatures: he understands that they, along with the rest of the creation, groan and travail because of man’s fall into sin (Rom 8:22). Jehovah’s tender mercies are over all his works (Ps. 145:9). So “Balaam was checked for beating his ass,” and “the law took care for oxen” (Matthew Henry).
“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12:10). Unbelievers worship the creature rather than the Creator they were made to praise; nor do they long for the day when creatures too will be delivered from the curse.
Sing or pray Psalter #405.
November 13—Only by Pride
Read Proverbs 13:1–11
Are you at odds with someone? Perhaps there’s tension between you and your spouse. Maybe there’s strife between you and your parents or you and a child, co-worker, or fellow church member. What’s the source of that trouble? Proverbs 13:10a offers a succinct, straightforward answer: “Only by pride cometh contention.” In Philippians 2:3 we are commanded, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” We are to have the mind of Christ, who “made himself of no reputation,” and humbled himself to the death of the cross. Jesus Christ is our peace (Eph.2:14). “Without Christ we should not know God, we could not call upon him, nor come to him. But without Christ we also would not know our brother, nor could we come to him. The way is blocked by our ego” (Bonhoeffer).
Sometimes conflict arises when we respond negatively to unsolicited advice. Prov. 13:10b notes that those who heed advice gain wisdom. Proverbs 12:15 concurs: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” So, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (Prov. 19:20).
Sing or pray Psalter #403.
November 14—Where No Oxen Are
Read Proverbs 14:1–19
Yesterday afternoon I went downstairs, a load of laundry under my arm, only to find that the basement that I had helped tidy that very morning was once again littered with paint, paintbrushes, scissors, magazines, glue bottles, and the pieces of a plastic airplane model. In the middle of the mess were my oldest son and daughter, diligently working on a poster for school and cheerfully painting a model B-24. I bit my tongue and called to mind Proverbs 14:4: “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
“One desires a neat and tidy life, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean stall by the nature of things would mean an empty stall since oxen do not have to be in a stall long before it is messy. However, without oxen there is no productivity” (Longman). Likewise, a clean house very likely means an empty house. But where there are family members to care for, friends to counsel, and neighbors receiving hospitality, messes inevitably follow. Take heart: “A productive life is messy life” (challies.com).
Sing or pray Psalter #359.
November 15—Search Me
Read Proverbs 15:1–20
Proverbs 15:3 declares, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good,” and verse 11 expands on that truth: “Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?” This knowledge is fearful to the wicked, for they know that “there is no darkness, nor shadow of death” where they may hide themselves (Job 34:22). This knowledge is terrifying to them because of Jehovah’s righteous evaluation of man’s heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” They know that he searches hearts “even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 17:9–10).
But those who love Jesus Christ respond to the knowledge that their heavenly Father is omnipresent and omniscient this way: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it!” (Ps.139:6). They make this their prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23–24).
Sing or pray Psalter #384.
November 16—At Peace with Your Enemies
Read Proverbs 16:1–16
How do we reconcile Proverbs 16:7—”When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him”—with Jesus’s words in John 15:18–20: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…”?
What Proverbs 16:7 teaches is that when we walk honestly toward them that are without (1 Thess. 4:12), our actions will not incite conflict even with unbelievers. After all, there is no law against the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23). We will still be hated by those who hate our Lord, but when our ways please him, he will bring to shame those “that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (1 Pet. 3:16–17).
Sing or pray Psalter #253:1–6.
November 17—Crowning Glory
Read Proverbs 17:1–12
Some of you who read these meditations are in the later years of your life. In what do you take delight? Retirement? The amount of time and money you now have to pursue your own interests? Extended vacations? Wise Solomon says this about the elderly saint: their grandchildren are their crowning glory. Do you view your children’s children that way? Perhaps you don’t have any grandchildren of your own. The church’s children belong to all of God’s people; they are evidence of his faithfulness to his promises: “Thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel” (Ps. 128:5–6).
Young men, young women, and children, what do you consider to be your greatest resource in your life at present? Your strength? Your beauty? Your energy or your lack of responsibilities? If you answer that way, you answer incorrectly. Proverbs 17:6 teaches that “the glory of children are their fathers.” If you are privileged to have godly parents and grandparents, do you thank God for them? Do you treat the elderly saints in your congregation with the honor that is their due? They are your crowning glory.
Sing or pray Psalter #134.
November 18—Individualism or Individuality?
Read Proverbs 18:1–16
Proverbs 18:1 is constructed awkwardly in the KJV. I found this paraphrase helpful: “One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgement.” We live in a society that is increasingly individualistic. The scriptures condemn individualism, a philosophy that makes self the center of “an enclosed world of personal self-interest.” Such a person doesn’t heed the wisdom of others or of God’s word. In short, individualism is idolatry. But the Bible celebrates individuality: we’ve each been given our personality and talents. Why? So that we can employ and develop those gifts for the good of fellow members of the body of Christ. Christian must not isolate themselves: we are created—and called—to live in community.
Verse two is related: “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.” In contrast, those who love Jehovah desire wisdom. They desire understanding so that they may better praise God and bless others. The prophet Isaiah confirmed this when he said, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isa. 50:4a).
Sing or pray Psalter #354.
November 19—One Who Acts Hastily
Read Proverbs 19:1–17
Proverbs 19:2 describes a person who abounds with enthusiasm. That’s good, right? After all, the Bible warns against complacency: we’re called to be zealous (Rev. 3:19). But the eager man to whom Proverbs refers lacks knowledge, and without knowledge, his zeal produces sin. Such a man is like the Jews, of whom Paul said, “They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). Those people were condemned because they sought to merit their own righteousness with God.
The following texts verify that the one who acts hastily sins: “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly” (Prov. 14:29); “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Prov. 18:13); “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” (Prov. 28:20); “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him” (Prov. 29:20). Brothers and sisters, “The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit…” (Eccl. 7:8–9).
Sing or pray Psalter #40.
November 20—Thriftiness or Theft?
Read Proverbs 20:1–14
You don’t hear the expression “Cleanliness is next to godliness” much anymore, but it seems to me that it’s been replaced in the minds of Reformed Christians with a new idiom: “Thriftiness is next to godliness.” Indeed, how many of us haven’t stooped to the level of the buyer in Proverbs 20:14: we dispute the price of an item with its seller, pointing out all of its defects and his inaccurate assessment of its value. “It is naught, it is naught”—that is, “This is worthless, it’s worthless!” But later we’re sure to share our bargain with anyone who will give us an ear. Getting a “good deal” is the epitome of Christian stewardship, right?
We forget that as Christians we are stewards of more than the money that God has given us. We are stewards of the time and the talents that he has given as well. Above all, we are stewards of the gospel, of the “mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). So the next time you’re tempted to haggle for a bargain, consider this: will you be squandering an opportunity to be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ because your thriftiness borders on theft?
Sing or pray Psalter #305.
November 21—Nothing Neutral
Read Proverbs 21:1–12
The Hebrew word translated “plowing” in Proverbs 21:4 in the KJV is rendered “lamp” in certain other translations. The ESV, for example, reads, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” Ultimately, the verse means the same thing. If haughty eyes and a proud heart are the lamp that guides the wicked, even his plowing is sinful, for, as we read in Proverbs 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”
“Two things are required to make an action right. One is that it be lawful in itself. The other is that it be done with a right motive. If the thing done is itself wrong, no motives can make it right. On the other hand, the thing done may be right in itself, but the motive which governs us may be wrong, and so the act may be sinful because the motive is sinful” (William Plumer). Therefore the unregenerate man is incapable of doing anything good—or anything morally neutral. Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually (Gen. 6:5). So “there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (Prov. 24:21).
Sing or pray Psalter #334.
November 22—Train up a Child
Read Prov. 22:1–16
In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Ted Tripp writes that children “must be trained to understand and interpret their behavior in terms of heart motivation…The focal point is the heart of the child that is called to submission to God’s authority. The goal of correction is not simply to modify behavior, but to bring the child to sweet, harmonious, and humble heart submission to God’s will that he obey Mom and Dad.” He also writes, “The child trained in biblical obedience [and the parent, who knows how difficult that godly training is!] is better able to understand the gospel. The power and grace of the gospel is most deeply understood, not by those who never face their biblical duties, but by those who do.”
Fellow parents, are you overwhelmed by a needy newborn or toddler? Perhaps a straying teenager causes you anguish of soul. Whatever this day’s need may be, let it be like a strong current that bears you to the ocean of divine love (Spurgeon). There you will find the grace we so desperately need to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Sing or pray Psalter #215.
November 23—He Will Not Die
Read Prov. 23:1–14
Today my two-year-old son hit his little brother so hard that he fell to the ground, wailing. Almost immediately, his eyes met mine, and he began to frantically insist, “No, Mom, no Mom! I don’t need a spanking, Mom!” This is typical: whenever he knows that he deserves discipline, he carries on as if a spanking will kill him. I dare say most children act this way at one time or another. That kind of behavior can make us parents question the God-ordained method of disciplining our children: the rod and reproof. It’s as if God anticipated our concerns and says with a smile, “If thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Prov. 23:13). No, in fact, “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (v. 14). “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24). So “chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Prov. 19:18). For “the rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15).
Sing or pray Psalter #215.
November 24—Rescue Those Ready to be Slain
Read Proverbs 24:1–12
Since we moved to Colorado, we’ve had more people knocking on our door, and I’m not referring to the family and friends who’ve come to visit. No, now that we live in a more populated and more diverse demographic, we meet a variety of people looking to witness to us: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists… When I close the door behind them, I often marvel: It’s remarkable what some people are willing to sacrifice for the sake of a lie. What am I willing to sacrifice for the sake of the truth? Do I truly care about those who are being drawn away to eternal death?
But perhaps the emphasis of Proverbs 24:11–12 is not on the second death, but the first. In that case, the millions of unborn who have been slaughtered in our country come to mind. As I write, another undercover video about Planned Parenthood has just been released. With regard to abortion, there’s not one of us that can say, “But I didn’t know about this!” We have a duty to speak up and speak out against this great evil. If we don’t, we sin, for, “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Sing or pray Psalter #113:1-4, 11-12.
November 25—Clouds and Wind Without Rain
Read Proverbs 25:1–14
Proverbs 25:6–7 warns us not to brag about ourselves before the king. It would be better that the king call us into his presence than that we be demoted because we’ve presumed a position that isn’t ours. Those who boast of themselves tend to exaggerate their abilities: such a person is like clouds that blow over a desert but don’t deliver rain.
Though they knew the scriptures, the scribes and the Pharisees didn’t heed this admonition. They loved “the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues…” Jesus warns us not to follow their example: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23). “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). To that man the King of heaven and earth will say, “Come up hither.”
Sing or pray Psalter #26.
November 26—The God That Formed All Things
Read Proverbs 26:1–12 and Psalm 75
It’s Thanksgiving Day, a day on which we like to concentrate on our blessings, but the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with today’s date focuses on the interaction of the wise man and the fool. It includes this sober reminder: The great God that formed all things rewards transgressors. (v. 10). What does he pay fools? “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a). Not only does sin merit the first death, but it s rewarded with the second death—eternal hell—as well.
Psalm 75 reminds us that our thanksgiving and God’s just judgement are closely connected. The righteous exclaim, “Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks,” and our Lord responds: “When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.” The righteous respond by declaring that they will praise God forever. Why? Because “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23). He drank the dregs of the cup that was our due.
To those of you who do not believe in Jesus Christ, what does it profit you if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? (Mark 8:36). Those of you who have been redeemed, know this: nothing—neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come—shall be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thanks be to God, the great God who formed all things.
Sing or pray Psalter #206.
November 27—Drip, Drip, Drip
Read Proverbs 27:1–16
Today’s passage ends with an observation: attempting to restrain an argumentative woman is as futile as holding back the wind or clutching oil in one’s fingers. Such a woman is like a leaky roof on a rainy day: drip, drip, drip. The roofs of the houses in Israel were flat: a little leak was a big problem. Similarly, the contentious woman is not only annoying, she’s destructive. Slowly and subtly she tears down the very home she’s called to maintain (Prov. 14:1). The Israelites rested, worked, and slept on their roofs in the summer, but when bad weather came, they resorted to the shelter of the house below. Proverbs 21:9 states that it would be better to live up in a little corner of the housetop, exposed to all kinds of weather, than to live in the stormy presence of such a woman.
There’s a warning to us here, sisters. Weaker by nature, we’re quick to employ the deadly weapon of the tongue. But we’ve been anointed with God’s Spirit, and he works in us the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. May soft, wise, healing words characterize our speech (Prov. 12:18; 15:1–2).
Sing or pray Psalter #343.
November 28—Your Sin Will Find You Out
Read Proverbs 28:1–14
In Numbers 32 the tribes of Reuben and Gad pledge to help conquer Canaan before they return to the land east of the Jordan River. Moses agrees but then cautions, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out” (v. 23).
“Your sin will find you out.” That’s a terrifying statement, isn’t it? It’s likely that you and I don’t have to look very far to find evidence that it’s true. In spite of that, we’re prone to try to cover our sins up. Our efforts are as worthless as Adam and Eve’s fig-leaf aprons, for “he that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). Better we heed the instruction in Psalm 32:5: “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Praise God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Sing or pray Psalter #142.
November 29—When the Wicked Rule
Read Proverbs 29:1–14
As I write, Election Day looms. By the time you read this, it will have passed. Several verses in Proverbs 29 contrast righteous and wicked rulers: v. 2: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn”; v. 4: “The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it”; v. 7: “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it”; v. 8: “Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath”; v. 2: “If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.”
Regardless of the election’s outcome in your area, it’s safe to say that at present in the United States, mostly wicked men bear rule. We mourn about that, we pray for them, and we also find comfort in the knowledge that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Prov. 21:1). Our rulers are instruments in God’s hand to bring about the eternal kingdom of his Son, “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor” “His throne shall be established forever” (Prov. 29:14).
Sing or pray Psalter #253.
Read Proverbs 30:1–14
Agur makes two bold requests in Proverbs 30. First, he asks that God will keep him far from vanity and lies. Psalm 119:29–30 echo his prayer: “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.” Agur knows that “every word of God is pure” (v. 5). He doesn’t want to be one who adds to God’s words, one who will later be reproved and exposed as a liar.
Agur also pleads, “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” This is the same prayer Jesus taught us to pray in Luke 11:3: “Give us day by day our daily bread.” It is a prayer that recognizes that “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Tim. 6:6–10).
Are you content with just enough?
Sing or pray Psalter #201.
December 1—Who are Your Companions?
Read Proverbs 1:20–33
In Proverbs 1:11–19 Solomon warns his son not to keep company with sinners. He describes a band of highwaymen who would entice his son to join them. What characterizes these men? They are cruel, and they are covetous. Solomon knows that if son joins them, they will not be content with only his company for long: they will cajole him to add his money to their shared account as well. Why does Solomon caution his son against joining them? Not only do their “their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood,” the blood and the lives that are taken in the end are their own. Like a net thrown in front of a bird that still goes for the bait and is trapped, so their greed entangles them and brings them to their demise.
Who are your friends? Can you say with the Psalmist, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts?” (Ps. 119:63). I hope so, for “he that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20).
Sing or pray Psalter #51.
December 2—Two Paths
Read Proverbs 2
Two paths are presented in Proverbs 2. One path is characterized by righteousness, justice, integrity, and light. It’s a straight path, but it’s also narrow. Besides that, it’s an uphill climb. There is guide for those who walk this way: her name is Discretion. She leads those who follow her to life and a glorious land that they will inherit forever (Ps. 37:29). Few find the narrow door that leads to this path (Matt. 7:14). The second path is more traveled. It’s hard to miss the broad gate that leads to it, and beyond that, the road is smooth and wide. The path winds, and it’s not well-lit, but the one who travels there has plenty of company. The multitude who walk this way rejoice in speaking and doing evil, and they celebrate the wickedness of others as well. Be warned: though the path itself looks pleasant, it leads down to hell, and from there, there is no way back to the narrow path that leads to life.
Proverbs 15:24 (NKJV) reads, “The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.” Which way are you walking?
Sing or pray Psalter #67.
December 3—Sweet Sleep
Read Proverbs 3:21–35
When he was little, one of our sons was scared of the dark. Together he and I memorized Proverbs 3:24: “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” What guarantees sweet sleep? “Sound wisdom and discretion” (v. 21). Here’s the wisdom that I shared with our son when he was afraid at night: “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber” (Ps. 121:2–3). Not only do wisdom and discretion ensure peace of soul in the dark of night, they also direct the traveler so that his foot does not stumble. Here’s a piece of the wisdom that guides us on the narrow pathway that leads to heaven: “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:35).
The Bible is our record of Wisdom’s words. Whoso hearkeneth unto Wisdom’s words shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil (Prov. 1:33)
Sing or pray Psalter #8.
December 4—A Light that Keeps Shining Brighter
Read Proverbs 4:14–27
Our youngest children like to sing “This Little Light of Mine.” Our older children understand Jesus’s words in Matthew 5: “Ye are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” And my husband and I experience the bitter reality that we’ve got a long way to go: adults must still “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). In that way “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).
That path is contrasted in Proverbs 4 with the path of wicked: their way is dark; they know not at what they stumble (v. 19). The chapter ends with instruction on how to walk the narrow way that leads to life: with eyes that look straight ahead and feet that do not swerve. So “observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live…” (Deut. 5:32–33a).
Sing or pray Psalter #334.
December 5—Rejoice in Your Wife
Read Proverbs 5:15–23
Lord’s Day 41 of the Heidelberg Catechism, the Lord’s Day that treats the seventh commandment—“Thou shalt not commit adultery”—is worded differently than the Lord’s Days that treat the other commandments. Instead of asking “What does God forbid?” and “What does God require?,” Question 108 asks, “What doth the seventh commandment teach us”?
If it were worded more like the others, perhaps it could read this way: “What doth God forbid in the seventh commandment? God forbids all fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking and jesting (Eph. 5:3–4).” “What doth God require in the seventh commandment? ‘Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love’ (Prov. 5:18-19).”
Sing or pray Psalter #360.
December 6—A Reproach Wiped Away
Read Proverbs 6:16–35
Have you ever wondered why Jesus taught that lust is adultery, and then he permitted divorce only in instances of fornication? (See Matt. 5:27–32). On the one hand, he taught that any sin deserves hell, while on the other hand, he seemed to elevate one sin above others.
“While lust, jealousy, pride, and hatred will send a person to hell as surely as their outward manifestations (adultery, fornication, and murder), the physical manifestations are greater sins because of the damage they do to both the person who sins and the ones sinned against” (Christianity Today). Adultery is treachery, violence committed against one with whom you’ve been joined in covenant (Mal. 2:14). It violates one’s own body and the body of another (1 Cor. 6:18–20). It is probably with great sorrow that Solomon reflected on the truth of his own proverb late in his life: “Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away” (Prov. 5:32–33).
But there’s hope for the adulterer and the adulteress, as well as the spiritual adulterer and adulteress—and that includes every one of us: “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hos 13:9).
Sing or pray Psalter #125.
December 7—No Peace
Read Proverbs 7
The wicked woman who entices the young man in Proverbs 7 reasons, “I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows” (Prov. 7:14). She is one who cries, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” “True peace is a quietness of heart, soul and conscience that comes from the knowledge that God is not angry with us and that Christ has taken away our sin, so that nothing anymore can separate us from the love of God: ‘And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever’ (Isa. 32:17)” (Doctrine According to Godliness). Peace is a fruit of the Spirit: it’s given to those who walk in obedience to God’s commands: “My son… keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee” (Prov. 3:1–2). “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” (Is. 48:22). “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:13–14).
Sing or pray Psalter #232.