Tools in the book of Proverbs teach us how to live well

Sunday, June 6, 2010

We all have different ways to remember what is important to us.

Some write Post-It notes and stick them everywhere. Some, like myself, are throwbacks and use a paper calendar to write everything down.

While we have so many tools to help us remember what we shouldn't forget, it is equally important to have tools that aid us in living well.

The book of Proverbs is a book about gaining God-honoring wisdom to navigate a complex life. Proverbs are short, concise and creative sayings that are easy to remember so that all who read them will know God, place a high value on learning and understand how to live well.

Proverbs 1:7 reads, "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

Living well is built on the foundation of knowing God.

I spent most of my childhood in the kind of small town where the pharmacy had an ice cream bar. The pharmacist would fill a pain prescription for Mrs. Jones and then make the chocolate shake I prescribed to myself to fend off the hot summer day.

You can imagine the excitement when someone decided to open a movie theater. My little town now had a drive-in and a single-screen movie theater. We were big time.

Once, halfway through a movie, the projector lost its focus. The screen was a blur. You couldn't make out one character from the other. It seemed like it took forever to fix it.

When a lens is focused correctly, you are able to see the characters and interpret what is happening -- the plots, the subplots, all of the details that help to interpret the story. But when the lens is out of focus, understanding is lost.

This proverb reminds us that fearing the Lord focuses the lens that we look through to interpret our lives.

Fear in this proverb expresses not a sense of terror like that which would emerge after running into a lion in a dark alley.

Fear in this proverb describes a tremendous reverence. It describes feeling a great weight of amazement.

Living well is built on knowing and being amazed by the Lord.

The Proverbs equip us with the tools we need to know the Lord and to understand our lives.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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