Thursday, August 02, 2007

31 Day Plan

Solomon spoke three thousand proverbs. 1 Kings 4:32

How would you like to go on a 31 day treasure hunt? If so, during August, plan to read the 31 chapters of Proverbs in the Bible, authored for the most part by King Solomon. Summer temperatures will sizzle near 100, and you’ll want to retreat into the air conditioning. Why not plan to turn off the television and visit ancient wisdom, still practical in 2007.

Not everything in the Bible is about heaven and salvation even though the Bible is God’s story about interaction with man. In the wisdom literature, God spells out ways to live ordinary lives on earth with integrity, right thinking.

In the prayer, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prayed that the Father’s will be carried out “on earth as it is in heaven.” By reading Proverbs in 31 days, one can get a crash course of very good advice for living out God’s will on earth. The first chapters teach reverence for God, a good starting place for all.

The book of Proverbs also tackles topics such as morals, honesty, humility, eating habits, friendships, laying traps, fools, laziness, gossip, lessons from nature, taking advice, knowledge, money management, honoring parents, how drunkards learn lessons, and marriage. Following are favorite Proverb truisms:

“Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house” (24:27). Build up your nest egg, before you build the nest.

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly” (17:12). An angry bear is recognizable, a fool, whoa, some of them look just like an average Joe.

“Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and he will hate you” (25:17). Situation comedy writers, are they reading Proverbs for screenplay ideas? How many times has the intrusive neighbor been a storyline?

“Let another praise you, not your own mouth, someone else, and not your own lips” (27:2). Bern Williams said, “The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate.”

One more proverb to whet your appetite: “A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will be refreshed” (11:25). You might not get a check in the mail, but heaven’s reward program is better than frequent flyer miles.

This August, I’ll pray a proverb over you—that you’re not waylaid by a she-bear with stray cubs or a fool with stray morals.

As you read 31 chapters in 31 days, watch for gems. You’ll absorb plenty of wisdom-guidelines, helping you to respect God and others for the other 334 days in a year.

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