Welcome to Spring! How do we know it’s Spring? Forget the calendar – we’ve just finished Psalms and now we’re starting Proverbs. Let the Bible be your barometer! And since we’re starting Proverbs, I thought we could look at wisdom’s advice in chapter 1. There’s obviously a lot of very practical advice in the book and much of it we can apply to the situation we’re experiencing at the moment. The last verse of the chapter says, “whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster” (v.33). That’s sensible advice while we self-isolate. I don’t find it very easy to be “at ease” during times like this but knowing that self-isolation is a wise course of action means I don’t have that “dread of disaster” associated with how things are going on in places where the virus is doing its worst. The verse before says “the complacency of fools destroys them” and we all understand that being complacent at the moment and ignoring the advice of medical professionals would be foolish. We can also apply verses 24-26 to those who ignore the advice to quarantine – “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.” Wisdom doesn’t come across as very polite in those verses, but the point is, if calamity, distress and anguish come upon us because we have no heeded the good advice, it’s not wisdom’s fault; we only have ourselves to blame.
More important than the immediate practical advice, however, is the spiritual lesson which comes from this passage. There’s a far more dangerous virus out there than COVID-19 and we call it “sin”. It’s highly contagious and causes death in 100% of people who are exposed to it. But the book of Proverbs is full of advice on how to quarantine against the pestilence of sin. Like verse 10 – “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent”. Of course, sometimes we do expose ourselves to sin, especially because it is all around us. But Proverbs also tells us we have medicine. When you’re not “wise in your own eyes… it will be healing to your flesh” (Prov. 3:8). Wisdom also says, “be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh” (Prov. 4:20-22).
What we have is a vaccination against the virus of sin if we take advantage of it. When we’re staying home with our families, we have ample opportunity to vaccinate ourselves against sin. If we “keep sound wisdom and discretion” (Prov. 3:21) – that’s the vaccination – then it will “keep your foot from being caught” (v.26). That is, the word of God will be such a part of our thinking that we will not stumble into sin along the pathway of life.
There are so many practical ways of taking advantage of the time we have now to create good spiritual habits and get that wisdom of God into our hearts. Do your daily Bible readings. Implement a “Dessert and Bible” evening (which is what we’re doing). Some time in the (hopefully not too distant) future we’re going to be let loose from the sanctity of our homes and back out in the world. If we’re taking advantage of the time God has given us now to vaccinate ourselves then we will reap the benefits throughout the rest of our lives.
Simi Hills, CA