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Indoctrination: Solomon’s First Collection of Proverbs (Synthetic) - On our journey in chapters 10-15, we have learned to make wise choices and to avoid foolish decisions. In chapter 16, we begin to see that God's purpose and plan in our lives is bigger than just daily decision-making. This section of Proverbs (Proverbs 16:1 to Proverbs 22:16) reveals the divine intervention of God on this journey in life. We must now learn that God has an all-inclusive divine plan for all of his creation, for all of mankind, and a plan for you and me in particular. We must learn not only to make a wise decision, but we must evaluate this decision in light of God's divine plan for our lives. It is only by God’s divine intervention in our daily lives that we will be able to stay on the path that leads to eternal rest. God will intervene in order to keep our life balanced so that we will not stray in any one direction to far. Therefore, the journey becomes narrower and choices must be made more carefully.
Proverbs 10-15 have given us one-verse sayings that are clearly antithetical. That is, the first part of the verse contrasts with the second part. However, beginning in Proverbs 16:1 to Proverbs 22:16, we see a different type of proverb. In this next section of the book of Proverbs the one-verse says have two parts that complement one another. That is, the second phrase amplifies, or further explains, the first phrase, rather than contrast its counterpart. This means that the training is getting a little more intensive. This new section requires more contemplation that the previous section. Rather than contrasting the difference between the wise man and the fool, we begin to learn the consequences of our decisions, whether wise or foolish. We now move from identifying the wise and the fool (Proverbs 10:1 thru Proverbs 15:33) into learning the lasting effects that wisdom and foolishness have in our lives (Proverbs 16:1 thru Proverbs 22:16). We must learn that we will always reap the consequences of our behavior. This is the process of indoctrination that is a vital part of our spiritual journey.
As we look for signposts within this passage that confirm this theme, we find them in Proverbs 16:6 and Proverbs 19:23, which tell us that the fear of the Lord brings forgiveness of our sins and it delivers us from the visitation of evil that judges the wicked.
Proverbs 16:6, “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”
Proverbs 19:23, “ The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.”
It is interesting to note that the opening chapter of this lengthy passage begins with the theme of the sovereignty of God. This passage is place at this place on our journey in order that we might learn that God's ways always prevail over man's ways and that we must always reap what we sow.
Therefore, the truths in Proverbs 16:1 to Proverbs 22:16 are a little deeper in meaning that the previous section of Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 15:33. On our journey in Proverbs 10-15, we have seen how a man can make choices that will identify his character. Now, beginning in chapter 16, we take a deeper lesson in life in order to see a bigger picture. Although the outcome in life rests upon our daily choices, we must learn that God intervenes in our lives in order to include us into His divine plan for all of His creation, and for all of mankind. This means that God has a plan for you and me in particular.
Then, we see a signpost at Proverbs 22:4 as an indication that this phase of learning is ending. Note:
Proverbs 22:4, “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.”
Therefore, Proverbs 22:4 does not describe the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:1 thru Proverbs 9:18), nor the instruction of wisdom (Proverbs 10:1 thru Proverbs 15:33), but rather the effects of applying wisdom to our lives. That is, wisdom brings to us the full rewards of riches, honour and life.
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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 17". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany