“Take pleasure in the wife of your youth,” writes the wise man to his son. “[She] should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers.” (Proverbs 5:17) “Be lost in her love forever.” (Proverbs 5:19) Don’t “be infatuated with a forbidden woman or embrace the breast of a stranger.” (Proverbs 5:20) Do not defile the marriage bed, but keep yourself only to the wife of your youth.
Your prayers go unanswered, says the prophet Malachi. Why is this? Because you abandon the wife of your youth, “you act treacherously against her, though she is your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.” (Malachi 2:14) “So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:15) For God makes you and your wife one flesh, seeking “a godly offspring.” (Malachi 2:15)
God speaks, “If [you] hate and divorce [your] wife, [you] cover [your] garment with injustice. Therefore, watch yourself carefully, and do not act treacherously.” (Malachi 2:16)
“For [your] ways are before the Lord’s eyes, and He considers all [your] paths.” (Proverbs 5:21) “Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.” (Proverbs 5:18)
God calls us out. He says, ‘Don’t be smug and satisfied with yourself. This complacency is the mark of the foolish, of the simple.’
“To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth — Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:2-7)
The awe – the fear – of God is the starting line for instruction in wisdom. Now that you have put your hand to the wheel, begun the race, started to build, don’t shrink back. Run the full race. Seek instruction, says God. Desire discretion. Hope and strive “to understand words of insight.”
Don’t be complacent, self-satisfied and proud of your spirituality.
“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20-22)
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
James asks, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” And answers, “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:1-3)
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11) Therefore, “do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged.” (James 5:9) “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.” (Proverbs 19:5) Therefore,”do not swear, either by heaven and by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” (James 5:12)
“Who is wise and understanding among you?” asks James, and answers, “By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 4:13) “In the meekness of wisdom” is restraint. “Whoever keeps his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23) “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” (James 3:6) “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10)
Lord God, our Maker, forgive us for rising so quickly to anger and dissension. Forgive us for and heal us from bitterness and rage. Help us to reign over our passions. Keep us meek and wise. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
“A crucible for silver, a smelter for gold, and the Lord is the tester of hearts.” “All a man’s ways seem to right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2) “The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.” (Proverbs 20:27) “Get wisdom — how much better than gold! And get understanding — it is preferable to silver.” (Proverbs 16:16) “The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding will find success.” (Proverbs 19:8) “Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wise later in life.” (Proverbs 19:20) “There is gold and a multitude of jewels, but knowledgeable lips are a rare treasure.” (Proverbs 20:15) “Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to knowledge.” (Proverbs 22:17) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.” (Proverbs 18:4) “A wise heart instructs its mouth and increases learning with its speech.” (Proverbs 16:23) “I have instructed you today — even you — so that your confidence may be in the Lord.” (Proverbs 22:19)