2 thoughts on “Proverbs 16:3

  1. Hmmm … is this one of those moments when we need to be sure to look at the OT through the lens of the NT? Where the OT promises for faithfulness focus on physical blessing sometimes bleed into the NT promises for faithfulness that focus on spiritual blessing?
    I must be in a contrary mode today … I just left a challenging comment over at day two of the Didache at The Blind Beggar.
    Or I may just be reacting to the infiltration of Bruce Wilkinson and Rick Warren styles of biblical (mis?)interpretation in my neck of the woods.
    Sigh … bless you for seeking to hide God’s word in your heart, brother … I just wonder whether Jesus might not have better words for you….


  2. I had to look up Bruce Wilkinson to see who you were talking about. The prayer of Jabez does not seem to be particularly influential in Sydney, except amongst Pentecostals. As such I have never bothered reading it cover to cover and only have a mild acquaintance with it.
    I understand the concerns with prosperity theology (mis)interpretation but would caution against throwing babies out with bathwater where proverbs are concerned, and that extends to saying I think we need to take care not to over-spiritualize them in reaction against overly-materialistic Christian consumerism.
    The critical interpretive issue with proverbs is, I feel, one of genre. Too often people confuse proverbs with laws. And once proverbs are conceived of as being like laws they are all too easily twisted into pseudo-magical tools whereby God is seen to owe us something if we keep them. Or as having betrayed us if things don’t turn out as we had hoped. But a proverb isn’t a law. A proverb is more like a distillation of wisdom, an observation that “generally speaking” life is like this.
    So, when we come to Proverbs 16:3, I take it as suggesting that, generally speaking, plans that are formulated in light of eternity tend to be more fruitful in the long run than plans that are not. And the part I am focusing on here is: how many of the plans I make in the course of my everyday life are made in the light of eternity? How many of the decisions I make at work, or with my finances, or with my relationships, are God referenced? I must confess that too often they are made without any eternal reference at all. Often I am far too myopic in the way I go about my everyday life. Should I be surprised when things don’t always have Godly results then?
    In looking at the Old Testament through the eyes of the New Testament I am sure you would agree that the primary reference point should be the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. And even a cursory glance shows that, while Jesus glorified God in everything, life was not smooth for him. But the crucifixion should be viewed through the lens of the resurrection, and the resurrection reveals to us that death and suffering is not the last word. And the resurrection has material consequences, not just spiritual ones.
    Coming back to Proverbs 16:3 then: yes, we need to be conscious that the success of God committed plans may not always be immediate, or even within our lifetime. Nor can we be assured that success won’t be without struggle or pain. But whatever the outcome I do think that it is far better for our plans to be God committed than not. Seeking to becoming more God committed in everything is the motivation behind memorizing this proverb.


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