The Most Practical Book in the Bible

In the Book of Proverbs, you’ll find a blueprint for how to build a life according to God’s wisdom. Allan Moseley categorized every verse in this biblical book according to its subject and the result is his new book Living Well. He walks through specific topics—money, relationships, work, and more—examining what Proverbs has to say and translating it into practical advice for our daily lives. In this excerpt from the introduction, Moseley shows us the countercultural nature of Proverbs and the consequences of refusing the wisdom found within.

When people learn and live according to God’s wisdom they will be swimming upstream in a downstream world. Why? Because God’s wisdom in the book of Proverbs is immeasurably wiser than what most of the people in the world consider wise. The world says being rich is the way to go! Proverbs says being generous is wise (19:17; 22:9). Western culture encourages us to promote ourselves to get ahead. Proverbs says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth” (27:2). Many people live by the rule, “Stay out of other people’s business.” God’s book of wisdom says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (27:5). It’s most common for people to think that having lots of money will bring happiness and contentment. Proverbs says, “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall” (11:28).

Possession of a life skill, living skillfully, and knowing God—those are practical, life-related matters. They affect the way we live every day. God’s wisdom is practical, but we should not make the mistake of equating his wisdom with common sense. Common sense is natural, but wisdom is supernatural because it comes from God. The irony is that the world’s way of success is actually the way to fail. Though people who follow the world’s wisdom may succeed partially and temporarily, they will ultimately fail to become wise, at least in God’s eyes. On the other hand, when we give up the world’s way of success and seek God’s way of wisdom, we live well now, and we live forever.

When Wisdom calls, we have a choice. Proverbs 1:23 says that Wisdom invites us, “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” God calls to us, offering the truth of his word, his wisdom for living. We can ignore him or we can turn to him and listen. When we don’t listen, the consequences are disastrous. In Proverbs 1:24 Wisdom says, “I have called and you refused to listen,” and the following verses describe what happens when wisdom is refused. Verses 26 and 27 mention “calamity,” “terror,” “distress and anguish.” Those are the consequences of refusing wisdom.

When people experience the consequences of rejecting wisdom, instead of wisdom calling, the tables will be turned, and they will call to wisdom. Wisdom says, “Then they will call upon me,” but at that point it will be too late: “I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me” (1:28). They rejected wisdom, they suffered for it, and then suddenly they wanted some wisdom. That’s not the way it works. We can’t take a dose of wisdom like a magic pill that makes problems instantly disappear. We can’t neglect wisdom, get in a jam because of our foolish decisions, and then instantly get wisdom to get us out of the jam. It takes time to learn God’s wisdom. When we face a challenge, temptation, or decision, if we respond wisely it will be because long before that moment we turned to God’s wisdom, sat at his feet, and let him teach us his way.

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Following the advice in Proverbs strengthens our relationship with God while helping us live well in our earthly lives. Living Well is now available in all formats—get this practical exploration of Proverbs today!

Written by
Jake Mailhot

Jake Mailhot is the product manager for Lexham Press. He also writes about baseball and lives in Bellingham, WA.

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Written by Jake Mailhot
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