Proverbs 3:5-61NIV New International Version Translations
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
The authorship of Proverbs is typically assigned to Solomon, whose name appears in Proverbs 1:1, “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel.” Solomon is often mentioned as someone who has extensive wisdom in the Bible as well as in extra-biblical literature. In 1 Kings 4:32, 3000 proverbs and over 1000 songs are said to have come from Solomon and it is also said that people came from all over to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Because of the size of the court of Solomon, he had many children and used the form of a proverb for providing advice on living. Proverbs is unique in this respect, it is not filled with God’s commands but, instead, suggestions for wholesome living.
In the way of believing obedience to God’s commandments health and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our days may not be long upon earth, we shall live forever in heaven. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God’s mercy in promising, and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up your interest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise to do what is best. Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. Do not design anything but what is lawful, and beg God to direct you in every case, though it may seem quite plain. In all our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall direct thy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy at last.
Items for Discussion
- How is trust created?
- What destroys trust?
- Why is it important not to rely on our own wisdom (understanding) when trusting God?
- Much of wisdom comes from observations – what are the reasons human observations are inferior to those of our God?
- Why can’t peace exist without trust?
- How does God make our “paths straight?”
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew was a “publican” or tax collector for the Romans. Tax collectors made a good living. They were generally despised by their fellow Jews and merely tolerated by their Roman employers. Tax collectors were creative in finding ways to tax the people. Luke 3:13 states, “They overcharged [and] brought false charges of smuggling in the hope of extorting hush-money”. Other ways of making money included taxes on axles, wheels, animals, roads, highways and admission to markets. Some even charged pedestrians taxes.
Mark (Mark 2:14) and Luke (Luke 5:27) refer to Matthew as Levi. Matthew may have been from the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Levi was largely absorbed by the tribe of Judah after the kingdom of Judah had been exiled and returned from Babylon several centuries prior. Matthew was probably fluent in Greek and Aramaic. Greek was the official language while Aramaic was the local dialect. Matthew was literate and an educated writer and scribe. It is also believed that he knew a form of shorthand called tachygraphy. This may be the reason why he was able to write the detailed accounts of Christ’s spoken sermons including the long Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew resided in Capernaum located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. This was a large region that was heavily populated. Many lived and worked around the lake. It had numerous fisheries and lots of surface traffic because it was a major trade route through the region. The Romans set up a customhouse in the region and appointed Matthew as the tax collector. This was considered a lucrative and powerful position because he was supported by the strength of the Roman Empire. Rome was the greatest power on the earth. Because of the lucrative trade and fishing industries, Matthew probably had a very profitable position and was probably considered wealthy.
Verses 34-36 Jesus had answered the Sadducees. Now the Pharisees (the other Jewish leaders) prepared to test Jesus. The Jewish teachers said that the Law contained 613 commands from God. Some of these laws were more important than other laws. The expert about the Law asked Jesus which was the most important command.
Verses 37 Jesus used words from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. The most important command is part of what the Jews call the Shema. It is their statement of what they believe. So Jews say the Shema every day. The most important of God’s commands is that people should love him. They should love him with their whole soul – the whole of their thoughts, all of their feelings and their entire life.
Items for Discussion
- Why is the response from Jesus a perfect response?
- When are the modern Christian churches like the Sadducees and Pharisees of Jesus’ time?
- Is there anything in Jesus’ response that would lead one to believe there are other expectations for inclusion into God’s Kingdom?
- How should we respond when given a list of criteria by a “religion” to assure our salvation?
- If love is the perfect commandment, then how would you describe the kind of relationship God wants with His people?
- Could “religions” exist in a world who obeyed Christ’s commandment?
- How are the ways a church can move its members toward Christ’s commandment?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations