We are going to take a journey through the book of Proverbs. It will be a journey similar to the journey of the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land. After crossing the Red Sea they stopped at Sinai for a period of time, and then they moved on to another place. They camped there for a time and journeyed on to their next stop-over. From camp to camp they journeyed.
In like manner we will make our starting place at a verse in the first chapter. We will camp there for awhile and then move on to another place. We will move from camp to camp through Proverbs Ė a short time at some and a little longer at others.
First Camp is Camp Hearing
Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.
Why should our starting place be Camp Hearing? There will be no learning or increase in our relationship with the Lord without the ability to hear. Jesus taught us that hearing was the most important thing. One of the scribes asked Him what was the greatest commandment. And the Lord answered: The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Mark 12:29-30. The first and most important commandment is to hear. Being able to hear the Word of the Lord is the beginning of a relationship with Him. The ability to love God comes through the channel of hearing. Would you like to have faith? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17. Thus, our journey begins at Camp Hearing.
Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you.
Why do we now need Camp Discipline? It is because you canít hear as well as you think you can. What is the first thing that happens when you join the army, navy, etc? They send you to boot camp. They have to tear down what you think you are and shape you into what you need to be. God has His own boot camp. It is called Camp Discipline. Only God knows how to deliver us out of the self-centeredness of our human nature and bring us to the place where He can pour out His Spirit upon us. Why do we need the Holy Spirit? Many Christians never receive the Holy Spirit. Human nature cannot know the Word of God. It has to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Again, Jesus said, I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth (John 16:12,13).
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not to your own
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.
If you can learn what you need to learn at Camp Trust, you will have no trouble in the rest of this journey through Proverbs. The fact of the matter is you will learn it somewhat but not completely. There will be other camps to help bring the completion of this one. However, you will learn enough so that you can continue on your journey.
What is revealed here at Camp Trust? You canít trust in the Lord and your own understanding! Your natural thinking will lead you away from God. If human nature could lead people to God, everybody would know Him. But the fact is that human nature leads people away from God. So at Camp Trust we must learn how to trust the Lord and to not trust in our own understanding. You must learn to know the difference between your own natural instincts and the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths. There are two paths Ė the path your human nature wants to take and the path of righteousness. Next it says, Do not be wise in your own eyes and depart from evil. What is the evil He speaks of here? It is the evil of being wise in your own eyes.
Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle (tent) of the upright shall flourish.
Simply put, the Lord says that the wicked live in a house and the righteous live in a tent. This is speaking spiritually, of course. We are living in tents in our spiritual journey through Proverbs. We camp, and then we fold up our tents and move to the next camp. We are continuously progressing. That is what a walk with God is; it is a continual moving on in the Lord. The wicked build a stationary house; they do not progress in the Lord. They will make their statement of faith of what they believe and never move on from there. The tent-dwellers, on the other hand, continue to believe more and more. Their faith is continuously progressive. The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith (Romans 1:17).
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.
Youíre probably wondering why I call this one Camp Wake-Up. Well, Iím going to explain it to you. By this time you have grown in the Lord. You have learned to hear and see spiritually to some degree, but you know you canít hear the Word of the Lord or see into His Kingdom as you should. You have reached a stalemate. You study the Bible more, you pray more, do everything you can and you still canít make any progress. Then one day you read: By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8. Youíve read it hundreds of times, heard it quoted hundreds of times, but this time it is Camp Wake-Up! You suddenly realize it is not what you do. You canít work your way into it. You cannot create the hearing and seeing; God creates it. God does the creating; our responsibility is to believe (John 6:29).
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
This verse is a familiar one to every Christian. Take that child to Sunday School and teach him the Bible stories is the way it is usually thought of, but when the child reaches the age of choosing his own way he usually goes the way of the world. First of all, Sunday School doesnít train up a child in the way he should go; that is primarily the responsibility of the parents. As is so often the case, we donít understand what God is saying. The term ďoldĒ in the Scriptures usually refers to spiritual maturity. So this verse is saying that a child should be trained in the way of the Lord until he is spiritually mature and then he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.
Some translations say where there is no prophecy the people perish. Either word would be correct, or you could say prophetic-vision. Letís look at this first naturally. A young person goes to school and by the time he graduates from high school he should have a goal in mind for his life. The truth of the matter is, though, many young people have no goal and without a goal their life begins to perish. So it is with many Christians. They go to church, pay their tithes, and live morally good lives, but they donít have a vision. They donít know Godís plan for their lives. They just drift along in a Christian life that is perishing, and they donít realize it is perishing. Do you know what God wants you to become; do you know His plan for your life; do you have the vision? It is your responsibility to find out what Godís will is for your life. It is your responsibility to have a prophetic vision for your life and for those under your charge. It is the husbandís responsibility to have a revelation of Godís will for his wife that he might work with God in bringing it to pass. It is the wifeís responsibility to know Godís plan for the husband. It is the parentsí responsibility to have the vision for their children. Now listen to this, pastors. It is the pastorís responsibility to have a revelation of Godís will for each one in his flock. We are our brotherís keeper. If you will earnestly seek God with a right heart He will reveal His will to you, for He wants you to work with Him in bringing His will to pass.
Such is our journey through Proverbs.
Copyright © 2007 by Henry DuBose