The Problem with Proverbs
I think Proverbs is one of my least favorite books of the Bible. Just being honest. When I look at the world it just doesn’t seem as clear-cut as Proverbs.
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf. (Proverbs 11:28)
I see a world filled with unrighteous people who hold a lot of power and riches.
The slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
I see a world of people working hard and remaining poor.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
I find it difficult to categorize people into ‘fools’ or ‘the wise’. I am pretty sure I exhibit wisdom and foolishness on the same day, and on Mondays in the same hour.
And that is not even starting on how guilty the Proverbs 31 woman of ‘noble character’ makes me feel every time I sit down to have a cup of coffee, while my children nap, and my apartment is knee-deep in crumbs.
At a quick glance, Proverbs looks like a book of clear-cut rules and outcomes, yet I see a world of confusion and hurt. If we are being honest, we would probably admit that, like me, most of us don’t really know what to do with Proverbs. When we read it on a surface level, it seems lacking in grace and full of rules and condemnation, either to point at ourselves or at others.
But this is why I like our current series on Proverbs. I clearly don’t understand how to read Proverbs deeply. I don’t get what it is telling me about God or my role in this world as a citizen of Heaven. If my Christian walk was just down to me alone, I’d probably not bother to read Proverbs because I don’t get it. Thankfully, instead, we get to do this walk together and be part of a community that can help us get it.
So if you are like me and don’t really understand how Proverbs interacts with New York City in 2017, join me in biblical community. Let’s be a church that values this Bible so highly that we investigate it; that we stop and ask it questions. Let’s be a church that looks hard at the bits we would rather avoid, where we go beyond the ‘Sunday School’ answers, and actually grapple with the difficult parts of the Bible. Let’s not be scared of saying ‘I don’t get this bit’ and actually help each other grow in our understanding of God and this walk with Him. Let’s be a community that takes the Bible seriously enough to let it transform our thinking and lives.
If you are interested in learning more about Proverbs, start with this video from The Bible Project.
About Ailsa Lewis
A native of Scotland, more recently you can find Ailsa touring the playgrounds of Manhattan, overusing Instagram, or helping pastor the East Side.