Welcome to our summer study of Proverbs! Today’s devotion will introduce you to the main theme of the book, namely that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It will be the last full-length devotion intended for homeroom use. Beginning next Tuesday, I will be posting shorter devotions on weekdays continuing through the summer corresponding with the days of the month. This Tuesday will be May 22nd, so you will be encouraged to read the first half of Proverbs chapter 22 and I will pull out a verse or two for explanation and application to help you learn how to read and grow from the this very practical book of the Bible. Wednesday’s post will be from Proverbs chapter 23, and so forth. I won’t post on weekends or holidays. Our prayer as teachers is that you will use these devotions or something similar to stay engaged with the Word of God this summer. As I told our 6th and 7th grade boys at lunchtime discipleship this week, Jesus taught in John 15:1-17 that He is the vine and we as Christians are the branches. If we want to continue bearing fruit like love and joy and peace in our lives, then we must continue to abide in Christ this summer. We abide or rest in Jesus by meditating on His book, the Bible, and trying to do what it says, by communing with Jesus in daily prayer, and by enjoying regular fellowship with other fruit-bearing Christians.
Since spring of last school year, I have been preaching and writing and laboring to help restore the fear of the Lord to NRCA. When I read our Class of 2023 spiritual surveys in March of 2017, I discovered many students who were very apathetic and lukewarm about following Christ. They didn’t care very much about knowing Jesus intimately and doing what He said, and what was really scary was that they didn’t care that they didn’t care. I was totally broken. After reading my own homeroom’s surveys at the end of Life Skills that first day of surveying, I remember weeping bitterly before God at my desk. The next day, I began to really watch how my homeroom students acted during the Thru the Word devotions that I played for them each morning. I became more broken as I watched these students ignoring and acting disinterested and unengaged during the teaching of God’s Word. I began to notice the many students sleeping, talking, laughing, and looking around during chapel preaching. I began to notice sinful words and actions in the hallways and cafeteria that were symptoms of hearts hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. I began to notice the many idols that our students were serving instead of the Lord. God showed me a lot of sin and idolatry in my own life. I realized that many of our students were in fact lost and did not even know it (Chair/Person 3), while others were backslidden or immature believers who knew the Lord but were not growing in Christ (Chair/Person 2). God convicted me very hard that we had a lot of fools unknowingly following the wide road to their own spiritual destruction. What many of our students needed was to be confronted with the biblical “fear of the Lord.” Our teachers realized that only the strong, “We-love-you-enough-to-punch-you-in-the-nose” preaching and teaching of God’s Word paired with lots and lots of prayer would help our students to turn from their sins, be healed, and find the narrow road that leads to life. We turned to the power of God’s Word and Spirit, and He has been answering our prayers through many public salvations and rededications, first in the Class of 2023 last spring and then in the Class of 2024 throughout this school year. There is still a long road to go for our school, but we believe that progress is being made.
Now, many students in theses upcoming 8th and 7th grade classes fear the Lord and are ready for the wisdom of Proverbs this summer. God has done the initial difficult work of heart changing by His grace. These students now want to love Jesus instead of sin. They now want to know and do God’s will. And in Proverbs, they can learn how this summer. As Proverbs 1:1-7 promises, these words of divine wisdom can warn us against the common sins and temptations that young (and oldish) people face. At the same time, the Proverbs will show us the better way of life that God has for us, a way of wisdom that God will empower us to walk in by the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. My prayer is that studying Proverbs this summer will help our middle school continue to experience the truth that “the fear of the Lord” really is “the beginning of wisdom.”
The Text (Proverbs 1:1-7)
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion—
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Questions to Think About
- Have your ever memorized or studied verses from the Proverbs? What do you already know about this book of the Bible?
- Would you say that you take God more seriously now than you did a year ago? How can you tell?
- Do you want to act more wisely this summer than you did last summer? Why or why not?
- What is your battle plan to stay on track with Jesus this summer?