Proverbs 24 finishes the list of the 30 Sayings of the Wise with our final 12, and we can see a major theme throughout: “Do not…” Wisdom speaks truth, and we would do well to lean in again today to receive it. Wisdom instructs, and we would do well to position ourselves as students of the Word of God once again today. Wisdom calls out, and we would do well to tune our ears to hear its voice.
I read these next two lines in a devotional I’ve been reading about the Proverbs, and it has struck such a chord with me, that I simply must share it with you.
“Wisdom is often measured by self-control; desire is managed by discipline.” – author unknown
Isn’t that so true? Self-control and discipline go hand in hand when choosing to walk in the way of wisdom. Everything in our flesh will cry out for a different path, one that would not restrict or restrain any of our human desires. The problem with our flesh is that far too often, our desires are rooted in sin. We crave and we want that which we should not have…because it feels good, because it tempts, because it promises happiness.
A wise person knows that true joy is found on the path of wisdom. Living a righteous life brings joy that worldly pursuits could never give. So, today, as we glance over Proverbs 24 and all of its “do nots,” let’s remember that God’s “nos” are so often His mercies extended to us. His boundaries are guardrails to keep us safe. His instruction to us in His Word serve as the moral fences that when surrounding our lives, ultimately lead to freedom.
“Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,” Proverbs 24:17
“Do not fret because of evildoers
or be envious of the wicked,” Proverbs 24:19
“Do not testify against your neighbor without cause—
would you use your lips to mislead?” Proverbs 24:28
Instead, do these things…
“By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;” Proverbs 24:3
“Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” Proverbs 24:11
“Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24:14