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Proverbs 3.1-12 Notes

Proverbs 3 - Wisdom from Trusting God

A. My son, walk rightly with God.

1. (Prov. 3:1-4) Walk rightly with God by valuing His word.

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you.
3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.

a. Do not forget my law: Solomon's advice as a father to his son in this section begins with a warning to never forget God's Word (my law). Solomon didn't mean "my law" in the sense of his own personal decrees, but as God's word that he had internalized and made personal.

b. Let your heart keep my commands: Deciding to not forget God's word is more than a mental exercise of memory. It is also connected to a life of obedience, one that does keep the commands of God. If one mentally remembers God's Word yet fails to obey it, we could rightly say he or she has forgotten God's commands.
i. We note also that this obedience is one of the heart. Our goal in obedience is not mere outward conformity to God's will, but a heart that loves and obeys Him.
ii. "The heart is the first thing that wanders away from God, and it is also the first thing that returns to God." (Bridges)

c. They will add to you: There is a real benefit from this life and heart that obeys God. In principle, life and heart obedience brings long life and peace. This is a blessed combination; length of days could be a curse and not a blessing without peace.
i. We say in principle because this is largely how Proverbs was written and should be regarded. The principle of Proverbs 3:2 is not an absolute promise; there are some people who truly are given to obedience in both conduct and heart and die relatively young. Some godly persons have trouble living in peace. We regard these as true principles, not absolute promises.

d. Let not mercy and truth forsake you: Solomon wisely told his son to keep God's loyal love (mercy, the great Hebrew word hesed) and truth close. They should be so close that it would be as if they were a necklace on him at all times (bind them around your neck) and written on the tablet of your heart.
i. Matthew Poole observed that mercy and truth could be understood both as God's mercy and truth to us and as the mercy and truth that is man's duty to show to others. Both are important and should never be forsaken.
ii. "Mercy and truth are frequently joined together, as they are in God, as Psalms 25:10 57:3, &c., or in men, as Proverbs 16:6 20:28 Hosea 4:1, and here." (Poole)
iii. Bind them...write them: "Striking expressions for glorying in, meditating on and (7:3) acting by these principles." (Kidner) "By 'binding' and 'writing' the teacher is stressing that the teachings become a part of the disciple's nature." (Ross)

e. So find favor: The blessed, obedient life is magnetic. It enjoys the favor of the God it honors and attracts the favor of man.
i. "Favor (hen, see 1:9), the common word for 'grace,' here denotes the positive disposition of heaven and earth toward the son because of his attractiveness. Like ḥesed, it cannot be compelled; it is extended voluntarily and unilaterally to preserve a valued relationship." (Waltke)
ii. "This means that others will recognize the competence and intelligence of the wise individual."
iii. Trapp on having favor before man: "As did Joseph, Moses, David. He was a man after God's own heart, and whatsoever he did pleased the people. It is God that gives credit; he fashioneth men's opinions, and inclineth their hearts, as Ezra oft acknowledges with much thankfulness. [Ezra 7:27-28]"

2. (Prov. 3:5-6) Walk rightly with God by truly trusting Him.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

a. Trust in the LORD: Solomon advised his son to live a life of trust in Yahweh. Solomon had found that God was worthy to be trusted. It is our nature to put our trust in something or someone, even if it is our self. Solomon told us to consciously put our trust in the LORD, the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
i. "The word translated 'trust' in verse 5 means 'to lie helpless, facedown.' It pictures a servant waiting for the master's command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general."
ii. "To trust in God is to be unbottomed of thyself, and of every creature, and so to lean upon God, that if he fail thee thou sinkest." (Trapp)

b. With all your heart: If trust in God is to be true, it must be complete. To put half trust in God and half trust in self or something else is really failure to trust the LORD at all. We should endeavor to give God all our conscious trust.
i. "They trust not God at all that do it not alone. He that stands with one foot on a rock, and another foot upon a quicksand, will sink and perish as certainly as he that stands with both feet on a quicksand." ii. This aspect troubles some, because they fear there is some part of their heart that is not truly trusting God. We may sympathize with this concern, knowing that as imperfect people it is impossible for us to trust in the LORD perfectly. In principle, we gather that Proverbs 3:5-6 does not describe an objectively perfect trust in God, but a heart and life that does not consciously reject or defy God with unbelief.
iii. In fact, the following phrases will explain what Solomon intended with the phrase with all your heart.
iv. "This trust is not the mere cold assent of enlightened judgment. It is trust ... with all your heart. It is
a childlike, unwavering confidence in our Father's well-proved wisdom, faithfulness, and love." (Bridges)

c. Lean not on your own understanding: Trusting God with all our heart means to decide to put away our own understanding and instead to choose to trust God and His understanding, especially as declared in His word.
i. Lean not: "Do not rely, or lean as on a broken crutch, depicts what is meant by 'trust.'" (Waltke)
ii. "It is on GOD, not on thyself, that thou art commanded to depend. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool...Self-sufficiency and self-dependence have been the ruin of mankind ever since the fall of Adam. The grand sin of the human race is their continual endeavour to live independently of God." (Clarke)

d. In all your ways acknowledge Him: Trusting God with all our heart means to honor and acknowledge Him in all that we do. It is the choice to "invite" God into our everyday life and conduct. It is to practice the presence of God in the regular and sometimes mundane things that happen every day.
i. In all your ways acknowledge: "Ask counsel at his mouth, aim at his glory, be evermore in the sense of his presence, and light of his countenance." (Trapp)
e. He shall direct your paths: This is the great principle of God's response towards those who trust Him in the way described in the previous lines. When we acknowledge Him in our ways, He will direct our paths in the fulfillment of His will, into what is right before Him and pleasing to us.
i. More than a few are afraid to have God direct their paths. They would much rather direct themselves! This, fundamentally, is the heart that does not trust in the LORD with all the heart. The surrendered heart delights in God's direction and in God's paths.
ii. One of the most frequently asked questions among believers is, "How can I know the will of God?" In principle, Solomon gave a wonderful answer in Proverbs 3:5-6. When we:
▪ Decide to put our trust in the LORD.
▪ Decide to not trust in our own understanding but give attention and priority to God's revealed word.
▪ Decide to acknowledge and honor God in all that we do.

When we do those things, we can trust that God will direct our paths. We can go forward in peace, believing that through His word, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, through the counsel of others, through godly common sense, and through life circumstances, God will direct our paths. We will walk along our way of life and come to see that we have been on the path God intended all along.

iii. G. Campbell Morgan gave his own testimony to the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6: "The measure in which I have trusted Jehovah and acknowledged Him, has been the measure of walking in the paths of real' life."

3. (Prov. 3:7-8) Walk rightly with God by a humble, reverent life.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.

a. Do not be wise in your own eyes: We can regard this as an explanation of what it means to lean on one's own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). It is to regard our wisdom and better and greater than God's.
i. Do not be wise in your own eyes: "Be not puffed up with vain conceit of thine own wisdom, as if that were sufficient for the conduct of all thine affairs without direction or assistance from God, or without the advice of others." (Poole)

b. Fear the LORD and depart from evil: This is the natural result of trusting God. As we trust Him we come to know Him better, leading to natural reverence and awe (to fear the LORD). As we trust Him, we are drawn more to God and further from evil.

c. It will be health to your flesh: A life of surrender and trust in God has real benefits to the health of the trusting one. It gives a greater sense of peace and strength that the one would not have apart from a life of trust and surrender to God.

i. Flesh is literally navel and is usually taken as a center point referring to the entire body.

a. Honor the LORD with your possessions: This is another practical way to show that one does trust in the LORD with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5). When we truly trust Him, we can honor Him with generosity that realizes He is the great provider and God has inexhaustible resources.

i. Many commentators note that the word honor has a connection with sacrifice. "Commentaries note that this is the only place where Proverbs alludes to the ceremonial worship...Proverbs is not so much concerning itself with ceremonial religion here as it is exhorting the reader to demonstrate gratitude toward and confidence in God (rather than in wealth)." (Garrett)

ii. "The third piece of advice is to give back to God some of one's wealth as a sacrifice in recognition that God gave it." (Ross)

b. With the firstfuits of all your increase: According to the principle of the sacrifice of the firstfruits, we should give to God the first and best. If we will truly honor the LORD with our giving, it won't be with the last and leftovers.

i. Firstfruits: "It takes on the technical sense of offering the best of material things." (Waltke)

ii. The principle of firstfruits also means that we give to God in active anticipation that He will provide more. We honor Him by thinking, "I can give You the first and the best because I know You can and will give much more."

iii. "The Old Testament Jews brought the Lord the firstlings of their flocks (Exodus 13:1-2) and the firstfruits of their fields (Leviticus 23:9-14), and in this way acknowledged His goodness and sovereignty."

c. So your barns will be filled with plenty: This is a wonderful principle. God is the master and distributor of unlimited resources. He knows how to prosper and take care of those who honor Him with the resources He has given to them.

i. New wine: "New wine, according to F. S. Fitzsimmonds, 'represents wine made from the first drippings of the juice before the winepress was trodden. As such it would be particularly potent.'" (Waltke)

B. My son, receive the hard lessons of wisdom.

1. (Prov. 3:11-12) Receiving correction from God with the right heart.

11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

a. Do not despise the chastening of the LORD: In giving advice to his son, Solomon taught him how to regard correction or discipline from God, the chastening of the LORD.

i. "The word musar [chastening] signifies correction, discipline, and instruction. Teaching is essentially necessary to show the man the way in which he is to go; discipline is necessary to render that teaching effectual; and, often, correction is requisite in order to bring the mind into submission, without which it cannot acquire knowledge." (Clarke)

ii. "When the father's admonitions are violated, the son can expect the Lord to back it up with a "spanking" to prevent the wrong from becoming habitual." (Waltke)

iii. We may despise God's chastening "By accounting it an unnecessary, and useless, and troublesome thing." (Poole)

iv. The writer to the Hebrews quotes this passage in his encouragement that Christians should endure their own seasons of chastening and the discouragement that often comes with it. They could be encouraged in knowing that such suffering is a sign of sonship.

b. Nor detest His correction: This is when God either brings or allows some discomfort or affliction in the life of the believer for the good of:
▪ Exposing a sin or evil not previously seen.
▪ Showing the nature of the problem and need to address it.
▪ Discouraging the previous embrace of the sin or evil.
▪ Guiding to the rejection of sin or evil and embrace of God's best.

i. The particular discomfort or affliction could come in many ways. God may do it through the inward conviction of the Holy Spirit. It may come through critics and adversaries. It may come through disappointing and sour circumstances. However it may come, it will not feel good, but before God could be allowed to do much good in the life of the believer.

ii. "'Discipline' primarily involves teaching or training rather than punishment for wrongdoing. It is analogous to military training, in which, although the threat of punishment is present, even stern discipline is not necessarily retribution for offenses. Hardship and correction are involved, however, which are always hard to accept." (Garrett)

iii. "The Lord's discipline is like that in a family, not in a school, let alone in a prison. The Lord corrects his children and does not treat them as criminals. 'I love the rod of my heavenly Father,' exclaimed the saintly Fletcher. 'How gentle are the stripes I feel. How heavy those I deserve.'" (Bridges)

c. For whom the LORD loves He corrects: Seen rightly, God's correction of His people is a wonderful sign of His love. In our instinctive desire for ease and comfort we often wish God would not correct us. Yet because He loves and delights in us, according to His wisdom He will deal with our sins, weaknesses, and failings.

i. A father who truly loves his children will correct them appropriately. For a father to leave sins and failings uncorrected is not a sign of love; it is a sign of indifference and the selfish disregard that often accompany indifference.

ii. "C. S. Lewis illustrates the truth by noting that an artist may not take much trouble over a picture drawn to amuse a child, but he takes endless effort over his great work of art that he loves." (Waltke)

iii. "Sometimes He chastens because we have rebelled and need to repent; other times He chastens to keep us from sinning and to prepare us for His special blessing. No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always chastens in love." (Wiersbe)

Proverbs 3 Commentary

1My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
3Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

Solomon's advice to his son and to youths in general is to not forget the teaching of God and to keep His commandments. The best way to live life is to hold to truth and to be kind with others, for this is wisdom. Those who walk in wisdom should expect to avoid the calamities that evil people tend to bring upon themselves, and they can be at peace in their hearts and often even with those around them. As much as it depends upon us, we should live peaceably with others. Wisdom and kindness go hand in hand, for those who are cruel and vindictive are foolish. Truth and kindness should be etched on our hearts and near to us always. This pleases God and brings His favor, and people in general will view kindness, honesty, and justice favorably as well (Philippians 4:8). But many times people are wrong, and thus God wants us to seek His favor above all and not succumb to the passing whims of man. What is of good repute is only ultimately defined by Him and His truth.

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

The two verses contain potent truths. First, we are to trust in the Lord not just somewhat or a little bit but with all of our hearts. This is why James 1:5-7 says that God will give wisdom to those who ask in faith without doubting. We cannot trust God with our whole hearts and at the same time doubt that He will provide us with His wisdom. We need wisdom as we traverse this life, and God will give it to those who believe. Second, we are told not to lean on our own understanding. We must recognize our weakness and our dependency upon God and look to Him Who alone is sufficient. Trust must be transferred from our own human abilities and intellect to the power and wisdom of God. There will be things that we just won't understand because we won't see the whole picture as God sees. We just must trust Him and believe that He understands it all. Third, in everything we should acknowledge Him and credit and praise Him for all that is good and perfect in our lives. We don't earn or merit His good and perfect gifts, but He is faithful to be gracious to us even when we don't deserve it. He always deserves praise and thanksgiving from our hearts, and we must always remember that we can do nothing on our own apart from Him (John 15:5, Psalm 127:1).

The result of our holding tightly to these three wisdom principles is that God will make our paths straight. This doesn't mean that life will be easy, but it does mean that we won't make it extra-complicated by entangling ourselves with evil. It doesn't mean that we will never suffer, but it does mean that God will be with us every step of the way sustaining us and giving us grace to do what He will ask of us. It means that He will make us spiritually effective and efficient in doing His work as He opens doors and closes doors. As we walk in His wisdom, we will see where we should go and what we should do. What was crooked and confusing can be made straight and clear as we seek the wisdom of God.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.

Being wise in one's own eyes is describing pride, haughtiness, and arrogance, things God hates. It is an attitude that searches for wisdom and strength within the flesh rather than from God. Trusting in self is the exact opposite of trusting in God, and inevitably it will lead people astray and into danger. Thus, we should instead fear the Lord and turn away from evil. The Lord will exalt the humble heart in due time, but the proud He must bring low. When believers struggle with pride and self-sufficiency in our hearts and minds, God will be faithful to bring us low so that we will see our desperate need and dependency upon Him. Then, from a place of brokenness, He can heal us, use us, and empower us for effective service by His strength despite our weakness. His power is perfected not in our strength but in our weakness, for then it is evident to all that what is accomplished is something that only God can do (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Then He gets all the glory as He always should.

Turning away from evil and doing what is right is healing to our soul and also to our bodies which can and do often reflect the state of our spiritual and emotional well-being. Sin can make the body decay, for we are not right when we hold sin in our hearts (Psalm 32:3-4). God must allow us to break so that we do His will and confess our sin. Our spiritual restoration can make us feel better physically also. Wisdom is refreshment not just for the soul but even for the body. Doing things God's way may be hard, but it takes fear and confusion out of the stress equation. When we let Him carry the load, the burden actually becomes easy and light. Nobody said faith was easy, but when we exercise faith we can expect Christ to do all the heavy-lifting.

9Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
10So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

We must acknowledge that any and all wealth that we have is from God, and everything that we have is a provision from Him. He gives us strength to work, the ability to learn, and the energy to earn money. He owns even the cattle on a thousand hills because He has made it all (Psalm 50:10). All that we have is ultimately His, and we must always be ready, willing, and cheerful to do what God asks us to do with the resources, time, and energy He gives us. He will honor us for our faithfulness, maybe not with more prosperity on earth as some promise but certainly with eternal rewards.

God's covenant with Israel in Solomon's time involved the people faithfully giving to the work of the priesthood and then expecting God to bless the nation in return with much prosperity (Deuteronomy 11:26-31). God wanted to see if the people would trust Him enough to obey Him and then praise Him for His provision. As time went on, the people started holding back their first and best from God, and they were carried off into captivity (Malachi 1, 2:1-9). They forgot that God owns all and deserves to be honored and obeyed, trusted and acknowledged (Proverbs 3:5-6). In trying to get more for themselves, they actually missed out on the blessings of God which were far greater, better, and longer-lasting.

11My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD
Or loathe His reproof,
12For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

God disciplines those sons and daughters whom He loves as Hebrews 12:7-11 explains. We should not
despise His correction, but we should humbly receive it knowing that it produces in us further wisdom, holiness, and understanding. He is not cruel, mean, vindictive, or wrathful towards His own, but He trains us in righteousness so that we can learn His ways and understand that sin is harmful while good is helpful. That He disciplines us is evidence of His delight in us, and we will see evidence of spiritual growth and sanctification as a result of His gentle and effective surgery on our hearts. God must also root out the hidden sins and selfish desires of our hearts so that we can keep growing into His likeness. Discipline is not God losing His cool and lashing out at His own. It is more like a doctor working to correct what is wrong in a patient. God will be faithful to teach us, change our desires, and modify our behavior as we trust Him and desire wisdom.

When God allows consequences into our lives for irreverence to Him, it is a reminder of His love, and it is always to help His church be purified. In His love, He will hedge us in behind and before, gently lay His hands upon us, and keep us from doing something stupid. His protection and provision comes before discipline, for discipline is only necessary for those who begin to harden their hearts. We don't want to take God's discipline lightly, for the harder we press back against God, the harder He will have to work to humble us. Wisdom says to listen quickly, repent immediately, and enjoy the fellowship of Christ.

Proverbs chapter 3

v1 My son, do not forget my law.
Keep my commands in your heart.
v2 My commands will bring you long life.
They will bring you wealth.

Verse 1

Chapter 3 begins, as usual, with advice for Solomon's son. Solomon encourages his son to remember his commands. The son must remember the words. But he should also aim for a deeper experience. Wisdom should enter his heart. Wisdom should guide his thoughts. Wisdom should control his emotions and desires.

Verse 2

The son will benefit from wisdom. Solomon mentions health and wealth.

Wisdom brings health, because wisdom teaches safe actions. A wise person eats good food and takes care of his body.

Wisdom brings wealth, because the wise person is careful. The wise person works hard and he does not waste money.

Do not think that health and wealth show wisdom. A thief can become wealthy, because he steals. An evil person can take money from other people. Sometimes God gives health and wealth to a person, but not always. 'Remember God! He makes you able to get wealth...' (Deuteronomy 8:18)

True health is not only the health of the body. Your relationship with God must also be healthy. In fact, your relationship with God is more important than your body. See Matthew 5:29-30.

Solomon was very wealthy. But he knew that true wealth is not money. See Proverbs 3:14-15. Wisdom is worth more than silver or gold. Wisdom is worth more than all our money.

v3 Never let love and trust leave you.
Wear them about your neck.
Write them on your heart.
v4 You will win love and honour.
God and people will show you love and honour

Verses 3-4

Love and trust should always be with us. As Solomon writes this, he is thinking about Deuteronomy 6:7-9. 'Teach God's law to your children. Talk about God's law at home! Talk about it, when you travel! Talk about it, when you lie down! Talk about it, when you wake! Tie the words of God's law on your hands! Tie the words about your head! Write God's law at the side of your doors and gates!'

'Wear them about your neck.' You cannot really wear love and trust. But you can show your love and trust to other people. Everybody will know your attitudes when they see your behaviour.

'Write them on your heart.' You cannot really write 'love and trust' on your heart. But love and trust should direct your whole life, even in private. Love and trust should direct your thoughts, plans and attitudes. Love and trust should always be in your heart and mind.

Love and trust should not be just ideas. We must not remember them today, and then forget them tomorrow. They must be part of our lives. They should guide every decision.

v5 Trust in God with your whole heart.
Do not depend on your own intelligence!
v6 Wherever you go, think about God.
He will clear the path for you to follow.

Verses 5

Verses 5 and 6 are very important. It is a good idea to learn them. They will help us if we worry about the future.

'Trust in God.' People trust many things. Some trust money. Some trust governments. Other people trust luck or fate. You might trust your family or your church. Sometimes all these things will fail. But God never fails. 'God is like a castle. We are safe with him, because he is strong. He is always with us. He protects us whenever there are troubles.' (Psalm 46:1)

'Your whole heart.' Perhaps you trust God sometimes, but not at other times. Some people become Christians, but do not trust God with their whole hearts. God is part of their lives, but only part. Maybe they want God at home, but not at work.

God wants our whole hearts. We should always desire his wisdom. He wants us to live as Christians at work and at home. We must trust God, even when our lives are difficult.

God encourages us to trust him in everything.

'Do not depend on your own intelligence!' God is wiser than we are. We may know many things, but God knows everything. We must not be proud. We must not imagine that we are wiser than God.

Verse 6

The future is unknown to us. But God knows the future. He is able to lead us. He can guide us. We should trust him, and not our own ideas. So we should pray to God about our lives. We should ask him to help us and to guide us.

'Wherever you go, think about God.' These words remind us that life is like a journey. We shall have many experiences. Some experiences will be good. Other experiences will be bad. Wherever we are, we should think about God. We should remember God's place in our lives. If life is like a journey, then we must follow God. He knows the right path. His way is the right way.

'He will clear the path for you to follow.' Another translation is: 'He will show the right path to you.' We can trust God to guide us.

v7 Do not be proud about your own wisdom.
Respect God and refuse to do evil actions.
v8 This will bring health to your body.
This will bring strength to your bones.

Verse 7

Wrong types of wisdom and intelligence

There is a wrong type of wisdom. Verse 7 mentions 'your own wisdom'.

There is also a wrong type of intelligence. Verse 5 mentions 'your own intelligence'.

There is a difference between our own wisdom and God's wisdom. Also, there is a difference between our own intelligence and God's intelligence. God is wiser than we are. And God is more intelligent than any person is. See Isaiah 55:8-9.

We must not be proud. All true wisdom comes from God. Our own ideas may be good. But they are never better than God's wisdom.

God teaches his wisdom to us. It is God's gift to us. Do not confuse your own ideas with God's wisdom!

Verse 8

Sometimes our wrong ideas cause illnesses. For example, excess alcohol will make us ill. But God's wisdom does not hurt us. God is kind to us and he helps us. He cares about our bodies. He also cares about our spirits. Nobody will be ill in heaven (Revelation 21:4).

The wisdom that we need is God's wisdom.

v9 Use your wealth to give honour to God.
Give him the first part of your harvest.
v10 Then your harvest will be vast.
Your new wine will be plentiful.

Verses 9-10

In Malachi 3:6-12, Malachi accuses the people. He says that they have stolen from God. This is because they have not given their gifts for God's work.

The truth is that all our possessions belong to God. He made the world. So he made everything that we have. Our own lives belong to him. As Christians, we should be generous. We should give for God's work. We should also give to help poor people.

People may say, 'If I give, then I shall not have enough for myself.' We should be sensible, but we must also trust God. God says, 'I do not need your animals. Every animal in the forest is mine. I own the cows on 1000 hills.' (Psalm 50:9-10)

If we give our money for God's work, then God will provide for us. Jesus said, 'If you give to God, then he will give to you. He will provide plenty of food for you. If you are generous, then God will be generous with you.' (Luke 6:38).

God does not need our wealth. However, he chooses to work with us. We should be glad to give to God. 'God loves a joyful giver.' (2 Corinthians 9:7)

As we give to other people, God gives good things to us. '... I will open heaven. I will give good things to you. You will receive so many good things, that you cannot find space for them.' (Malachi 3:10)

v11 My son, do not be angry when God teaches you.
Do not dislike it when he speaks strictly to you.
v12 God speaks strictly to people whom he loves.
He is like a father. He speaks strictly to his favourite son.

Verses 11-12

Many people do not want to learn how to behave well. They want to choose how they will live their lives.

God is our father. A father teaches his son. Sometimes, the father must correct or punish his son. In the same way, God corrects us.

God does not correct us because he is angry. God corrects us because he loves us. A human father should not punish his child because the father is angry. Rather, the father corrects the child because the father loves his child. If God corrects us, then we should be glad. His correction teaches us to do the right things. His correction will save us from troubles.

Jesus spoke about this in John 15:1-8. He compares God to a gardener. We are like a vine (fruit tree). 'If a branch has no fruit, God cuts it shorter. He does this so that the branch will have more fruit.' (John 15:2)

God does not forget about us. He watches us. He sees our errors. In love, he corrects us.

He might correct us by some word that we read in the Bible. He might use the advice of other people, for example, a minister or friend. He might even use someone who is not a Christian. 'If you hear God's voice today, do not refuse him!' (Hebrews 3:15)

There is a different, ancient translation of verse 12. Hebrews 12:6 copies this translation. It says, 'God punishes everyone whom he receives as a son.' Hebrews 12:7-11 explains these words. God corrects us, because we are his children. If he did not correct us, we should not be his children. We respect our natural fathers who correct us. In the same way, we must respect God.

Sometimes correction includes punishment. 'Punishment is not pleasant at the time. Punishment seems painful. Later, however, it produces something good. We learn peace, and we learn right actions.' (Hebrews 12:11)