A “Grid” Passage for Wisdom in Determining God’s Will

JP: By Pastor John Hartog III. Used with permission. Read Part I.


Studies in Proverbs 3:1-12 (PART TWO)

This passage contains couplets of verses (a “grid”): 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8, 9&10, and 11&12. A “grid” passage is an outline, framework, or list that might be used in order to understand and analyze a complex set of circumstances or a difficult decision. The “grid” provides a biblical way of thinking and can protect the believer from natural (old-man) ways of thinking. Another “grid” passage is 2 Peter 1:5-9.

(PROVERBS 3:3-4) PLEASE GOD. “Let not mercy [faithful love] and truth [truthfulness, faithfulness] forsake [leave] thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour [grace, pleasing charm] and good understanding [i.e., reputation] in the sight of God and man.”

Wisdom as Jewelry. Proverbs 3:22 “So shall they [God’s wisdom and understanding] be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.” Proverbs 1:9 “For they [father’s instruction and mother’s teaching] shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” Proverbs 6:21 “Bind them [father’s commandment and mother’s teaching] continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” Keep wisdom always near as a most valued of possessions.

Synonyms for Favor. Proverbs 8:35 “For whoso findeth me [Wisdom] findeth life, and shall obtain favour [pleasure, delight] of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Some New Testament Verses on Being Favorable to the Lord and People. Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour [grace] with God and man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

  • So, by wisdom we live a life that pleases God. We delight in Him, and He delights in us. We “find grace” in His sight in that we find favor before Him.
  • We must make sure that the decision we make evidences the virtue of faithfulness (both of love and truth). Will the decision I am about to make result in faithful love and truthfulness being “at home” in my heart?
  • We ought not to sacrifice integrity for advancement, or for ease, or for some other gain.
  • Do we have prior obligations or commitments that we would neglect if we chose a certain path? If so, wouldn’t that go against the virtue of “faithful love”? Remember, a man may be measured by the steadfastness of his loyalties and by the reliability of his commitments. First things first.
  • Would we need to deceive someone or would we need to hide some of the truth in order to choose a certain path? If so, wouldn’t that go against the virtue of “truth”?
  • When determining the Lord’s will in any matter, we must make sure that the decision would please God first and foremost and then others, if they are in tune with the Scriptures. The decision should not be one that merely seeks to please one’s self. If the godly people around us are warning us not to take a certain path, then prudence would dictate that we have a very careful approach toward our plans.
  • The human heart is deceitful, and we should ask God to search our hearts and try our ways to see if there is any wicked motive that may be pushing us in the wrong direction. If “self” looms large, then the direction it is pointing is probably wrong. Finding favor with God and people is a blessed thing. Life is not about “self.”
  • Sometimes when we are searching for God’s will, we are actually struggling to justify our own selfish decision even though our Spirit-directed heart is being grieved. In this way, we are like Balaam (Numbers 22:1-35) who pushed and pushed to get his own way and expected God to approve it.

© Pastor John Hartog III, Th.D

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