Today's chapter (May 2nd, so Proverbs 2) is a great example. I've cut and pasted a version of the chapter below (from the Bible Gateway), and I've also taken out the standard margins and individual verse references.
Why? Not only does it read easier this way, but it's closer to how the author wrote it. Those verse references throughout the Holy Bible are great for organization, but I find that they can be a stumbling block to me when I'm reading ... so I will often cut and paste portions into a document and take the numbers out. It's interesting to see what comes through when I do this, and I thought I'd share this learning tool with you, too, Dear Reader.
Reading Proverbs and Voluntary Simplicity
How does this help in living a simple life? Live a life of voluntary simplicity means going against the flow of today's modern American culture - and sad to say, there's a lot of foolishness out there. Probably not new, right?
For me, starting the day out with Proverbs helps keep me grounded. It helps me to remember that as I make choices during the day, that I need to ask myself "is this wise?" and to monitor what's influencing me. As dedicated to this lifestyle as I am -- and I walk this talk -- I'm only human and I can be influenced into purchasing stuff I don't need, or buying some fast food because I'm running late and there's so much left on the task list.
Reading Proverbs is a practical tool that really helps me. As amazing as that is, as I sit here on May 2, 2010, reading words written by King Solomon, son of David, ancestor of Jesus, around 2500 years ago.
What I find interesting as I write this is how I have come to take for granted how practical it is to live as a follower of Christ -- something that I think gets lost a lot, at least by me. Living a simple life is living a Christian life from my perspective. More on this pondering in another post, on another day.....
Here is Proverbs 2 (New Living Translation):
The Benefits of Wisdom
My child, listen to what I say,and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.
Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted.
These men turn from the right way to walk down dark paths.
They take pleasure in doing wrong, and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.
Their actions are crooked, and their ways are wrong.
Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before God.
Entering her house leads to death; it is the road to the grave.
The man who visits her is doomed. He will never reach the paths of life.
Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous.
For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it.
But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.
Image: The Wisdom of Solomon by James Joseph Tissot (1836-2902), public domain, Wikimedia Commons.