Proverbs 23:17-18 – Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:13-14 – My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29:20 – Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
In these last 4 Proverbs that mention “hope” we see a stark contrast: the fear of the Lord and wisdom will provide hope; being wise in your own eyes and hasty to speak will devour it. So, what are these secrets to hope?
The fear of the Lord. A lot of commentaries say that “fear” in this sense really means “respect.” If you look in the Scriptures, nearly every time the Lord appears to someone, God (or an angel) instructs them, “do not fear.” It implies that the fear they have is paralyzing. God is trying to bestow some great instruction or information, and these people can’t even stand up. It *is* respect, but it’s more than respect as well – it’s getting a glimpse of how holy our God is. His holiness compared to our sin is worthy of fear indeed.
Wisdom. I’ve heard it said that knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. Wisdom is manifest when we use our knowledge of God and His commandments and put them to action. It’s not merely knowing facts; wisdom is living in accordance with the truth.
Fearing God and living according to His truth will give us hope.
Conversely, if we think we are wise in ourselves and/or we are quick to speak, we lose out on hope. Consider these other passages:
James 4:6 – But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 1:19 – Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
So, this week, if you’re looking for hope, try this: fear God and ask Him for wisdom. Let me know how that goes for you