This year for my devotions, I am reading the One Year Bible again, but in a new edition: The Chronological Edition. Reading it this way has been especially interesting in Kings and Chronicles because Psalms and Proverbs are sprinkled in written by David and Solomon. A few days ago I read Proverbs 22:17 through 24:22. The heading of this section is “Thirty Sayings of the Wise.”
Proverbs can be hard to read because every few verses is a different thought. So the thirty sayings of the wise were on a variety of subjects. Wisdom, envy, how to act with rulers, riches, drunkenness, listening to your parents. All these subjects, and more, are addressed in the thirty sayings. My favorite (at least today) is Saying 21 from Proverbs 24:3-4. “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
As I read these wonderful thirty sayings of the wise, I tried to pay attention to each one and think about how they play out in my life. Then I considered what proverbs I would include in a list of thirty sayings of the wise. There are so many great proverbs – in the Bible and in other things I’ve read.
As I considered what I might include in a list, I read several other people’s opinions. I found one blog that listed the 50 most important proverbs for people who are learning English. Reader’s Digest has a list of the 22 most beautiful proverbs about life. The one I like best on that list is a Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” And there is a list of the top 25 inspirational proverbs.
Most of the proverbs I would pick for my thirty sayings of the wise would be from the Bible. I have memorized lots of Bible verses over the years and think of them often in different situations. I try to make the Bible the standard for my life. Proverbs 6:21-22 says this about memorizing God’s word: “Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.” That is a wise saying.
Here are some other Bible verses that would make my list:
Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have life everlasting. John 3:16
A verse that always gets me moving: How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1
“A stitch in time saves nine” is kind of my motto. If you do things in a timely manner, you don’t have to do as much.
A similar line that I am often quoting is from “The Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It is the last stanza: “Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.”
And finally, a favorite proverb in a lighter vein from Burma Shave. “Don’t lose your head to gain a minute. You need your head. Your brains are in it.”
How about you? What proverb(s) would you want to be sure was included in thirty sayings of the wise? What proverb or Bible verse has been important in guiding your life?