March 6, 2013
READ: Proverbs 13:14
The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death (v.14).
In Luxor, an Egyptian city more than 400 miles south of Cairo, medical professionals pronounced Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi dead. He was only 28 years old, far too young to die of a heart attack. His family took his body home and (following Islamic burial rites) bathed Hamdi in order to prepare him for his funeral. The hospital sent a doctor to his family’s home to endorse the death certificate, but when the doctor arrived, she found the body was warm. Hamdi was alive. His mother fainted, but the Associated Press reporter happily concluded that with “the doctor’s assistance, both al-Nubi and his mother were awakened and soon were celebrating with guests.”
It’s a happy story whenever death is robbed of power. It’s a happy story any time life wins. Proverbs speaks of one repeated way death loses power: whenever wisdom speaks, death retreats. In Proverbs wisdom is truth that comes from the ultimate source of truth—God. And God, Scripture tells us, is also the ultimate Source of life. So as we hear and obey God’s truth (which is what Proverbs means by wise living), we move towards life. We move towards the “life-giving fountain” (Proverbs 13:14).
As we move towards life, we’re moving away from death. We discover that we’re automatically shunning those things that distract us from God’s provision and His care—from all of His good intentions for us. When we follow God’s wisdom, we’re pulled from “the snares of death” (v.14).
Proverbs repeats these ideas often, as does the rest of the Bible. “Evil people find death” (11:19), one proverb declares. Conversely, “the one who gets wisdom loves life” (19:8 NIV). To follow God is to pursue wisdom. To follow God is to run from death. —Winn Collier
› Joshua 24:1-31
Read Proverbs 14:27. What’s similar between this proverb and 13:14? What’s different? What does this distinction tell us?
Where in life do you need to say yes to God’s wisdom? Where do you need to say no to death?