As you may be noticing, many of my writings focus on Sacred Scripture. There are several reasons for this; one being this is where the focus of my study was directed and even more important the Bible is God’s Word to us. It reveals his story and directs our lives as his disciples.
For many years I have kept a quotation journal writing down thoughts and statements that guide me in my daily life and on my spiritual journey. I also discovered that God, in his infinite wisdom, provided me with a complete book that not only enhanced my journal but challenged me with thoughts and sayings that touched every area of my life.
This is the Book of Proverbs, one of the several biblical books known as Wisdom literature. I pray for the gift of wisdom on a daily basis, a much needed gift when you are the matriarch of a large family, and I believe that I am blessed to a limited degree with this gift, of course my age and white hair enhance this perception.
The second verse from Proverbs, “that men may appreciate wisdom and discipline,” stands out as I reflect on all the reading and praying I have done with this book over the years. I believe we can learn a greater appreciation for the discipline needed to attain wisdom. Proverbs offers a collection of thought- provoking statements that we can use as a guidebook into the hidden truths within the heart. I believe the first step in attempting to conform my life to being a disciple of Christ is to look within myself and identify and name those attitudes and sins that are a block to my relationship with God and others.
This is a very difficult thing to do since my natural inclination is to deny the negative within me and so it is easy to avoid situations and thoughts that will bring these to my attention. The Book of Proverbs provides an invaluable resource to aid in searching out these inner sins and allowing God to enter my consciousness and heal those parts within that are blocking His grace.
Although I prayed with sacred Scripture for many years, it was not until I began a comprehensive study of Scripture that I even noticed the wealth and beauty that is contained in the Book of Proverbs. Our professor told us to select one verse from Proverbs and carry this line around with us for an entire week. The verse I selected was Proverb 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely. “
Wow, of all the verses available to choose, this one hit closest to home. Every day that week, I prayed this verse and listened as God guided me to new depths of understanding about how to trust in Him. I felt as though I discovered a treasure hidden deep within a box containing many other gifts. Over the years I continue to choose a proverb a week and I continue to look forward to discovering many layers of truth that I know are waiting for me.
How familiar are you with the book of Proverbs or any of the other books of wisdom literature contained in the Hebrew Scriptures? Many people shy away from this part of the Bible preferring the Gospels and letters. This Lent, and any day of the year, I encourage you to discover the beauty of these ancient words of God.
Ebner, a spiritual director, is a member of St. Jude the Apostle Parish, in Lewes.