Begin the New Year with the Proverbs Challenge

by Sharman J. Monroe

It’s the first day of a new year . . . a year we have never seen before and will never see again. Praise God for bringing us safely into 2019!

There is no better way to ring in a new year than with the Word of God. Since January has thirty-one days and the Book of Proverbs has thirty-one chapters, everything is ripe for a Proverbs Challenge!

During the month of January, AWIC hereby challenges you to read one chapter of Proverbs everyday. You can read in the morning or afternoon or evening. We don’t care when — just read one chapter. And after you read, come back to the AWIC blog for the day (see below) and post any revelations that came to you.

Now so this challenge is not one-sided, AWIC will post a devotional message based on a verse or verses from the chapter for the day. Today is January 1 so you and AWIC will read Proverbs 1. AWIC will post a devotional message on January 1 based on Proverbs 1 and you will post any revelations you received from Proverbs 1. Tomorrow is January 2nd, so AWIC will post a message based on Proverbs 2 and you will post any revelations you received from Proverbs 2. Got it? Okay, who’s in? Let’s go!!

Here is the devotional message for January 1st:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

                                                                                   Proverbs 1:7 (NJKV)

Many people read the word “fear” in this verse to mean “afraid of or frighten of”. They, therefore, are afraid of God just like they are afraid of an uncaged lion. They run from an uncaged lion because they are afraid the lion will eat them alive and they run from God because they are afraid He will punish and destroy them. But the word “fear” in this verse derives from the Hebrew word yirah, which means reverence. Reverence means “deep respect tinged with awe”. Think about a person you revere. It may be a parent, teacher, coach or a mentor. You trust that person and seek out him or her out when you need guidance and advice. When that person instructs you, you listen and heed the instruction.

This is the kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him. We are to revere Him and seek guidance and instruction in all things from Him just like you do with a person you revere. God, however, is the best source of guidance and knowledge because He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnipresent (everywhere at once). More importantly, He loves you unconditionally and put good plans in place for you before you were born. God sees you as His friend. Do you run from a friend? No, you trust your friend and share your life, the good and the bad, with him or her. God does not want you to run from Him either. He wants you to share your life, the good and the bad, with Him. He won’t be shocked or appalled or punish you for punishment’s sake. He will, however, correct you out of love to get you out of the mess and back on the good plan track.

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