Every waking moment of our lives, we operate from one of two viewpoints: human or divine. I sometimes refer to these as the horizontal perspective and the vertical perspective. Humanity remains willfully and stubbornly limited to the horizontal. We jealously guard our autonomy from heaven: we much prefer to think, maintain our attitudes, and conduct our lives independent of our Maker. Consequently, human opinions influence us more than God’s commands and principles. We base our choices on what’s best for ourselves and our loved ones (maybe) without much regard for the long-term moral implications. Horizontal solutions give us the illusion of greater security and pleasure, so we tend to either reject or ignore vertical remedies to our challenges. For example, when under the gun of some deadline, we desperately search for a tangible way out rather than heed God’s counsel to trust Him. Instead of waiting on our Lord to solve our dilemma in His own way and in His own time, we usually step in and begin manipulating a quick, painless escape.
Because divine wisdom fills the book of Proverbs, we can anticipate a vertical perspective even though the grind of having a strictly human viewpoint comes so naturally. This vertical wisdom includes practical guidance to help us live wisely in the horizontal dimension. Therefore, the more we pore over the sayings in Scripture, the more oil we apply to the daily grind. Without a doubt, the wisdom of Solomon and other Hebrew sages offers the most practical, down-to-earth instruction in all the Bible. The entire book of thirty-one chapters is filled with capsules of truth, often in the form of a short, pithy maxim, to help us face and even rise above the daily grinds of life. These sayings convey specific truth in such a pointed and easy-to-understand manner that we will have little difficulty grasping the message.
Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Proverbs: Insights for the Daily Grind (New York, NY: Worthy Books, 2012).
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