The beginning is a very good place to start.

I set my alarm last night. I don't have a horrible morning routine, except that I take forever to actually hit my feet on the floor. I thought an alarm might help. Day 1 - it did. It usually does day one, though, right? But I wont look for myself to fall, I'll just keep on, knowing some days will be harder.

For my Black Belt test we are required to read through Proverbs and share what we learn about wisdom. I laugh a little at this prospect, but really I should have plenty to share when the time comes. Did you know Proverbs is broken down into approximately 5 sections? (I say approximately because (of course) there is some disagreement on the divisions.)

1-9: Intro to Wisdom
10-24: Proverbs of Solomon
25-29: Proverbs of Solomon copied
30: Words of Agur
31: Words of Lemuel

I'll be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to this study because so often it seems the proverbs do NOT speak truth. There's always an exception. I struggled with this. 

Let's take Proverbs 12:21 "No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble." I think all of us can think of someone who was righteous and had harm in their life, or who was wicked and seemed to live a charmed life. It's not just in the movies, it happens. So I struggled.

I didn't want to dig too deeply into these individual proverbs, so I stuck with the first nine chapters originally. As my study progressed I learned more; enough that it will take a few days to plow through here. I'm hoping as I put my thoughts here that I will be able to work out what I will say at my test.

In the general overview of Proverbs I found one book that stated something, however, which had me nodding my head furiously: "proverbs are by nature generalizations." And last week I had a conversation that brought the importance of these generalizations home.

Proverbs 22:6 says "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Not all children do this. That's why there are Prodigals. Sometimes no matter how we are raised we choose and make our own decisions when we are old, and sometimes those decisions are not in alignment with how we are raised. But what's a parent to do? Do you just give up while they are in their cradle? Heck no.

We raise our children with the hopes that what we teach them will make a difference because we don't want them to have to fall to the same mistakes we did. And that is the purpose of Proverbs. That's what it's all about wrapped up in a nutshell. Those who came before us learned lessons they want to pass on. Not because we wont make mistakes, but they hope they can save us from one or two if we listen to them. Not because these are promises, but because generally speaking if you make these choices you will see the results they speak of.

It's like setting my alarm this morning. It doesn't assure me of a good day, a good morning, or joy. But (generally speaking) when I rise early to greet the day, the day greets me back with a kiss. 

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