“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
Proverbs 24:27 (KJV)
How are you? Are you a planner? Some people like to plan and some people do not. However, we are often called to plan. Let’s look at Proverbs 24:27 for an example. It seems to be instruction on literally making a house, which it could possibly be. Yet, I believe it is good advice for many situations.
The first part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV) says, “Prepare thy work without”. In a physical sense, like in building a house, you have to do some of the preparations before you can even bring the materials to the home site. You have to cut the trees, mill the lumber, make the floor plans, and things like that before you can even think about starting to actually build a house. (We may not cut down our own trees and mill our own wood any more, but it still fits.)
We can look at it in a spiritual and emotional way as well. We often have dreams and ideas that we find desirable. Sometimes, though, we leap before we look. Before we get all excited to the point of really, really wanting something, it is good to do some thinking and some research. Once we internalize things and feel passionate about it, we often do not want to turn back or listen to reason. We just want it.
If we look at the second part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV), it says, “and make it fit for thyself in the field…”. In our house building experience, that is in keeping with milling, cutting, and planing the lumber before you bring it to the house site.
There are reasons not to bring it to the house site first. There are practical reasons, such as it belongs at the mill or you don’t want to spend extra gas money bringing to the house and then taking it to the lumber mill. You may also not want the lumber under foot while you are digging and pouring the foundation.
The same considerations can be made in our spiritual and emotional examples. For example, we want to keep things in their place. We want to keep work things at work and home things at home and not let stress build up between them. We can also think about what fits for our life and our situation at the moment. Just because someone else does it one way, doesn’t mean that it is the way we need to go. Our “fit” might not be the same as someone else’s “fit”. This is the same for physical fit, emotional fit, financial fit, spiritual fit, social fit, time fit, talent fit, and other kinds of “fit”. So, before we take on things we may really want to do or are asked to do by others, we need to consider our “fit” for it.
Now, let’s look at the third part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV). It says, “…and afterwards build thine house.” Does this sound a little like, “don’t put the cart before the horse”? Or, maybe it sounds like, “There is a time and place for everything.” All these verses are not only good advice, but biblically based, which is what we want in our life.
Whether we are building a house or reading God’s Word, or anything in between, we can heed the words in Proverbs 24:27. We talked about the building of the house and that we need to research what it entails, make the plans, draft the floor plan, and get the supplies ready, before we even start to build the house. It is the same with reading God’s Word. We need to sit quietly, prepare our hearts, make sure we have time to read, and then read, study, and pray God’s Word. It is then, that we are ready to internalize it and accept God’s gift of making it a reality in our life.
Maybe that last part is the point when we ask God for something that seems good, but we don’t seem to get it. We may “WANT” something, but God may know that we are not ready to accept His gift of it. We may need to “prepare our work without and make it fit for ourselves in the field” first.
Before I close, I want to consider another way we can think of these words. We know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s consider that as “our house”. Wholesome food is grown in the garden and not in a laboratory. We prepare a field for gardening and make sure the soil is fertile. We plant the seeds and work the gardens. We also harvest the food and wash it, before we end up eating it so it can nourish us. We can’t eat it before we do all the other things and we shouldn’t eat it, if it isn’t from God, like the wholesome foods from a garden. After all, the verse doesn’t say, “prepare it in a laboratory”.
I don’t know. It might be a reach to look at it in this way. However, I pray before I write and God brought the thought to my mind. I think it can fit. Does it “fit” for you?
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father and for loving us the way you do. Thank you for giving us guidance in the way we should live. Help us to take time to plan things out, research, and set a firm foundation, before we internalize it and go forward with our plans. You know what is a “fit” for us and when, but help us to lean on you and to follow YOUR plan instead of our own in your timing. Help us to ready ourselves to receive and accept your gifts, instead of just getting impatient if we don’t get what we want right away. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 24:27 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 24:27 mean to me?
*What does “prepare thy work without” mean to me?
*What does “and make it fit for thyself in the field” mean to me?
*What is God trying to teach me with Proverbs 24:27?
*How can I better live my life to heed the words in Proverbs 24:27?
Now, it is your turn.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.