FORT KNOX, Ky. — "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." ~ Proverbs 1:7 (ESV)
So began a Christian sermon series July 19 on the book of Proverbs delivered by Chaplain (Col.) James Boulware, the Fort Knox installation chaplain. He said with all the stressful events happening in the United States and around the world right now, Proverbs is a fitting topic.
“Things are really rough right now, and Proverbs is practical for everyday life,” said Boulware. “It speaks to very practical things that everyone ought to hear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not spiritual. The practicality of Proverbs is a spiritual application that God gives to our lives.”
Boulware said the book of Proverbs has been part of his own life for years. He remembered when his mother introduced him to the book as a young teenager.
“My mother came into my bedroom and handed it to me. She said, ‘Hey, I want you to read this,” said Boulware. “From that point on, I started reading the book of Proverbs. I’ve read it multiple times since then. It has helped me in my own personal life making decisions. I’m just thankful I don’t have a lot of regrets.”
Boulware said he saw the practical side of the book and the power behind it when he began preaching in various prisons.
“I realized that there were a lot of prisoners there that did not have a father influencing their life, who wasn’t home, so I started preaching Proverbs there,” he said. “It had a really great impact on their lives because the book of Proverbs is a father teaching lessons to his children — from a father to his son.”
Boulware explained that the lasting power of Proverbs comes from its source.
“It’s given from the creator of the universe, who is God,” said Boulware. “Part of what I taught Sunday was that there’s a lot of things out there that everyone wants to give advice about, and there’s a lot of books in the libraries on different things, but this doesn’t necessarily agree with or contradict those things. It is God’s design for our lives on how to live.”
Boulware said he teaches the series a little differently than many other leaders. Rather than focusing on studying the book chapter-by-chapter, he breaks it down into topics.
The first topic, for instance, was on starting with God and his wisdom.
“It’s important to get this foundation of commitment to see Proverbs as the one source of guidance for one’s life as opposed to seeing it as just another source,” said Boulware. “This is where God wants us to go; this is how he wants us to live our lives.”
Besides explaining Proverbs 1:7, Boulware also shared with the congregation about Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).
“When I start talking about money, when I start talking about family, raising your children directly out of the book of Proverbs, this speaks to how we can veer off the road of life,” said Boulware. “Let’s say someone is showing me how to get to Louisville and they draw out a map for me, so I start going to Louisville. Then I stop and get gas. While there, I’m telling somebody, ‘Oh, I’m going to Louisville.’ The next thing you know, this guy is saying, ‘No no no! This isn’t the best way.’ So I decide to take his direction.
“This is how it is with Proverbs. You listen and say, ‘This is really good,’ but then down the road you hear something counter to it. But this is God’s guidance for our lives, and we have to trust that.”
The next topic will be on anger, followed by possible topics on taming the tongue, money issues, family life, purity in marriage and raising children. Where it ends is yet to be determined.
“I haven’t decided how long I’m going to be preaching through this series,” said Boulware.
While this isn’t his first time teaching the series, Boulware said it’s also unlikely to be his last because it fits perfectly within the mission set of the chaplaincy.
“This is one of our efforts,” said Boulware — “to support military families and build resiliency in them.”
Editor’s Note: Boulware will be preaching on a different topic in the contemporary service at Pritchard Place Chapel each Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. The chapel is located in Building 4769, 227 8th Armored Division Dr. For those who prefer to practice social distancing can watch the service live on the Chapel Next Facebook site HERE.