Wisdom From An Imprisoned Youth

[Written by my daughter; lightly edited and footnoted by me.]

Save-ya Willsong [I have changed my daughter’s name to protect our anonymity. It is close to the name I have given her. Her name means ‘Savior’; we have always called her ****** the save-ya. Becoming her mother saved me from a life not meant for me. Her name is no coincidence I’m certain.]
Ma Dukes [This is what she calls me.]
Day 1

The Book of Proverbs from the Eyes of a Sneaky Cheating Liar [*eye-roll* guilt trips of the wayfaring teenager. Lol!]

“We desperately need the wisdom of Proverbs because we live in a world deeply affected by sin, and we ourselves have been contaminated and corrupted by sin.” Sin is what makes us human, what separates us from God. Since the beginning of time, we have been sinners. Adam and Eve literally had one task instead, they blatantly disobeyed God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The themes of wisdom and knowledge repeatedly surface in Proverbs.

In Proverbs 1:1 it very clearly outlines the simplicity of gaining wisdom. One must seek God in everything. Simple right? When King Solomon was young he was approached by God and told to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon knew that in order to rule the nation of Israel, he would need to have wisdom. Can you guess what Solomon asked God to give him? Wisdom. Bingo! And if you can imagine, God granted wisdom to Solomon. All Solomon did was seek out God before anything else, which is why he was so successful. [Solomon would also come to forsake God. But yes, for all intents and purposes, his success directly correlates to his faith and trust in God.]

In Proverbs 1:2-7 it talks about the enticement of sinners. Obviously, sinners are very easily enticed. Remember when I said the key to wisdom is very simple? Well yes, and no. The truth is, there is more to wisdom than just seeking out God. One can be intelligent and a fool, because to be intelligent is not to be wise. Here is the key to wisdom according to the book of Proverbs: wisdom comes from discipline, humility to receive instruction, and the ability to discern between good and evil. [This was the one thing I’d hoped she would gain from reading the book of Proverbs! Thank you God. It is also a sin for us as parents not to discipline our children. Without discipline do we even love them?] “ Foolishness is not harmless; Foolishness is sinful.” Discipline, humility, and discernment are three steps to becoming wise, but ultimately the most important step is to fear the Lord.

I am nothing but a dumb teenager. I think my mom doesn’t understand how I feel, but in reality, I am a spitting image of her. She has lived, and she does in fact understand. I want nothing more than to be an adult, to be on my own, the truth is I am not ready, and my mom knows that. She told me if I want to find out the hard way, then by all means to go and do that. I don’t think I want to find out the hard way for real. All she is trying to do is save me from her fate. To quote rappers Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, “We are just young and wild and free.” This is how teenagers think, all of them. I know this, my mom knows this. The truth is that this is a selfish and harmful mentality, because eventually we must grow up and face the real world. To quote some more music, Khalid says, “We’re young, dumb, broke high school kids.” This quote is the more true of the two. [Quoting rappers! She’s definitely my kid…]

I am 17, stupid, and definitely broke. A true fool indeed. I know I am not wise, and probably nowhere near wise, but I won’t get very far with my childlike mentality. So, to my mom, I am sorry. Sorry for not listening to you. I know you don’t ask much of me, and if I can’t drop the teenage facade, I may never walk with God. I admire you because you are the most God-fearing person I know. I have come closer to God because of you, and I hope I can do the things I need to, to shed the foolishness I carry, and step into wisdom. [I did not pay her to say this.]

Now everything I’ve just written plays into what I have learned reading the book of Proverbs. The whole book is essentially Solomon training his son in the teaching of wisdom and the law. There is a whole chapter called “Parental Counsel,” although he should’ve called the whole book that. [Facts. Heavenly Father Counsel. That is the book of Proverbs] My mom can only guide me so far though, because in chapter 9 it says “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” [Amen. Amen. Amen.] Wisdom gives access to the tree of life, immortality. It is not hard to live a long life, in fact it is quite simple. Proverbs is a great book to structure your way of living because it’s the secret to living life correctly.

In Proverbs10:21 it says “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.” To be selfless and to do right, will get you a lot further than to be selfish and wrong.

I know that you didn’t miss the young, dumb, and broke part, but money isn’t everything. “ People gain the world and lose their soul.” In Proverbs 11:1-4, it talks about how money can pervert the human justice system, but in the end it will not subvert final judgment. [Amen. Amen. Amen.] God’s wisdom and human wisdom are not the same. Human wisdom most often contrasts God’s wisdom. Human wisdom would tell you that to be stingy with your wealth, would be a good way to keep it. God’s wisdom would say that it will enrich a person to give their wealth away. “Foolishness is trusting in wealth rather than trusting in God.” [It is important to remember, wealth comes from God.]

The wisdom in the book of Proverbs is key to living righteously in all aspects of life. Money, temptations, marriage, the caring of animals, parental guidance, children; it’s all in there. It all goes back to Eden. Eve decided that she was more wise than God, and sin was born. The effects of Eve’s decision were disastrous, but not just for herself, for all of mankind. It goes to show that our actions and how we live our lives plays a bigger part in the greater good. All we have to do is live by God, for God, and everything could be so simple. To conclude, the wisdom of Proverbs is the wisdom of God, and to be wise and righteous is to live as God intended.


Save-ya Willsong
Ma Dukes
Day 2
02 Feb 24

Sneaky Cheating Liar Reads Nehemiah [*eye-roll*]

It is day two of being on house arrest. Day two of reading the Bible and writing what I have learned. Today I read the book of Nehemiah.

The book of Nehemiah picks up about fifteen years after his predecessor, Ezra, in the year 445 BC. Nehemiah first appears as a cup-bearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes. The book of Nehemiah contains personal records of events occurring over 13 years in Jerusalem. Nehemiah would go on to rebuild the city’s walls, thus restoring order.

Nehemiah lives in Susa, the winter resort to the Persians. It is located about 225 miles east of Babylon. When the king is introduced to Nehemiah, he hears about the state of Jerusalem from either his biological brother, or a fellow Jew. The news is not good. Jerusalem is dilapidated and destroyed, the city’s wall is broken, and its gates were destroyed by fire. Artaxerxes, the king of Jerusalem, was suspicious of the Jews, which is why the rebuilding of the wall was halted.

Nehemiah is concerned for the state of his people and Jerusalem, but he is at a crossroads because of how Artaxerxes feels. What does Nehemiah do? He turns to prayer. Praying was the first thing Nehemiah did, not the last. [Take note.] Many people do not pray until they are in deep, but Nehemiah was wise. This ties into what I learned in Proverbs, just like Solomon, all Nehemiah had to do was consult God FIRST. Nehemiah prayed for many days and many nights, which means God did not answer his prayer immediately. This is a problem we face when turning to prayer. [The expectation of instant gratification is a killer of faith.] We think that because we prayed one time we deserve to have our prayer answered right then and there. [We also assume that just because we prayed God will give us what we prayed for. Sometimes the answer that we seek in prayer is no. To only accept yes as an answer from God when turning to Him in prayer defies the notion of trust. We are not entitled even to the air that we breathe, let alone a ‘yes’ to every prayer we pray.] God moves at his own speed, and we must be patient, but nonetheless, our prayers have not gone unheard. Point Blank we are sinners, there is nothing we can do about this.

Nehemiah knew this when he was praying to God. In Nehemiah 1:5-11, we read Nehemiah’s prayer to God, and it serves as a great lesson as to how we should pray in our everyday lives. In his prayer, Nehemiah confesses on behalf of his people; the reason Jerusalem is in a state of peril is because of sin. God’s people broke God’s Laws.

Nehemiah is a cup-bearer to the King, Artaxerxes. A cup-bearer is tasked with the well-reports of their masters kingdom, while serving the best wine! Because of the state that Jerusalem is in, Nehemiah has deep sadness about him, a sadness one cannot hide no matter how hard they try.

The King noticed Nehemiah’s sadness and inquired about it. Nehemiah asked the king to send him to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. There is tension between Nehemiah and the king, so what does Nehemiah do? He prays to God. Nehemiah gives the king a definite plan and timeline. He asked the king for letters so that he could pass through until he came to Judah. A letter to Asaph, the keeper of the forest, so he may have timber. It took Nehemiah as much as four months, and he traveled almost one thousand miles to reach Jerusalem. He arrived at night, with a few men that had traveled with him.

Nehemiah was a leader, leadership being a common theme in the book of Nehemiah. After inspecting the wall, he gathers a team to rebuild not only the wall but all of Jerusalem. The reason Nehemiah was successful in everything he did, was because just like Solomon, he consulted God. Nehemiah knew that only God was all powerful, and only the power of God could restore Jerusalem.

Building the wall did not come without its challenges. Rebuilding also made many people upset. Satan hates when God’s people come together to do God’s work, and so enters Sanballat. Sanballat is Satan’s henchman and he was furious at the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. He mocked and doubted the Jews, making the task more difficult than ever. Half of the Jews worked on this project, while the other half kept watch for enemies.

Six months after Nehemiah had come to Jerusalem, he oversaw the completion of the wall. The project was no easy task. There were lots of obstacles, including nearly dying; but the wall was finished because God was with His people. [Once the plans got underway it actually only took 52 days to rebuild the most destroyed parts of the wall. A testament to how quickly possibility is achieved with God’s Hand.]

In chapter 9, the people confess their sin. On This day, they fasted, repented, and recommitted. They read scripture for several hours, as the Word of God frees us of sin.

The lessons to be learned from reading the book of Nehemiah are seemingly obvious. The ability to call on God along with the power of prayer will get you very far. Take Nehemiah, who was a cupbearer to King Artaxesxes. He prayed and prayed and prayed, and because of his prayer, he was able to help a nation he loved. Nehemiah used the wisdom of God to lead a nation to rebuild. Throughout the six months it took to build the wall back up, Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem faced many hardships. Two more lessons to take away from this book are perseverance and trust. The ability to trust God and the ability to persevere despite Satan being on your back, is no small task. [To quote Florence and the Machine, “It’s hard to dance when the devil is on your back…Shake it off.”] The Jews could have easily given up when Sanballat came, but instead, they persevered. They delegated tasks of keeping watch and building the wall, and because they were doing God’s work and because they knew God had their back, they restored Jerusalem.


Save-ya Willsong
Ma dukes
Day 3
03 Feb 24

Third Installation of Save-ya Reads the Bible

In this third installation, I will be reading the book of Ezekiel. On what has felt like the shortest of the three days, coincidentally. I will be reading the longest of the three books I have been tasked with. The book of Ezekiel is mostly autobiographical and his main message is that even when people are out of control, God is still in control. [Amen. Amen. Amen.] In this installation, I have dropped my ego and bitterness and will be changing the titles, no more ‘sneaky cheating liar…’.

The book of Ezekiel is a highly vivid, imaginative read. It is a mixture of thrilling and frightening, but the message of hope is strong.

Ezekiel was born in 623 BC and nothing is known about his private or professional life other than his call to ministry. Ezekiel had a wife, but she died just before the fall of Jerusalem. The name Ezekiel means “ God strengthens,” which is quite fitting, as a common theme in this book is God’s strength. Ezekiel’s accounts take place over a twenty-two year period, in which he carried out his prophetic ministry.

The book consists of four sections. Chapters 1-24 detail prophecies of impending judgment on the people of Judah for their persistent disobedience to the Lord. Chapters 25-32 detail judgment against foreign nations of the ancient Near East. Chapters 33-39 detail the future restoration of Judah. And finally, Chapters 40-48 detail Ezekiel’s vision of a new temple and new land. [I’m thinking she did a little too much googling for this book.. But I will let it slide.]

In chapter 1, Ezekiel has a vision of the heavens. The vision is a taste of the glory of God on the throne. In verses 5-9 a general description of four creatures that Ezekiel saw in his vision. The creatures were described as having human form. They had four faces and four wings. They had straight legs and hoof feet. They had a gleam to them that was like unfinished bronze. Under their wings were the hands of a human. Their faces did not turn when they moved. In verse 10 we get a description of what their faces looked like. The creatures had the faces of men. On the right side of the face, was the face of the lion, on the left was the face of a bull. All four had the face of an eagle. The four faces on the creatures signify the omnipresence of God. Ezekiel’s vision is that of divine beings in the presence of God on his throne. The main thing to come out of Ezekiel’s vision is that God alone is God. God is sovereign, God is holy, God is light.

A recurring theme in this book, starting in the very first chapter, is the sovereignty and the holiness of God. In Ezekiel’s visions, Ezekiel describes in great detail, the overwhelming and radiant presence of God. The manifestations portrayed throughout the book highlight the authority of God. It all ties into the lessons I’ve learned in Nehemiah and Proverbs. God is God, period. No one is above God and no being has the power God has. God is very intentional in His actions, and everything that happens in God’s land, happens for a reason.

Another theme we see in the book of Ezekiel is the consequences of sin and disobedience. The people of Israel faced exile as a result of their continuous rebellion. In Chapter 37, Ezekiel once again has a vision, but this vision is not that of rainbows and light. God transports Ezekiel to a valley full of human bones. God asks Ezekiel if the bones can live. To anyone untrained, one would say, no, the bones cannot live. [The Valley of Dry Bones is one of my most favorite prophetic visions spoken in the Bible. It reminds me of the Nintendo game Mario.] Ezekiel, however, knows the power of God, and he knows that all things are possible with God. The message of the bones serves as a reminder of spiritual desolation and the consequences of turning away from God. But what does God do in Chapter 37? He resurrected the bones in the valley. The resurrection serves as a beacon of hope in a time of despair. The power of hope and the power of God are also recurring themes in the book of Ezekiel.

The last eight chapters of this book detail the restoration of the temple as envisioned by the prophet Ezekiel. The temple was built outside Jerusalem, and designed to keep out those who might contaminate the holy place in which Yahweh will dwell. Ezekiel is a Prophet. He was given visions from God and he taught people about God. It is because of God that he was able to get so far. His life did not come without hardships. But it is because of his hardships he was so good at ministry. Ezekiel had nothing to lose, which is why he had full trust in God. While I don’t know what it’s like to lose a wife, I do know there is a lesson to be learned. I don’t have much to lose anymore either. The life I once lived, I live no more, so what better time to put my full trust into God than when I am at rock bottom. The only reason that not only Ezekiel, but Nehemiah and Solomon got as they did was because of God. In every book there are stories of sin and disobedience but also forgiveness and restoration on God’s part. Without God, these three would not have made it half as far.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!

Talk soon.