Proverbs 1 (9-26-20)
Throughout the year, as we study the spiritual disciplines, we will also study the Proverbs.
An introduction to Proverbs:
Every culture on the planet has expressions that convey wisdom in short, pithy forms. In English, for example, we have several proverbial sayings. One of the more well-known is the proverb, “Think before you act.” This statement cautions us to be careful and to consider all we know about a situation before just jumping into it. In the book of Proverbs, we have a wonderful collection of God-inspired words of wisdom for us to live by.
The title in the Hebrew Bible is “The Proverbs of Solomon” (1:1). The book of Proverbs pulls together 513 of the over 3,000 proverbs pondered by Solomon (1 Kings 4:32; Ecclesiastes 12:9). The word “proverb” means “to be like.” Therefore, Proverbs is a book of comparisons between common, concrete images and life’s most profound truths. Proverbs are simple, moral statements or illustrations that highlight and teach fundamental realities about life.
Solomon was seriously committed to God’s wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:8–12), and he offered pithy sayings designed to make men contemplate important aspects of life.
I. Man’s Relationship to God
- His trust (Proverbs 22:19)
- His humility (Proverbs 3:34)
- His fear of God (Proverbs 1:7)
- His righteousness (Proverbs 10:25)
- His sin (Proverbs 28:13)
- His obedience (Proverbs 6:23)
- Facing reward (Proverbs 12:28)
- Facing tests (Proverbs 17:3)
- Facing blessing (Proverbs 10:22)
- Facing death (Proverbs 15:11)
II. Man’s Relationship to Himself
- His character (Proverbs 20:11)
- His wisdom (Proverbs 1:5)
- His foolishness (Proverbs 26:10,11)
- His speech (Proverbs 18:21)
- His self-control (Proverbs 6:9-11)
- His kindness (Proverbs 3:3)
- His wealth (Proverbs 11:4)
- His pride (Proverbs 27:1)
- His anger (Proverbs 29:11)
- His laziness (Proverbs 13:4)
III. Man’s Relationship to Others
- His love (Proverbs 8:17)
- His friends (Proverbs 17:17)
- His enemies (Proverbs 19:27)
- His truthfulness (Proverbs 23:23)
- His gossip (Proverbs 20:19)
- As a father (Proverbs 20:7; 31:2-9)
- As a wife/mother (Proverbs 31:10-31)
- As children (Proverbs 3:1-3)
- In educating children (Proverbs 4:1-4)
- In disciplining children (Proverbs 22:6)
The wisdom literature we read in Proverbs is part of the whole of Old Testament truth; the priest gave the law, the prophet gave a word from the Lord, and the sage, or wise man, gave his wise counsel (Jeremiah 18:18; Ezekiel 7:26). In Proverbs, Solomon “the sage” gives insight into the everyday issues of life.Though it is practical, Proverbs is not superficial nor external, because it contains moral and ethical elements guiding us to upright living, which is the result of a right relationship with God.
The two major themes, which are interwoven and overlap throughout Proverbs, are wisdom and folly. Wisdom, which includes knowledge, understanding, instruction, discretion, and obedience, is built on the fear of the Lord and the word of God. Folly is everything that is the opposite of wisdom. I pray that as you study the Proverbs throughout this year of our study of the spiritual disciplines, you are blessed to grow in wisdom and practical, everyday practices that honor God and brighten your testimony of Christ.
In chapter one of Proverbs, we are given the prologue for the entire book (vv. 1-7) and then some great wisdom to work with, right out of the gate.
Proverbs 1:1-4 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth
Do you long to know wisdom and insight so you can deal wisely, righteously, and justly with the life God has entrusted to you? Solomon opens with a proclamation of his deep desire to be wise and thereby live the best life he can for the Lord.
Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance
Do you make it a priority to listen, “increase in learning, and obtain guidance”? This is a huge one. If we do not take in information through listening to others, learning, and seeking guidance, we cannot grow in wisdom. It is a simple cause-and-effect formula of life. You don’t know what you don’t know. So, what are you doing to listen, learn, and seek counsel? Is this something you do flippantly or purposefully? Is this something you schedule and make a priority? Are God’s word, godly preachers, and godly leaders a major part of what you are listening to and seeking? If not, you can gain all the wisdom in the world and still be without the knowledge and wisdom that is eternal life with God.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
True knowledge is a right view of God—a right fear and respect for who He is. The biggest enemy we are up against in this life is a belief that we are bigger than we are, and God is smaller than He is. True knowledge makes war with this line of thinking and helps us have a right fear and admonition of the Lord. The simplest truth about a fool is that he despises or avoids wisdom and instruction. Don’t be a fool. Seek to grow and mature by learning and listening to godly truth.
Wise Words for the Beginning Season of Life
Proverbs 1:8-9 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Solomon highlights one of the central truths of God’s creation. He designed children to listen to and obey their parents. God’s wise design for the forming of a human being is the instruction and counsel of parents. Unfortunately, this is something that our modern society takes all too lightly—both by the parents charged by God to instruct and raise their children in the Lord and by children who are given way too much room to disrespect and disobey their parents. May we take this most-central component of life to heart, and heed God’s design for parents to take seriously the investment into the shaping, training, disciplining, and loving of their children. May our children, as well, value the God-ordained source of authority in their lives—their parents.
In Proverbs 1:10-19, Solomon gives a more specific counsel for children to take seriously the warnings of their parents, as he speaks of the life-danger of following fleshly people into sinful activity and selfish gain. Oh, how our flesh loves to get what it wants and is willing to take it many times despite the cost. This is not only good counsel for our youth but for all of us. Who are you following, listening to, and longing to be like or around? The path that follows the sinful leads to sin and demise. Let us follow the righteous, the wise and the godly, and live lives that honor God and make much of His holy name!
I am praying for your journey ahead. The days the Lord will entrust to you are to be taken seriously. The life and opportunity God has given you is a great gift. What are you doing with it? Are you just punching your days, or are you growing and maturing in the Lord so that your testimony and opportunity to live for Him will be eternally glorifying of the one, true King?
Let us be wise in God.
Let us study, listen, and grow so that we can impart God-honoring wisdom to those He puts in our path!
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC