The Book of Proverbs contains statements of well-established perfect truth. What does this mean? It means that far beyond any of the so claimed merits of asking a Dear Abby or searching Google, Proverbs provides the most universal yet most personal purposes, insights, and answers for living life as God intends by the author of life Himself– God. But didn’t Solomon write it? Yes, Solomon penned a large portion of the lessons in the Book of Proverbs. Here’s a question to consider: who was his Teacher? It is made evident from the beginning chapter and becomes even more so throughout the book that the Teacher of this well-established perfect truth is God.
Would you like to join me as I delve into the Book of Proverbs this summer? I know that there is so much depth to the truths of Proverbs and my understanding barely scratches the surface, but my prayer is that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give [us] the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [we] may know Him better” (Ephesians 1:17, NIV84). That’s the entire purpose of life, isn’t it? To know the Lord Jesus Christ better? And in more than a I-know-OF-or-ABOUT-Him kind of way but in an intimate and heartfelt I-know-Him-and-He-knows-me kind of way?
That said, day one is Proverbs 1:1-7…
(1) THE PROVERBS OF SOLOMON SON OF DAVID, KING OF ISRAEL: (2) FOR ATTAINING WISDOM AND DISCIPLINE; FOR UNDERSTANDING WORDS OF INSIGHT; (3) FOR ACQUIRING A DISCIPLINED AND PRUDENT LIFE, DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST AND FAIR; (4) FOR GIVING PRUDENCE TO THE SIMPLE, KNOWLEDGE AND DISCRETION TO THE YOUNG– (5) LET THE WISE LISTEN AND ADD TO THEIR LEARNING, AND LET THE DISCERNING GET GUIDANCE– (6) FOR UNDERSTANDING PROVERBS AND PARABLES, THE SAYINGS AND RIDDLES OF THE WISE. (7) THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE, BUT FOOLS DESPISE WISDOM AND DISCIPLINE.
PROVERBS 1:1-7. NIV84
Attaining discipline and acquiring a disciplined life. Discipline is a moral quality of self-control. Self-control necessitates an intentionalness. Having self-control isn’t a “whoops, I just passed up that box of Krispy Kremes on accident, I wasn’t meaning to not take one for any reason, it just happened.” Nope, exercising self-control is an ongoing chain of intentional decisions.
Acquiring a prudent life and giving prudence to the simple. Prudence is more than the capacity for understanding. It is the discernment in managing affairs and doing so deliberately. Starting to sound like discipline and prudence naturally go hand in hand? Exercising prudence necessitates discretion with deliberateness.
What is this showing us? Wisdom and understanding are thoughtfully and purposively attained and acquired. Even so, this is nothing to be prideful about.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning. “Listen” and “add” imply that there is a humility that comes along with true wisdom. Learn and never stop learning: i.e. always have a teachable attitude.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is the respect toward a superior; again, emphasizing a humbleness. “The fear of the Lord” equally implies a submission, a state of worship in recognizing the source of wisdom– God alone.
Though wisdom and understanding are thoughtfully and purposively attained and acquired, all is naught without the acknowledgement that the attainment and acquisition of true wisdom cannot be conjured or counterfeited because it it comes from God. It is He who gives liberally to those who lack wisdom (James 1:4).
Just like salvation, it’s all about the attitude of the heart. It’s a broken and contrite heart that God will not despise (Psalm 51:17). What do you mean “broken” and “contrite”? An attitude of selflessness, being penitent and devoid of pride– recognizing our insufficiency and His sufficiency. Wisdom starts with God, it doesn’t exist apart from Him.
God, we come to You in the name of Jesus Christ. We ask that you would help each of us to have a repentant and undivided heart so that we might walk in Your truth and grow in Your wisdom to know You better. We acknowledge our insufficiency and know full well that You are sufficient– we lack wisdom, so we are coming to You, the source of wisdom, to ask You for wisdom. In Your grace and Your mercy, please help us to be intentional, deliberate, and humble about seeking Your kingdom and righteousness.
- Agur and Lemuel also contributed to the later portions of Proverbs.
- If you’ve been following this blog long enough (And I apologize for the lengthy intermission, SORRY!), you’ll know that I reference various translations of the Bible. I just find that referencing various translations (along with lexicons and such) adds to my understanding of the scriptures within context and is good practice in general.
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