The internet is full of quick resources and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. You can find help on literally anything on-the-go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is is just click-bait and sensationalism.
Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Let’s see what Proverbs 1 has to say.
Let’s journey through Proverbs!
Take a journey with me through this book of practical Proverbs.
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
Purpose and Theme
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are 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 instruction.
Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Perspective changes as we experience life
The way we see the world changes as we get older. I don’t think the same way I did when I was a child. Thankfully.
When we’re eight or nine, the whole point of being alive is tolerating school, then going home to play. Pretty simple really. That’s fine if you’re eight or nine. The problem is that if we never get out of that way of thinking, and we still feel that way when we’re 20 or 30, that’s when bad things happen.
As we grow, our way of seeing the world has to grow. The first set of Proverbs asks us to realize that God is wise and if we respect that, we’ll begin to gain wisdom. The way some of us think – that you get what you can, no matter what, even sometimes to the point of violence (Proverbs 1:10-12) – is destructive and dangerous.
Proverbs will talk a lot about “fools” – we start in 1:7 where it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” To respect the fact that God actually knows what He’s doing, and that to listen to Him and do what He teaches us is the best idea in the world. To do something different, well, not so great.
Imagine someone tells us that there’s a cheque waiting for us for R1 million. It’s ours for the taking, in a bank 70 miles away. The catch is that we have to walk to the bank. My guess is that we’d figure out a way to walk that far. We’d crawl, struggle, stumble, whatever it took.
Is God’s wisdom uncomfortable
Solomon is describing the fool as someone who doesn’t think it’s worth it. Maybe God’s wisdom will be uncomfortable because it’s different. Maybe we’ll have to give something up to follow God’s wisdom. The question is this: Is it worth it?
As you read Proverbs 1, ask yourself the same question: Is God’s wisdom worth whatever it takes for me to know it and live by it?