We’re about to dive into Proverbs, a book of the Bible that is much different from what we’ve been studying up to this point. Everything we’ve looked at has been awesome, but Proverbs is a whole different ballgame. King Solomon, the author of this book, had come from an interesting family: he was the son of King David and Bathsheba (if you’re not familiar with their story, check out 2 Samuel 11 & 12 - it’s crazy!). After becoming king, God told Solomon that he could ask for anything that he wanted, and he asked for wisdom… of everything in the world that he could’ve had, he wanted wisdom!? It seems like a strange request, but God blessed that him by not only giving him what he asked for, but also making him the richest man on earth.
So Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived and now we get to study a little of that wisdom that he’s shared with us!
1:1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
When I read through these verses, the first thing I notice are a ton of big ideas (words of insight, instruction in equity, prudence), most of them having to do with wisdom. What’s the big deal? Most of us, if we’re honest, don’t make very wise choices on a day-to-day basis. How often, if we’re given the option to get some extra studying done before a test or go to a movie with friends, would we ACTUALLY choose to study? How about this: when we’re faced with a choice to go to youth group or play video games at home, which do we choose?
Here Solomon calls us to study this book seriously, so that we can gain that wisdom that we so often lack. In verse 5, he says that “a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” - a wise believer will be able to help others understand the truth! The crazy thing about Proverbs is that some of the ideas and truths contained here are SO simple, while others are incredibly complex (hence the term “riddles” in verse 6). You’ll soon discover, however, that the more you study the Scripture, the more you’ll begin to understand even some of the more difficult concepts and ideas!!
Verse 7 is also the first time “the fear of the Lord” is mentioned… which, contrary to how it sounds, is not actually being afraid of God. The fear of the Lord is very much having reverence for God, and an attitude or a state of mind where, instead of looking out for ourselves and what we want all the time, our feelings, will and even our actions are exchanged for God’s. This theme is definitely something we’ll be studying more in the coming month!
8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
9 for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
Verse 10 - for me - is a key verse in this passage. I am faced everyday with countless opportunities to choose the wrong thing, to sin. Sometimes the choice is something that I bring upon myself, but very often it’s a temptation that is presented to me by something or someone I see - and very often, it is covert and secret. I’m sure you run into the same thing on a daily basis; at school, when you’re home alone, out with friends, even at church, sin sneaks up on us all the time! We’re told here that when we face those temptations and presented with those bad choices, do not consent (don’t agree). Walk away, turn it off, stop the conversation, say NO, whatever you have to do: do not consent and stay away from those who encourage you to.
Start with me today to look for and listen to wisdom around you. When you read Proverbs with me this month, try to pull one thing from it that you can practically apply to your life. What can we pull from today’s verses, and how can we start to practice those lessons?