1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple, (naïve/meek) knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Let's begin by defining a few words to help us set the foundation of this post and continuing series.
1. What is a Proverb?
A proverb is a poetic, thought-provoking saying that delivers a world of truth in a few words.
"Proverbs are observations about how life works through hard intentional thinking. Kind of like hard candy: If you just bite down on it, you won’t enjoy the flavor until you suck on it for a length of time – and you might even brake tooth. A proverb is like this- we need to learn to read while thinking until the “sweetness” of insight comes through." (Timothy Keller)
2. What is Wisdom?
"Wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. Wisdom is the ability to see people, events, and situations as God sees them."
3. What is Knowledge?
Knowledge, is “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance. Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not the other way around. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge is knowing how to use a gun; wisdom is knowing when to use it and when to keep it holstered.
Part of the human experience is learning, growing and facing life situations where we may not be prepared to deal with or face. Life brings with it many moments of joy while at the same time we face struggles and need some help and guidance. Thankfully there are many professionals out there that can help us with the "big stuff," but let me encourage you to not put all your apples in just that basket. We often times over look the beauty and power that God's word has to offer us - the Bible is God's actual word - given to us to reveal Himself to us and it is His guide to life. It is His counsel to us when we struggle, His plans that lead to us God's best, and His heart poured out throughout all the pages - for us to see how good and wise, and loving and kind, gracious and safe He is.
So- you may be asking "What will I gain by reading through the book of Proverbs?"
Wisdom and Peace
It is a book of instruction and wisdom passed on from a father to his child-many chapters start off with,
"My son... pay attention, or do not forget my teaching, or if you accept my words..."
It is the heart of the Father desiring his child to live a life wisely, knowing that peace of mind comes from living a life wisely.
Many of us know facts about God and the Bible, but that is not the same as having wisdom.
Wisdom is a gift from God.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God blesses us with wisdom in order for us to glorify Him and use the knowledge we have of Him.
So with that - I would like to break down the first few verses with you today. I would like to encourage you to find a journal or tablet and ask that you take some notes as we go through the next few weeks on the study of Proverbs to help you stay focused and to keep track of some things God may reveal to you for future reference or needed encouragement. As we go through the book of Proverbs I may ask you questions that you might want to write down answers for or other scripture verses connected to whatever is being asked or shared with you.
-According to verse 2,
What is the purpose and desire of the writer for us as we read through Proverbs?
-According to verse 3,
How can reading through the book of Proverbs help you?
-When looking at verse 4,
How can we apply wisdom in our lives to also help others?
-Verses 5 and 6 challenges us…
To be a wise person by doing what? And how will we accomplish these objectives?
-In verse 7 there is a strong statement made,
“The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
How would you define the “fear of the Lord.”?
To begin to understand this statement made by God Himself – one has to understand the relationship between God and humans; this involves us understanding that firstly:
God is the essence of love - He, Himself "IS" love.
God is completely and fully trustworthy - as you read His word more, you will see repeatedly how good and faithful and trustworthy He has been since the beginning of time and has never gone back on His word or promise, or has never manipulated anyone.
God is good and just - He is the perfect measure of what is right and true and is the perfect standard of just and fair.
God is holy - meaning He is set apart and is not like us humans - Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it like this: Holy means, "exalted and worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness."
So when God seems like He's not acting the way you think He should or that things aren't going the way you think they should go - we have to remember His ways are higher than ours and that as we grow to know Him, we will begin to trust Him more and be thankful that He is Holy and perfect and not like us. His ways are always going to be for our good, Knowing this will help us to understand that there is no evil in Him.
Our “fearing Him,” is us submitting to His holiness and putting our trust in knowing and appreciating who He has proven Himself to be and trusting in His character.
Fearing God creates in us awe and wonder in His majesty and splendor and helps strengthen and increase our faith in Him.
Revelation 15:4, “Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Psalm 115:11, “You who fear him, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.”
A healthy fear of God also helps us understand His hatred of sin- and because He is good and holy – sin must be punished, otherwise He would not be good and holy if left evil go unpunished – thus this kind of fear of God is also needed to help keep our perspective of God balanced and on track.
We humans like to focus on the good and loving forgiving God parts but not so much on His holy and just part.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we continue through the book of Proverbs, my hope is that you will come to see that gaining wisdom and fearing God will actually bring encouragement and peace to your heart and mind as well as help you grow deeper in your relationship with Him. Studying the book of Proverbs and learning to apply God's wisdom and instruction to your life will help build your confidence in The Almighty Creator God, and will become a continued comfort to you when trials come your way. Growing in wisdom may not always be easy, but your love and respect for God will assuredly grow deeper and you will experience the presence of God in ways you would have never imagined.