Good Morning, Brothers and Sister!
Today we will begin a 13 message series of devotionals on the themes from the book of Proverbs. As you may know, Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings. Since the book of Proverbs is part of the Bible, God’s holy, inspired, inerrant Word, these wise sayings are God’s wisdom for his people. We would be wise to study and apply this Godly wisdom to our lives.
The first theme I want us to look at is the theme of wisdom itself. You can find this theme throughout the book, but today we are going to consider what Proverbs 1:1-9 say about it. If you have your Bible, follow along with me as I read Proverbs 1, beginning in verse 1, from the English Standard Version’s translation of the Bible.
“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— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. 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.”
Let us pray…
One of the best ways to get to know a passage of scripture is to interrogate it. That is, we should ask questions of the text which the passage suggests. For instance, what is a proverb? What is wisdom? Why should we value wisdom? How do we acquire wisdom? What is the difference between a fool and a wise person?
Solomon collected or wrote these proverbs, which are simple and wise sayings, that we might gain wisdom, instruction, and insight, into wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity. I bet if you asked your neighbors whether they valued righteousness, justice, and equity, they would say yes. And if they said no, and you punched them in the face, each one would probably call the cops to gain righteousness, justice and equity! Everybody wants to be treated with justice, righteousness, and equity! And if you further asked your neighbors whether they were wise, just, and equitable, I bet most of them would say yes! They see the value of these things and want to believe that they espouse them! After all, most people surveyed in America would say that they are going to heaven because they are basically good people who have done more good deeds than bad deeds.
But Solomon argues that true wisdom, wisdom which leads to true righteousness, justice, and equity, is grounded in the fear of the Lord. And it is here where we find many of our neighbors have a problem with God’s Word. Indeed, some church members may have a problem with this passage of scripture! Which is why we so desperately need to hear God’s Word, that God may show us where we disagree with God and change our minds!
Those who would be wise, who would seek righteousness, justice, and equity, must first learn to fear the Lord, for verse 7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” So then, all who have no fear of God are fools, and they cannot live in a manner consistent with righteousness, justice, and equity. God said it, so it’s true, but he also created the world in such a way that truth makes sense. It can easily be seen that the fear of the Lord leads to wisdom which begets righteousness, justice and equity. For instance, the fear of the Lord leads us to fight to protect human life, the rights of the unborn as well as the orphan and the single parent family. For every human being whether born or still in the womb, bears the image of God! To murder a person, no matter how small, is to murder God! And no one who fears the Lord would murder God’s image! Thus the fear of the Lord leads us to treat unborn human people with righteousness, justice, and equity. This same principle is true in all of life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and only fools despise wisdom and understanding!
Solomon then gives us keen insight into where we are to first learn this wisdom, from the home. We learn the fear of God from Godly parents. And even ungodly parents can teach us wisdom which comes from God, insofar as they teach us not to steal or kill, but to honor our parents and all in authority, and to obey the Ten Commandments. The discipline of our parents who intentionally train us to live moral lives gives us instruction into how God disciplines us that we may live lives of wisdom. So King Solomon calls us to gracefully wear the wisdom our parents imparted to us. Paul treated Timothy as a child in the faith. Our spiritual leaders, our elders and pastors, are to give instruction in the fear of the Lord and in wise living, and we who are wise ought to listen, learn, and obey them insofar as they faithfully impart God’s Word to us.
Well I hope I have helped you to see what wisdom is, where it comes from, how we obtain it, and why it is important. I look forward to seeing you next time as we continue our study of the themes of Proverbs by examining God’s teaching on diligence.
Let us pray…