Today: [Proverbs 1] Introduction to Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is a comprehensive body of wisdom literature authored by Solomon himself. Solomon writes the book as a father’s counsel to a son who will succeed him. It is unfortunate that Solomon did not follow his own wisdom throughout his life and his son Rheoboam completely ignored his father’s counsel. Nonetheless in the book of Proverbs we have the contained instruction of the wisest man in all history except Jesus him.
[Pro 1:1-33 KJV] 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they [shall be] an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
The name of the books of Proverbs is from the Latin word “Proverbia” which means “words – put forth”. The Hebrew word “masal” comes from a root word meaning “to rule or have dominion”. With that in mind we can see the central purpose of the book of Proverbs implied in Proverbs 16:32:
[Proverbs 16:32] He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
The book of proverbs was written by Solomon, successor to king David. Solomon’s wisdom was phenomenal and well known in the ancient world:
1 Kings 4:30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
This wisdom was not something he was born with or acquired by learning. Upon becoming king he prayed to God and received supernatural wisdom. In the life of Solomon we see the gift of wisdom in operation. Jesus mentioned Solomon’s wisdom in Matt. 12:42 stating of Himself that a greater wisdom than Solomon’s was present in His own person.
[1Ki 3:7-15 KJV] 7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I [am but] a little child: I know not [how] to go out or come in. 8 And thy servant [is] in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. 14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. 15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, [it was] a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
Notice what God did for Solomon and how He gave Him his wisdom. He had a heart of humility and a great desire to honor his father David and to serve the people. In response God gave him a “wise and an understanding heart”. 2 of the 7 spirits of God in Isaiah 11:2 are wisdom and understanding. Had Solomon not asked this of the Lord no doubt his reign would have been different than it was. Likewise you can look at your own life and even your own character and personality and wonder just how different things would be for you if you only did as Solomon and asked God for wisdom and understanding to conduct your life in honor before Him.
10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: 15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: 16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. 18 And they lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for their [own] lives. 19 So [are] the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; [which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
In verse 8 Solomon speaks of the INSTRUCTION of a father and the LAW of a mother. Here you can find a deep insight into the place of the voice of God and the word of God in your life. The voice of God comes to you as an inward voice instructing you and guiding you moment by moment:
[Isa 30:21 KJV] 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
This is the whole purpose behind the prophetic from a New Testament perspective. In the Old Testament the prophets were the voice of God to the people. In the New Testament the prophets model and mentor the people in hearing the voice of God for themselves. The instruction of a Father in inward, ongoing and always present.
The law of your mother speaks of the word of God. In 1 Peter 2:2 Peter wrote that we should desire the sincere milk of the word. Isaiah 28:9 speaks of the word as a breast that we are fed from as spiritual children. Hence we have the inward instruction of the Father and the outward guidance of the law of our mother that sets parameters for our life and boundaries for our understanding. Instructions are personal and applicational on a moment by moment ongoing basis. Laws are maxim and boundaries to maintain in our lives as we study the word of God and find its relevance to our lives.
20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, [saying], 22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
1 Cor. 1:30 tells us that God has made Jesus to be our wisdom as the indwelling Christ. In Proverbs 1:20 wisdom is spoken of as a woman uttering her voice in the streets to instruct the foolish. This speaks to us of the accessibility of the wisdom of God. This is not something that is withheld from us or reserved for an elite few. Wisdom is one of the things God will extend to us without reservation or condition, when we pray for it:
[Jas 1:5 KJV] 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
In studying the book of Proverbs we are internalizing the understanding of the wisest man in history other than Jesus Himself. Verse 22 calls us away from the simplicity of mindless immaturity. Verse 23 tells us to receive the reproof not of Solomon but of wisdom herself. Solomon isn’t representing himself but is introducing wisdom as a manifestation of the Spirit of God Himself. What is to be our response? “Turn you at my reproof…” To turn means to repent. Repentance is not merely remorse or reform from fear of punishment. Repentance and turning is about having our darkened minds illuminated by the Spirit of God to the point that we allow change to take place in our hearts and we become more like our Father God in character and personality.
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