Monday, 3rd February
TOPIC: THE BOOK OF PROVERBS ONE TEXT: Proverbs 1:1-33
Last week we began a journey through the book of proverbs. We had an overview of the book to know what to expect from the study. Today we will begin with the first chapter.
Memory Verse: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)KJV
Theme: Embrace Wisdom
Everyone needs wisdom (Proverbs 1:1-7): The first verse of the book of proverbs names the principal author, Solomon. It then goes on to outline the purpose of the book:
For gaining Wisdom – The principal purpose of the book is to give wisdom, which is simply skill for living a successful life. Wisdom helps us to skilfully navigate through life. It is also the ability to govern oneself by choice. It is an ability to be shrewd or astute in our dealings in life. This is what makes people thrive in the market place. As believers, we need this edge to be outstanding in the market place. What we need is not to memorise many proverbs (though it is good), but as we feed on these scriptures regularly, they will enter our spirit and we will naturally express them as the need arises.
To know Instruction – This refers to discipline required to choose and walk through the right paths in our daily lives.
For understanding words of insight and dark sayings of the wise – It is difficult to commit to something we do not understand. The book of proverbs is designed to help us unravel mysteries and riddles or deep truths spoken by wise men. The world may not understand, but we have access to deep truths (Matthew 13:11), and we connect to it through knowledge gained by study (Proverbs 11:9). Some deep truths will make no sense to us until we acquire wisdom in our spirit.
Prudence to the simple – the word simple refers foolishness or open-mindedness. God is concerned about believers who are open to anything – they do not have clear instructions or directives that they live by, so anything goes (Ephesians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 14:20). The devil likes to take advantage of such, but God has made the book of proverbs available to protect such.
To understand justice, Judgement and equity – Justice is the ability to conform to God’s righteous standards. Judgement is the application of true righteous standards in our dealings with people. Equity speaks of treating people fairly. People have confidence in us when they are sure of fair treatment from us (Isaiah 61:8).
Only a fool will despise wisdom and instruction, but the wise chase after these virtues with all they have.
There is great value in being teachable (Proverbs 1:8-9): We are told to hear instruction from parents because they know things we may not know. This includes spiritual and biological parents. Some have gone through the paths that we now tread; therefore, it makes sense to hear what they have to say. A teachable person is one that is not wise in his own eyes (Isaiah 5:21), but is willing to humbly pay attention to counsel. To hear as used in this passage means to listen with attention or interest and with intention to learn and to obey. Parents in the passage could also mean people who have gone ahead of us in business, academics, ministry parenting etc. It is wisdom to listen to those who have gone ahead of us. Those who have done (in a legitimate way) the things we want to do or are about to do. If we listen to them, we will avoid their mistakes and surpass their exploits (Hebrew 6:12).
When we are teachable, those instructions we receive will become as ornaments of grace on our heads and chains about our necks. They beatify our lives so much that we attract honour and favour – we become pleasing to people around us. People just like us and therefore, want to do things for us.
Reject evil appeals (Proverbs 1:10-19). We live in a world where people have devised various dubious ways of getting what they need. As believers, we may have temporary seasons of difficulty as we wait on God to meet our needs. It is during such vulnerable seasons that people present us with alternatives which are inconsistent with God’s word. Notice from verse 13 that evil appeals come with sugar-coating. The devil will never present evil for what it is; it has to be attractive. The evil act presented in our text seemed to yield quick and bountiful benefits.
Notice that the presenters also claimed to be fair in the sharing of their loots. The devil will always present an image of fairness, but he is not (2 Corinthians 11:14). His agenda is summarised in John 10:10a. Therefore, we must not give ear to the alluring appeals of evil doers. It pays to wait on God for what we need; for He will surely send help right early (Psalm 28:7). Pressure for evil will come, but do not give in.
To reject wisdom is to embrace calamity (Proverbs 1:20-33). Here wisdom is personified. While folly promotes her clandestine activities by whispering in dark corners, wisdom, having nothing to hide cries out in the open. Wisdom positions herself so visibly that we cannot miss her. The cry of wisdom refers to the biblical teachings that we have all around us. She presents herself as common sense, things that we observe through nature (Romans 1:18-20), the laws of justice and the laws of God written in our hearts and in books and which our consciences work with (Romans 2:14-15). All these leave us without any excuse for folly.
We are to repent whenever wisdom rebukes us (Hebrews 3:15-16). To repent means to turn from our wrong ways and begin to move in the right direction as instructed by wisdom. When we respond correctly to the calls of wisdom, God will pour out His Spirit on us and teach us his ways. When we are taught by God, we will naturally walk in the truth of His word (Psalm 86:11). Those who reject wisdom will face the troubles that folly attracts. The wise listen to instructions.
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; and you will live a naturally successful life.