Intro to Proverbs
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Quiz time! Serving 160 years apart, name the two secretaries of state who never married? What are the two four letter words that have ‘oo’ in them in the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty? In Genesis 4, what name is chosen because God ‘hath appointed me another seed’? Those questions are a few of the final jeopardy questions that Brad Rutter faced during his Jeopardy campaign. Having all that memorized knowledge served him well to the effect that he had earned $4,255,102 or $4,270,102 and a pair of Chevrolet Camaros. And as impressive as that sounds, King Solomon was estimated to have had a peak net worth of $2.2 trillion! And while he too had knowledge and had a lot of dough, what really sets him apart from Brad Rutter (and many other wealthy people) is the fact that Solomon had true knowledge and true wisdom. And much of his wisdom is contained in the book of Proverbs.
While the book of Proverbs does state that they are from Solomon (1:1), this book is really a collection of wise sayings from multiple authors, such as Agur (chapter 30) and Lemuel (chapter 31) and compiled over a long period of time; one point being during the reign of King Hezekiah (25:1). And to try and summarize this book can be very difficult since the maxims in it touch on a wide breadth of topics such as righteous living, sexual relations, revenge, discipline, laziness, a godly wife, and so much more. Despite the cornucopia of themes, it is not difficult to discern that this book is providing the reader with wisdom in how to live in this world. Many of the books we read in the Old Testament have covenantal themes, being dominated more on how it is that a person can have fellowship with God, but proverbs comes alongside and teaches us how we as disciples ought to live our lives in fellowship with God.
Also, prevailing theme that we encounter throughout the book is that wisdom proceeds from God and can be found by those who fear and trust in Him. And because everything that we do has a direct correspondence to our hearts, it is important for us to recognize that while knowledge (memorization of facts) alone does not change a person’s nature or character, the first truth is that we if we desire to be wise we must fear the Lord. It is our fear of the Lord that drives us to Christ and drives us to living life in a manner that is pleasing to Him. And this can be difficult for us at times because we are finite. But a recognition of our limitations and fragility (30:2-4) is a good thing because it brings us to humility and a realization that we are not to walk in a way that seems wise to us because it will only lead to death (14:12; 16:25). Instead, a truly wise man will submit himself God’s Word, because “every word of God proves true” (30:5). When we reject God and His word and try to live our lives apart from His counsel and will, we live like fools. But when we fear the Lord, we find life (9:10-11). May we live wisely in the fear of the Lord because we know that our lives are short and that in the end we will be demanded an account of it in eternity.
Grace and Peace,
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