proverb: (noun) a short, pithy sentence that conveys a general truth, condensing common experience into memorable form
Proverbs 1 (New Living Translation)
The Purpose of Proverbs
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
King Solomon. Third king of Israel. Son of the great King David. The wisest man who ever lived.
The absolute quiet and prosperity of the reign of Solomon (the man of peace), as described in 1 Kings 4:20, would naturally be conducive to the growth of a sententious philosophy; whereas the constant wars and dangerous life of David had called forth the impassioned eloquence of the Psalms.
–Charles J. Ellicott (1819-1905)
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.
–1 Kings 4:29-34
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
“It is probably a safe bet to say that most people today are not much interested in wisdom. They are interested in making money and in having a good time. Some are interested in knowing something, in getting an education. Almost everyone wants to be well liked. But wisdom? The pursuit of wisdom is not a popular ideal.”
–James Montgomery Boice
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,
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.
“But what is the fear of the LORD? It is that affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law.”
HERE is “We Choose the Fear of the Lord” sung by the Maranatha Singers.
A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom
A father teaching his son how to kayak. Photo by Susan Sayour.
8 My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.
Verses 7 – 9 may be regarded as a summary statement of the principle on which the whole book is based, and of the duty which it enjoins. The principle is that true wisdom is based on religion, and the duty is to listen to parental instruction. ‘My son,’ is the address of a teacher to his disciples, rather than of a father to his child.
–Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910, an English non-conformist minister of Scottish origin)
10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave;
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”
15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.
from Whispers of His Power, by Amy Carmichael
Proverbs 1:17 — Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
When God is speaking to a soul, the devil always tries to spread a net to entangle him. Have you ever heard a message and found yourself thinking, “Yes, that is just the word for him. It fits him exactly. I hope he takes it to heart.” If you have, then you know one of Satan’s favorite nets. He tries to make us think of somebody else, and pass the message on to him instead of taking it for ourselves.
But surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. If you see the net, pray this prayer: “Lord, open my ears to hear what Thou wilt say to me. Make me sincere, and give me grace to obey.”
And then, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).
18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.
Wisdom Shouts in the Streets
“Wisdom calls aloud in the street . . . “
20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.
She cries out in the public square.
21 She calls to the crowds along the main street,
to those gathered in front of the city gate:
This is the first time that Wisdom, personified as a woman (in Greek, “Sophia”), speaks in the book of Proverbs. We will hear from her again in chapters 8 and 9. This seems to me to be a metaphor only; orthodox Christianity does not condone worship of the goddess Sophia. Scripture teaches that God alone is true and holy Wisdom.
Romans 11:33 (NIV)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 “How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23 Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.
24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.
25 You ignored my advice
and rejected the correction I offered.
26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble!
I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone,
and anguish and distress overwhelm you.
Why do we ignore good advice?!
Here are some examples of good life advice which many of us have received and yet which many of us have had to learn the hard way!
Forgive and let go …
Read (A LOT) …
Don’t ever stop learning and growing as a person …
Save a portion of your earnings and avoid credit card debt …
Change your thinking, change your life …
Find a mentor and do what they’re doing …
Be kind to people …
Never, never, never give in …
Whatever you do, give it 100 % …
28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer.
Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
29 For they hated knowledge
and chose not to fear the Lord.
30 They rejected my advice
and paid no attention when I corrected them.
31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,
choking on their own schemes.
32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death.
Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”
Psalm 112:1, 7, 8 (NIV)
Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
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