I just returned from a time of vacation with my daughter’s family. During that time I was privileged to sit in on devotions and enjoy the insight provided by the girls as Dad read from verses in Proverbs. I had been wondering what kind of series I could do next on the blog and sense that this would be a good direction to take. Our world lives according to the wisdom of man, and we followers of Jesus desperately need to understand the wisdom of God’s word and live accordingly.
I am not going to comment on every verse—only those that especially speak to my heart concerning the time in which we live. As usual, I will quote from the King James Version of scripture.
Reminder—These words are a record of the word of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to Solomon.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…..”
Solomon explains the reason he recorded these proverbs in the very first words of his book.
Proverbs 1:2–6 “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”
Solomon declares that he desires to teach people wisdom, instruction, and understanding. Wisdom is the ability to use what you know and apply it to how you live; it’s choosing the right way to do the right things. The Hebrew for “instruction” includes the idea of chastisement, warning and discipline. Understanding is the ability to discern meaning and intention.
Already, the plate is full. Knowledge abounds and is readily available in this age of information and technology. The understanding needed to use that knowledge in the right way for the right purposes is greatly lacking. Often that lack is due to lack of discernment and/or the refusal to exercise discipline in light of the warnings provided by history and experience.
Subtilty makes reference to discretion and prudence. I think Solomon is saying that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the wisdom of God. This wisdom is available to those who are young and on the journey of gaining knowledge. Discretion is another word for discernment, and the implication is that discernment is attained through instruction just as surely as is knowledge. This speaks to the importance of the instructor. As we continue on our journey, Solomon will be clear in declaring that our instruction should be rooted in the knowledge of God. Only those so rooted will be able to provide the right type of instruction.
I like the wording of the NLT for verses 5-6: “Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles.”
(to be continued…)