Tuesday, March 01, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 1

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 1 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%201&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 1

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, son of King David, King of Israel (1:1). Solomon was and is the wisest man to ever live, according to the word and promise given Him by the Lord. You may find the story in full in I Kings 3:1-28.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I%20Kings%203&version=NIV

In verses 11-14, God said to him:

"Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

The words contained in this book are written from the heart of one upon whom God lavished wisdom and discernment. I would be wise to follow these words.
In the beginning, Solomon outlines the purposes behind compiling these sayings.

They are:
- For gaining wisdom and instruction (1:2)
- For understanding words of insight (1:2)
- For receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right, and just and fair (1:3)
- For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young (1:4)

And, Solomon gives immediate advice and warning:

“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:5-7)

I want to be counted among the wise, not as a point of pride (which I’m certain Solomon will warn against in later chapters), but in order that I may deal fairly with my fellow man, make good decisions, and love God and people well. And, so I endeavor to sit at the feet of Wisdom and soak up all she has to say.

Listen to your parents. (1:8-9)

Experience is an amazing teacher. Too often, I want to learn on my own. Wisdom says to learn from the experiences of others. Listen to those who have gone before you. They have seen the path. They know the pitfalls. They see from a perspective that is unavailable to me. It reflects well on me if I choose to listen to my father and mother.

Avoid troublemakers. Stand strong. (1:10-19)

When others are trying to pull me into their schemes, I am not to go along with them. Although the passage talks of drastic things such as theft, ambush, and murder, the path of trouble is scattered with many things. Don’t go along with those who “lie in wait for innocent blood” or “ambush some harmless soul” (1:11). For instance, in so many cases, gossip is like that. The tongue can be sharper than a sword. I need to remember that. MY tongue can be sharper than a sword and too often it’s easy to be “sucked in” to gossip. “If sinful men entice you, do not give in to them” (1:10) for “These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it” (1:18-19).

Wisdom is readily available. (1:20-23)

Wisdom doesn’t hide from me. She cries out to me, in fact. If I miss what she has to say, it is my fault. What is keeping me from hearing the voice of wisdom? “Repent at my rebuke”, she says. Repent. Humble myself. Admit I’m wrong. Turn. Such easy words to say, but so difficult to do, but, the reward is wisdom.

The consequences of ignoring wisdom are steep. (1:24-32)

And the consequence of not repenting is wisdom’s rebuke, her laughter. If “hindsight is 20/20”, then the wisdom gained is the “if only” I feel when looking back. There comes a time when it is too late to ask for wisdom, she hides her face. It is in that moment that I should fear reaping what I’ve sown. “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them”.

The reward of listening to wisdom is great. (1:33)

Those who listen to wisdom, abide by her teachings, and stand strong will have peace. They will “live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (1:33).

Father of Wisdom,
May these words find their way into my heart, into my mind, into my very being. As I read and meditate upon the words of Your servant, Solomon, may I grow in understanding, knowledge and wisdom. Teach me, Lord, to be wise. Stir in my heart a hunger for Your Word, Truth, and Wisdom.
Amen

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