This is day 1 of the 31 Day Proverbs Challenge to read a chapter a day from the book of Proverbs through the month of May.
The book of of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, the wisest man ever lived on earth. He gained wisdom by asking God.
When Solomon succeeded his father David as king over Israel, God said to Solomon in a dream: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5). The young King Solomon could have asked for anything he wanted. Instead of asking for riches and long life, he asked God for “a discerning heart,” he asked for wisdom.
God was true to His word: “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. (1 Kings 3:12).
Just as King Solomon gained his wisdom by asking God, we can gain wisdom by asking God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
What is wisdom?
Charles Swindoll says in his Insight for Living Bible Study Guidde Selected Studies from Proverbs: “Knowledge is not enough to meet life’s problems. We need wisdom, the ability to handle life with skill. Being wise means being skilled in godly living. Having God’s wisdom means having the ability to cope with life in a God-honoring way.”
Proverbs teaches us the skill of living life harmoniously, effectively and successfully. Proverbs enriches our ability to cope with daily life and other people.
Wisdom is not knowledge and intelligence. One can have great knowledge and intelligence without great wisdom, and vice versa.
We should rely more on God’s wisdom and less on human intelligence, because God’s wisdom is limitless while human intelligence is limited.
Proverbs 1 mentions three key sources of wisdom: the fear of the Lord, a father’s instruction, and a mother’s teaching – all three impart wisdom.
LeRoy Eims says fearing God is to “reverence God, serve Him, worship Him, obey Him, and love Him, that is a picture of the beginning of knowledge. And only fools despise it.”
Beginning in verse 20, Solomon presents wisdom as a person. Wisdom speaks to us personified as a woman. Charles Swindoll explained in his Selected Studies from Proverbs some basic facts about wisdom:
- Wisdom is available. She is not shy, but very accessible and easy to find. She goes out of her way to speak to us through God’s Word, creation, and the lessons of daily life. But we often refuse reproof, because we are self-centered, proudful, insensitive, indifferent and defensive.
- Wisdom comes to us when we accept and adjust to God’s reproofs. Sometimes God’s reproofs come to us directly through His Word. Sometimes He also uses indirect means to correct us through life’s experiences or other people.
- Wisdom can be ignored and spurned. Our problem is not exposure to wisdom, our problem is putting her words into practice.
- Wisdom spurned bears serious consequences.
New International Version (NIV)
Purpose and Theme
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,knowledge and discretion to the young— 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— 6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. 11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; 12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14 cast lots with us; we will all share the loot ”— 15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! 18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wallshe cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. 30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”