I’m sure we all learned a number of proverbs as we grew up, generally a pithy saying that contains an often true statement. We are all familiar with proverbs such as “too many cooks spoil the broth” and yet because of the “often true” rather than “always true” nature of them we can even find the opposite thought also contained in proverb form e.g. “many hands make light work” clearly in any one situation only one of those two can be true and yet we can all think of situations where the first has been true and others where the second has been true.
And that idea is very much to the fore when we come to the book of Proverbs in scripture and is the all important thing to remember in reading them – they are Proverbs not Promises. They contain an “often true” idea which we are being directed to consider, recognise and respond to (keeping in mind that it may not apply in every situation.
I thought for a few days at least we’d look at some of the Proverbs in scripture and hopefully become a little wiser in God’s eyes as a result of it.
So for today, let’s start at the very beginning with the question – if they are only “often true” and not absolute promises what true use can they be to us and to answer that let’s look at 1:1-7
Pro 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
Pro 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,
Pro 1:3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
Pro 1:4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Pro 1:5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,
Pro 1:6 to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Solomon was known throughout the then-known world for the wisdom of his insights into the natural world, human beings, and the heart of God, and here in this book is collected together under supervision of Holy Spirit, many of Solomon’s thoughts. Having said that, we must immediately recognise that Solomon of all human’s was given divine wisdom from God specifically for this purpose and the inclusion of these proverbs into scripture leaves us no option but to admit to the importance of them and of the truths they contain.
And here we are told that the value of these proverbs is in making us wise v2, so that we might be wise in our both our dealings with others v3 and in our understanding and pursuit of holiness v3-5 and most especially v7 which is itself the very first of the proverbs of this book (and one of the greatest in it) – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
How teachable are you? The answer to that question pretty much dictates how well you will ever know God in this lifetime, and how well you will ever image Christ in this lifetime. A fool, says Solomon, despises wisdom and instruction. We have before us God’s Word in our own language and many aids to help us study it and yet many, many Christians do not avail themselves of it. They have no real interest in studying it – to do that, says Solomon is be a fool. On the other hand to get to the point where you have a real, personal, reverential fear of God (an appreciation of who He is and what you are in comparison, and of the wonder of His grace, and of that alone that enables you to approach Him and know Him and be loved by Him) is the very beginning of true knowledge!
So which are you? A fool who has no interest in the real study of God’s Word or one who has tasted of divine knowledge in coming to the Father through Christ and now hungers to learn more and grow daily by it?