Is the book of Proverbs a book of promises? He is my summary for this amazing book of Proverbs.
Godly wisdom is highly valuable and necessary for living a successful life (Prov. 1:1-6; Prov. 2) and is available for anyone who seeks it.
Explanation of Main Idea
The book of Proverbs begins with several speeches of a father urging his son to listen to the instruction of his parents (Prov. 1:8) in order to stay away from sin (Prov. 1:10) and live a godly and successful life (Prov. 3:2). Interspersed with these parental exhortations are speeches from wisdom herself, personified as a Lady calling out to humanity with a warning against neglecting her (Prov. 1:20-33) and promising happiness and success to all who find her (Prov. 8:32-36).
The bulk of the book, chapters 10-29, is a collection of pithy and brilliant one or two line sayings that deal with almost every issue in life. Among these issues are relationships, work, speech, God, old age, drinking, integrity, money, lifestyle, government, justice, poverty, teachability, attitude, and much more. Many, if not most, of these proverbs contrast wisdom with foolishness regarding its’ respective topic. For example, in dealing with the subject of teachability, Proverbs 10:17 states, “The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.” In other words, it is wise to follow instruction and it is foolish to reject correction.
The last two chapters in Proverbs speak of two individuals who have taken heed to wisdom. First, in chapter 29 we meet Agur, who recognized his extreme need for wisdom, calling himself “stupid” (Prov. 30:2). After he finds wisdom, though, he shares it in several of presumably his own proverbs (Prov. 30:7-33). Last, we meet King Lemuel in chapter 31. He pronounces words of wisdom that he learned from his mom (Prov. 31:1), most notably a description of a noble woman who is truly living wisely (Prov. 31:10-31).
The call to find wisdom in chapters 1-9, is followed by a description of wisdom in chapters 10-29, and finally, an illustration of the life of one who has found wisdom in Proverbs 31.
The book of Proverbs was written to make it’s readers wise. This wisdom, though, is not just an accumulation of knowledge and information, it is applied knowledge, centred around the fear of the Lord (Prov. 3:7). It is a recognition that God has set certain parameters in the world and if we live His way, the way of wisdom, we will be blessed and successful, but if we reject the way God has delineated life should be, we will become foolish and hurt ourselves and others (Prov. 10:27).
- Seek godly wisdom.
This is the exhortation from the very first chapter, both from parents (Prov. 1:8), and from wisdom herself (Prov. 1:20, 33). The innumerable number of proverbs in this book is also an indirect call for the pursuit of wisdom. These proverbs are meant to be read, considered, meditated upon, applied, and read again.
- Fear the Lord.
True wisdom is associated with the “fear of the Lord” (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). There will be consequences for the man or woman who lives their life apart from wisdom. To fear these consequences is to fear the Lord. The Lord, Himself, created the world though wisdom (Prov. 3:19), so they are very closely related. The one who fears the Lord will have a “strong confidence” (Prov. 14:26) and will be considered a “fountain of life” (Prov. 14:27).
- Be teachable.
There’s a lot to learn in the book of Proverbs! In order to gain wisdom, one must have a heart that is willing to learn and accept God’s truth (Prov. 1:28-33). Over and over again, the reader is exhorted to “Listen” (Prov. 1:8), “Accept my words” (Prov. 2:1), “Don’t forget my teaching” (Prov. 3:1), “Pay attention” (Prov. 4:20), “Listen closely” (Prov. 5:1). Additionally, there are many proverbs which encourage a willingness to listen to instruction, among them are Prov. 11:14, 12:1, 13:1, 15:31-32, and 19:20.
- Don’t be foolish.
As much as Proverbs advocates acquiring wisdom, it warns against living like a fool. A fool brings destruction through his speech (Prov. 10:14), spreads slander (Prov. 10:18), loves shameful conduct (Prov. 10:23), displays his stupidity (Prov. 13:16), is easily angered and careless (Prov. 14:16), doesn’t want to learn but only wants to share his opinions (Prov. 18:2), doesn’t learn from his mistakes (Prov. 26:11), annoys others (Prov. 27:3), trusts in himself (Prov. 28:26), and lacks self-control (Prov. 29:11).
How Does This Relate To Us?
This book of Proverbs is a source of practical wisdom for living a life that pleases God. Because it covers so many topics, there is not a situation in life that cannot be addressed by at least one of these proverbs. Taking to hearts it’s instruction will result in healthier relationships, honest and productive business dealings, rewarding community experiences, and a moral life.
Sexual immorality is a huge problem today in the church and in the world. Proverbs 5:3-23 and Prov. 6:24-7:27 provide an extensive and detailed account of the lure of temptation, the destruction resulting from adultery, and strong words of admonition to avoid it. It is one of the most sobering sections in all of God’s word dealing with this topic.
There is much information very quickly available on absolutely any topic imaginable. Is this wisdom? Consider TED Talks, Google, Forums, Quora, LifeHacker, et. al.. We are able to literally learn anything through a few clever keystrokes and some determination. This is not wisdom; this is information.
Proverbs is profitable unlike any of these or other source of information. Proverbs teaches how to fear the Lord and live properly; it teaches how to apply knowledge to all of life’s situations. Never before in the history of time have we had access to so much information so speedily; yet never before in the history of time have we desperately needed true wisdom. She calls out today as she did ages ago, “Listen to instruction and be wise, don’t ignore it…for the one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but the one who misses me harms himself; all who hate me love death” (Prov. 32-36)
- Based on Prov. 1:1-6, what is the purpose of the book of Proverbs?
- What do the following verses all have in common: Prov. 1:8; 2:1; 3:1; 4:1, 10, 20; 5:1, 7?
- Read Prov. 7:6-27. What price will the young man have to pay eventually? (See Prov. 7:22-23, 27) What do you think this means?
- Of the advice given to King Lemuel by his mother in Prov. 31:1-9, what do you agree with and why? Is there any part of it that you disagree with?
Life Application Questions
- Read Prov. 21:31. How could you apply this to a situation in your life? How should you prepare your “horse”?
- Read Prov. 22:13. What will happen if you confess your sin? Do you have anything to confess?
- Who do you trust? Read Prov. 28:25-26. Is there any area of your life where you are trusting yourself more than you are trusting the Lord? If so, pray and surrender it to Him.
- Are you afraid of people? How does Prov. 29:25 help you?
- Proverbs 31 records the words that King Lemuel learned from his mom. What have you learned from your mom that has made you a better person?
Copyright © 2018 Pat Sieler