In our previous Wisdom Note, we explored 10 Truths for a Successful Life. These bits of wisdom help us to live a rich and satisfying life while creating a living legacy. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to catch previous installments.
The Book of Proverbs is considered the book of wisdom. This week we will explore the first three verses of Chapter 10:
This is the second major section in the Book of Proverbs, which begins with Proverbs 10:1 and continues on through Proverbs 22:16. This section contains 375 short compare and contrast statements that are actually poems in the original Hebrew text. Most poems have two lines, and each poem is one verse long. Each poem is called a “proverb.” Keep in mind as we work our way through these proverbs that they are not specific “commands” from God, but general precepts, that if followed will prove true.
The structure of this section is unusual. Solomon did not separate the proverbs into groups. The proverbs change from one subject to another. However, their order does matter. Solomon uses an “organic” or “natural” order in his writings. This order is similar to a conversation. For example, one proverb might explain the previous one, and another proverb might contrast with the previous one.
Together, these proverbs are like a conversation. Imagine as we sit around camp today that we are a group of wise people talking about wisdom. Each person in the group speaks briefly. We all listen to each other. Then, each person tells his thoughts or ideas to the other people. The conversation would be similar to this section of the book of Proverbs. As we go through these proverbs and you have some thoughts on them, please leave comments on each day’s journal pages so that we can all grow in wisdom.
We should desire wisdom more than we desire wealth. These proverbs discuss many different subjects. However, all these subjects start with the first proverb. This proverb is about the difference between a wise child and a foolish child. The difference is (of course) wisdom. So, let’s start with verse 1…
1 The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise child brings joy to a father;
a foolish child brings grief to a mother.
Just in case we were unsure the chapter reminds us that these proverbs were indeed written by King Solomon, the wisest person to ever live.
From verse one we discover several words in this verse contrast with other words. “Wise” contrasts with “foolish.” “Father” contrasts with “mother.” “Joy” contrasts with “grief.”
Without generalizing too much, when I read this verse it makes me think of the differences between a father and mother. When a child does well, in this case, makes wise decisions, the father takes great pride in this – maybe even taking some credit for the child’s wisdom. In contrast, when a child is unwise the mother takes it much more personally as if there were something she did or did not do that made the child make foolish decisions. Going to the extreme in either case for a parent is not wise.
This is especially true as the child grows older and into adulthood. The child is then responsible for his own actions. Although we as parents and grandparents do continue to greatly influence our children and grandchildren, ultimately the decisions that they make, either wise or foolish, are their responsibility. Just remember to live your legacy each day.
2 Tainted wealth has no lasting value,
but right living can save your life.
If you obtain money illegally or unethically then it has no lasting value. You could argue that this is not true. If you obtain money illegally then you can still spend it. You can buy many things. We have all read about people who have become wealthy through illegal, or more likely unethical practices. Solomon argues that this type of wealth is worth nothing. We already have learned that the wealth of wisdom has far greater value than monetary wealth. Money is never more than a tool for good or bad…nothing more. Wisdom is better than money because wisdom will allow you to make the choices that will preserve your life long term. So if a poor man is wise, then he is richer than the wealthiest person who has obtained his wealth through illegal or unethical means.
3 The Lord will not let the godly go hungry,
but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.
As we apply God’s general guidelines to our lives and as we follow His precepts, we will be taken care of in all essentials of life. There is an analogy that can also be gleaned from this verse. If we do what is right in life and business, we will be satisfied with what we have, regardless of whether it is little or much. If we do what is wicked, no matter how much we have in possessions, we will not find satisfaction in them and will be continually seeking more. This insatiable desire for more “things” is certainly evident in many Western cultures today.
What great wisdom nuggets we have uncovered today. Although it may take several weeks for each chapter, if our lives are changed by what we uncover, then it will be worth digging for. We will continue with a few more nuggets of wisdom from Chapter 10 Next Week. In addition to our weekly Wisdom Notes, encourage your friends and family to also join us on our daily podcast – Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.