Wisdom from The Big House – Reflections from Proverbs – Chapter 1
I am a simplistic person and come from very a humble upbringing as the third oldest of 10 kids in our family of 7 boys and 3 girls. I have 2 older sisters, but as the oldest son I have picked up many of a first child’s tendencies. As I was growing up, our family was not wealthy by the world’s standards. In fact we grew up quite poor financially, but the riches I gained during my childhood were those that no amount of money could buy. We learned to love, even when we didn’t feel like it. We learned the value of hard work, of being honest, and of having integrity in all interactions. I was fortunate to have parents who loved each other and were not afraid to show it.
As I have grown into adulthood, God has blessed me with my wonderful bride of 35+ years (Paula), and we have been fortunate to be able to purchase the family home that my great grandparents built on “Walnut Hill Farms.” The house is truly a “family home” and is considered “home-base” for all siblings, cousins, and extended family. It is affectionately referred to as “The Big House” and is the meeting place for family reunions and other family gatherings. Because of the fondness of our home to our family, it is our hope that you will share with us in this special place. This is why we are titling these reflections “Wisdom from The Big House.” At some point when God calls us “home” to be with Him, we will truly arrive at The Big House that Christ has prepared for each of God’s children.
God has been gracious to allow me to have significant leadership skills (both learned and innate) which have driven and compelled me to seek His wisdom through His Word. I have made it a habit during most of my adult life, to read a chapter in the book of Proverbs each day that corresponds to the day of the month. It has been a passion of mine for many years to put down in writing some of the insights that I have gained through this study. I have also sought out the mentoring of others who are wise to add to my own study. Over the past several years I have accumulated quotes and sayings of the wise that now total about 25,000 and is growing every day.
So as we begin, I trust the insight that I share will help you to grow in wisdom and discernment. Let us begin….
Proverbs 1:1-4 1These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
There is no doubt that the original author was King Solomon, son of King David. Solomon was the wisest of all men. God granted him such wisdom because when Solomon was appointed king, God came to Solomon in a dream and asked Solomon what he would wish for. In 1 Kings 3 Solomon replied, “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong.” (God granted his wish and so much more.) The passage continues, “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.11So God replied, ‘Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies, 12I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!13And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!'”
My prayer is to be wise like Solomon, and I pray each day for God to provide the wisdom as He promised that he will in James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” In addition to Solomon’s wisdom, my prayer is to have the wisdom and integrity of Joseph (Israel’s Son), Moses, Joshua, Daniel and Nehemiah.
2Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Proverbs starts out by explaining the purpose for the book of Proverbs: to teach us wisdom and discipline. These will always be partnered together. If you have wisdom, by its very nature, you will live a disciplined lifestyle. Proverbs also helps us to understand the insights of the wise. One way to gain wisdom is to hang out and spend time with those who are wise, not in their own eyes, but wise according to God’s Word. As one of my mentors Jim Rohn says,
[spp-tweet “We are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with”…. What is your average?]
3Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
Continuing on, the purpose is to teach us to live disciplined and successful lives. Here is another marriage of words. First it was wisdom and discipline, and now it is discipline and success – this is a progression that is gained by following God’s Word. It will then help us to do what is right, just, and fair, certainly attributes that we all should seek.
4These proverbs will give insight to the simple, and knowledge and discernment to the young.
As a result, the Proverbs will give us insight. I am about as simple as they come, so it certainly applies to me. But in addition to insight, we gain knowledge and discernment. It is certainly better if we learn these lessons while we are young; they are much harder to learn as we become set in our ways and habits.
As a recap for today, the progressions of the purposes of Proverbs are: As we learn wisdom, we will become disciplined in our lives, which leads to understanding the insights of the wise. As we live disciplined lives, we will also become successful, which will help us to do what is right, just, and fair. As we continue to live disciplined and successful lives, we will gain additional insight so we won’t be so simple. We will add to that insight knowledge and discernment. God’s Word is so powerful, if we can only learn the easy and simple lessons that are provided for us so clearly.
[spp-tweet “Let us grow in our pursuit of wisdom.”]
5Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance 6by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
An interesting concept is that it is the wise are who benefit the most from the Proverbs, and they will become even wiser. This makes sense, though, since those who are foolish will not listen or learn from the wisdom in the Proverbs. They are too arrogant and think they do not need the wisdom. It is those that understand their need for additional wisdom and guidance that will receive it. We gain this wisdom by earnestly studying the Word and learning from the wise and their riddles, but as we gain more wisdom and knowledge the riddles become practical advice and insight for daily living.
7Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
In our language and culture, when we hear fear it implies something that is negative, but as with the Kings of Old, the fear of the Lord is the respect and love that we should have for Him and who He is. When we love God, we will seek true knowledge. This knowledge then becomes our firm foundation which we can build a solid and balanced life on. Those that are foolish hate this wisdom and the teaching that it brings, because it means that they must give up their foolish ways.
8Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Oh, to have learned this earlier in life would save all of us from mistakes that we have made, and mom and dad some grief. But those lessons are never too late to apply. The wisdom and insight that mom and dad had and passed onto us is invaluable. It’s not always perfect, but in preparing for life, it’s a pretty good base to build from.
9They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Instruction and teaching – a garland of grace on the head and the chain around the neck are both symbols of winning in athletic competition in particular. However, this analogy also applies to life. As we listen to Godly teaching and wisdom and then apply it to our lives, we will be winners in those areas of life that really make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we impact. May we spread that wisdom to our children also.
10My son, if sinful men, entice you, do not give in to them. 11If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; 12let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14cast lots with us; we will share the loot”— 15my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. 17How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! 18These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 19Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
This passage is a long one, but it covers all one subject/dialogue. Solomon is warning his sons to be careful of the company that they keep. If we associate with those that choose to practice evil, then we will get snared with them in their evil ways. It may look attractive at first, but in the end it will lead to destruction of ourselves. Those bad practices will turn on us and we will be trapped by what we do. This is good advice for us and also to pass onto our children and grandchildren.
[spp-tweet “Bad company corrupts good character – let us be careful who we spend our time with and make sure it is strengthening us and not destroying us.”]
20Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. 21She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: 22“How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? 23Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.
God so desires that we have His wisdom that He shouts it in the streets to us. It is to all who will listen and learn – to the entire crowd of humanity. We must realize in our natural state we are simple with simple minds. We mock sound teachings, and hate knowledge, but God begs us to come and listen to His counsel to share with Him to become wise. This wisdom is found only in God’s Word for that is how He shares with us today. It is up to each of us to learn His ways and be wise.
24“I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. 25You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. 26So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—27when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you.”
God tells us in His Word (James 1) that if we lack wisdom to ask Him and he will pour it out on us. This passage relays what will happen if we do not heed wisdom’s calling. God’s wisdom calls to us through His Word. It calls us often, it reaches out to us, and it offers us advice and correction for our lives. If we heed it, we will be wise. If not, that same wisdom will laugh at us when we are in trouble. When our lives reflect the rejection of wisdom and we end up with disaster in our lives, calamity will overtake us, and disaster will engulf us. We will be overwhelmed with anguish and distress. But we do have a choice. Let us choose wisdom. Let us daily ask God and heed the advice that is so clearly visible in His Word.
We continue with the dialogue of wisdom shouting to us to turn from our foolish ways to the way of wisdom. Here are the final consequences that we may reap if we do not turn our lives to the wisdom found in God’s Word.
28“When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.”
There may come a point where if we reject God’s wisdom then it will be hard to turn and find it. It is imperative that we seek His wisdom and ask Him to fill us with abundant wisdom.
29For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. 30They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. 31Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. 32For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
The consequences of a life of unwise or foolish decisions will catch up to us and our lives will be governed by the foolish decisions that we have made. It is never too late to gain wisdom, but the longer we wait the more difficult it becomes to turn from foolishness to wisdom.
33“But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”
The opposite of the chaos of a foolish life is a life that is based on following the wisdom of God’s Word. It will allow us to live in peace untroubled by fear of harm, regardless of our circumstances – because our life is based on the provider of all wisdom.
Be well my friends!
Shalem Shalom! – May you have continual peace!