Yesterday was the first of the month, and as my custom is, I read Proverbs 1 to my four-month old son. As I read the chapter out loud, several important themes began to emerge, things that are reinforced throughout the rest of Proverbs, throughout the Old Testament, and throughout the entire bible.
Here are seven things I learned from the first seven verses of Proverbs.
- We can all be wise
“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline.”
Sure, there are some people that seem to be endowed with a greater intellect in life, but wisdom and intelligence aren’t synonymous. I’m sure we all know a handful of people who aced the SAT and excelled in AP Calc, but are dumber than a brick.
Fortunately, God said He’s give wisdom to anyone who asked in faith. And He’s not stingy with wisdom, either. According to James, God gives wisdom like a democrat gives out free cell phones during an election year.
True biblical wisdom comes from continually seeking God’s Word, and the benefits of godly wisdom (versus book smarts) are unparalleled.
- We can all be successful
“Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives.”
Contrary to popular belief, nowhere in the bible does God command anyone to be poor. God is constantly dishing out advice throughout the bible on how to financially prosper, so the church has the resources to reach the lost.
Case in point: Joshua 1:8, where God tells us precisely how to succeed and prosper in life. And if that’s not convincing enough, the entire book of Proverbs is a monthly devotional written by the smartest guy in the world who turned one of the smallest, weakest nations into a thriving empire whose people continue to dominate the financial market to this day.
- We can all live the right way
“Their purpose is… to help them do what is right, just, and fair.”
Did you know it’s possible to live the rest of your life and never sin again?
Jesus taught us to pray for that in the Lord’s Prayer. Furthermore, Jude exalts God as “Him who is able to keep you from falling.”
If you want to read more about this, check out this post.
- Even the “simple” and young can live this way
“These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.”
Wisdom, success, and righteous isn’t only reserved for those with IQs calling above the 150 threshold. Anyone, from the professor at Harvard to the kid struggling with sixth grade vocab, can enjoy the blessings of God.
Proverbs 8:12 says God gives us wisdom to find out “knowledge of witty inventions.” That means he’ll give brilliantly simple ideas to just about anyone seeking after wisdom.
A great example? The guy who decided to flip ketchup bottles over made $13 million. Pretty simple idea, huh? Imagine what you could accomplish if you followed the leading of God and looked at things from a slightly different (or upside down) angle.
- You need to seek God’s Word
“… by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables.”
Every blessing from God is the result of seeking His Word. Joshua 1:8 states that one must be constantly speaking God’s Word, thinking about God’s Word, and doing God’s Word. And James admonishes the church to not simply hear the Word, but actively participate in accomplishing the Word of God.
- You need the fear of the Lord
“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.”
It all comes down to the Lord. And if the fear of the Lord is the foundation, that means that ultimately any schooling, be it elementary school, high school, college, or even Sunday school is a waste of time without God.
Notice, too, that it doesn’t say “The Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.” It’s a fearful reverence and admiration of God that leads to biblical wisdom and knowledge. (Prov. 9:10, Psalm 111:10)
- Fools deny these simple truths
“But fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
This teaching is supposed to be simple. “God is good… He wants good for you… He’ll take care of you and teach you to be a successful adult… just stick with Him.”
Unfortunately, many Christians deny what the bible teaches. They believe that God is out to get them, that makes His kids poor, unhappy, unsuccessful, and sick, that He makes it impossible for them to live right and them punishes them when they fall short, and that ultimately He might just kill you.
The bible has a name for that. “Foolishness.”
These are lessons that God taught David during those years in the pastures and the wilderness and the palace. David in turn instilled them in his son Solomon, who recorded them for God’s people. And I intend to follow in David’s footsteps and teach them to my son.
“Follow God, and He will make you wise beyond your years. He will raise you up into a successful and prosperous man of God, and He will teach you to walk perfectly before Him.”
(1) These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
(2) Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
To help them understand the insights of the wise.
(3) Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives
To help them do what is right, just, and fair.
(4) These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
Knowledge and discernment to the young.
(5) Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
(6) By exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables
The words of the wise and their riddles.
(7) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and discipline.
I wrote a book! It’ll be the best book you read this year (Ephesians notwithstanding).