Purpose and Theme
Vs 1-7: The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men
Vs 8-19: Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”—my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
Vs 20-33: Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
The first section of this chapter, verses 1-7, explains that we, the reader, are to be right, just and fair. To do this, we must seek wisdom. Having wisdom will help us to understand proverbs, parables and riddles. I don’t often find myself struggling to understand many proverbs, parables and riddles (except recently). I think this is saying we should be open to the advice, or counsel, of others because it will help us understand what is truly fair and just. Kind of like the saying ‘two heads are better than one’. Seeking another’s opinion, or God’s help, is better than trying to make a decision alone and possibly not seeing the entire situation. Who has God used to help you better understand a situation? When has your wisdom helped someone avoid a time of trouble?
The next section, verses 8-19, is a warning. Listen to your father, do not forsake your mother; they are to grace and adorn you. Beware of the enticement of sinners. Do not go with them, they lie in wait of their own blood. They take away lives. I think the part about the parents should be plastered on the walls of all teenagers. Don’t give your parents a hard time, they do what they do because they love you. Two of my kids are teenagers and the other is 12, so I’m seen as someone who doesn’t know much quite often. We also receive a strong warning to stay away from those who try to convince us to sin along with them. If an opportunity seems to good to be true, then it probably is. We are not to seek things dishonestly or improperly. It may bring physical or financial gain, but it will also cause us to lose something spiritually and/or emotionally. How have you recently been enticed to sin? When have you walked away from a tempting situation you knew was wrong?
The last verses we’re covering today, verses 20-33, warn us of what will happen when we reject the wisdom that is offered to us. Wisdom calls and cries out. If we don’t rebuke wisdom, we could have her heart and know her thoughts. When we reject and ignore wisdom, we will be laughed at and mocked by her when seeking her during times of calamity, disaster or trouble. Ignoring wisdom will kill and destroy. Those who listen to wisdom will live in safety. God is always offering us wisdom through the people He surrounds us with as well as the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. This wisdom is to help us make decisions that will keep us on the path God intends for us. When we ignore His wisdom, we are likely to stray and lose our way. We shouldn’t dismiss God’s wisdom at the time He offers it to us. His timing is perfect. So when troubles come because we have chosen to ignore God’s help, it’s our own fault. He has already offered us the help we needed to get through the trouble because He knew it was coming. We are to continually listen when He calls upon us and seek His advice in all we do. How have you seen God use someone to avoid a troublesome situation?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wisdom you offer to us. I pray for the ability to discern your wisdom, Amen.