READ: Proverbs 1

BACKGROUND: Proverbs is a compilation of wisdom literature written mostly by Solomon but by some others as well. 1 Kings 4:32 says that Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. Many of them are included in this book. The Hebrew word for proverb means “comparison” and it’s generally used to refer to any moralizing declaration. The point of this book and the many comparisons is not to provide quote-worthy material or come up with pithy and popular sayings. It is to filter God’s wisdom and the Law in a way that makes it highly applicable for those wishing to follow after him in this life. It is a guidebook to wise living.

By verse:
2-6 – This is the stated purpose of this book. It was written in order “to…”
7 – This is the single most important verse in the book! It is the theme of Proverbs. It is the foundation upon which the book is built. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
1:8-9:18 – This is a large section written by Solomon on the basic principles & guidelines for wisdom.
8-19 – One of the main principles – and, it should be noted, the very first one that gets pointed out in Proverbs – which pops up time and time again in wisdom literature is keeping good company and avoiding bad company.
22-33 – This is a quotation from “Wisdom.” Wisdom is speaking in the 1st person here.

THINK: An investment company’s full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal began with these words: “Information is everywhere. Insight is all too rare. For insight goes beyond information to discern underlying truths.”

Today, we are long on information and short on insight. Television offers scores of channels. Encyclopedias and world atlases are on compact disks (CDs). Online databases give us the temperature in Hong Kong and the baseball score in Birmingham. We’re wired and tired from trying to grasp the meaning of all we know.

Years ago, a friend encouraged me to read a chapter from Proverbs each day. One chapter each day takes me through this marvelous book of God’s wisdom every month. “You can get knowledge in college,” my friend said, “but wisdom comes from God.”

Here’s what Almighty God promises when we seek His wisdom: “If you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, . . . then you will . . . find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:3-6).

ASK: Why would someone not want to be wise? (Prov. 1:7). What happens to those who live foolishly? (vv.31-32). What are some benefits of wisdom? (v.33; 2:6-11).

– Written by David C. McCasland in Our Daily Bread, August 1, 1996

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