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The Proverbs of Solomon

August 1st, 2016

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles. (Proverbs 1:1-6)

Solomon’s heart cried out for wisdom as a young man, and it it still the right thing to desire for us today. The passing of 3,000 years have not changed our need; in fact, if anything, it has increased it! The only way to fix humanity is to fix people. The only way to make society wise is to make individual members of society wise. In that sense every person has an obligation - both to himself and to society at large - to become a wise person. When you and I, at any age, seek to become wiser we are choosing the path of blessing - both for ourselves and for others.

Note the many words he used to describe wisdom:

Wisdom - the whole of biblical teaching that shows us ourselves and God

Instruction - the teaching that reveals the different parts of wisdom

Insight - the teaching that enlightens our understanding of human behavior

Instruction in wise dealing - the practical teaching that tells us how wise people should act

Righteousness - maintaining the standard of God

Justice - doing what is right for others

Equity - doing what is right and fair in all situations and for all people. The word is related to the Hebrew word mishra which denotes rewards, punishments, and equity in all of society.

Prudence - to understand what is right in each situation. This contains the idea of simple honesty, to be the same through and through.

Knowledge - the wisdom of what is right

Discretion - the awareness of how to identify and negotiate deceptions

These teachings tell us about the nature of god, his holiness and knowledge. He is knowledgeable in all aspect of the human heart - knowing both what He had originally designed us to be and how sin has impacted us. His knowledge is also redemptive in nature, teaching us how to negotiate the treacherous waters of this fallen world. There is much to learn here if we will live righteously, joyfully, and helpfully to others.

Christ used the illustration about the mote or speck in our brother’s eye.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:3-5)

Consider how much this parable of Christ has to say about the book of Proverbs, the pursuit of wisdom. We can help no one without first gaining wisdom ourselves, and wisdom tells us not only about what is right, but how to understand what is right, how to apply what is right, and how to achieve what is right.

In heaven we shall “know perfectly just as we are perfectly known” (1 Cor. 13:12). The wisdom of Proverbs shall be implanted in our hearts. But until that day we must learn and grow and commit ourselves to being wise people.

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