Proverbs 1: Truly Wise
August 1, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
As we start this Book of Proverbs, it is worth asking what the purpose of this book is. Providentially, and by divine intention and inspiration, the book answers that problem for us from the very beginning. This book is not simply a collection of random best-thought-for-the-day sayings. It is intended to generate “wisdom,” “understanding,” “prudence,” “knowledge,” and “discretion” (1:2, 4). It is for “the young” but also for the “wise” to “listen and add to their learning” (1:4-5). In short, Proverbs is a collection of sayings and insights that are for the express purpose of helping anyone, young as well as more seasoned, to become wise, grow in wisdom, and therefore have the tools to live life to the highest effectiveness and meaning that is possible. Given that this is the purpose of the book, we may ask why it is so seldom read! If you wish to be wise, read this book! It is said that Billy Graham would read a chapter of Proverbs each day. No wonder he was so wise! Read this book of Proverbs and become wise!
But having identified this purpose (to make us wise), what is wisdom? That will be defined as we go through the book, but its basis, foundation, and essence are summarized in the famous words of verse 7:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
If you are to be wise, then it all starts from, and is based upon, the fear of God. That is, the respectful, genuine fear of God as God—not the terror of someone who is frightened of a monster, but the fear of someone who is fearful of a great and good personage; how much should we tremble before a holy (and loving) God! Do not enter into this book thinking you know everything already. Fools despise wisdom! Come ready to learn from God in the fear of God.
The next two sections (verses 8 to 19 and verses 20 to 33) each outline the contrary options that are sometimes powerfully presented to us. People will come to us to try to persuade us to leave the path of God (1:10) but shut your ears and listen to God and God’s teachers (often your parents if they were godly). How can you find this voice of wisdom? In a sense it is everywhere around you (1:20). All of reality is made by the wise God, and therefore everything around us speaks to some degree of the wisdom of God. There is a “common sense” that we can have because of the way “things work” in this universe that are according to the design of the all-wise creator. Our universe is fallen, so not everything is in accord with his originally perfect design anymore, but still we can see his purpose in this natural universe around us.
All this is to prepare us for what is ahead. To listen to God’s wisdom as confirmed by the nature of reality around us and as revealed through God’s Word, and especially in this Book of Proverbs.
Would you pray that God would make you wise? Wise to live your personal life to the best, wise to lead your family well, wise at work, wise at home. We desperately need people not only of passion but also of wisdom. Would you be that person? A man or woman who fears God and grows in wisdom? Ask God to make you truly wise!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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