I love the beginning of the first Proverbs: “The proverbs… that people may know wisdom and discipline, may understand intelligent sayings.” It’s so clear to me that God meant for us to soak up the Proverbs often. In a shallow world, we long for deep wisdom. If we look within ourselves, we will admit that we feel uncomfortable with our lack of knowledge.
But we can choose to learn and grow and stretch ourselves. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and discipline.” I am foolish all the time. I avoid discipline even though I am happier when I practice it. This morning’s reading fills me with hope and it feels like a challenge.
Sterling, don’t be foolish today. Fear the Lord, seek wisdom and discipline. To me that means… make good choices. And really, most of us know when we’re making good choices and when we’re making bad choices. It’s not a mystery.
“…they set a trap for their own lives… everyone greedy… it takes away their lives.” When I am weak, I’m greedy for so many things. I’m greedy for alone time, I’m greedy for food, I’m greedy for safety. I long for things that I can control instead of handing them over to God. It’s good for us to acknowledge these things and realize that this trap we set ourselves, it takes away our life, our peace.
“Because they hated knowledge, and the fear of the Lord the did not choose.” How often is this true for us? We simply sit down and don’t choose. We go through life being reactive to what’s in front of us and we don’t actively choose to fear the Lord. We don’t want to hear the bad news. We don’t want to educate ourselves. We’d rather feel numb. We’d rather put our head in the sand. But this leads to our emptiness. Our soul yearns for more.
“But whoever obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm.” I take a deep sigh as I read this. God is with me. He loves me. He wants my obedience and like a good Father, He will protect me and guide me. I have hope and I purpose to work harder today, to live an active life of loving Him instead of a shallow life where I leave Him at home in bible and don’t keep Him with me throughout the day.
PURPOSE OF THE PROVERBS OF SOLOMON*
king of Israel:
2That people may know wisdom and discipline,*
may understand intelligent sayings;
3May receive instruction in wise conduct,
in what is right, just and fair;
4That resourcefulness may be imparted to the naive,*
knowledge and discretion to the young.
5The wise by hearing them will advance in learning,
the intelligent will gain sound guidance,
6To comprehend proverb and byword,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
fools despise wisdom and discipline.
THE PATH OF THE WICKED: GREED AND VIOLENCE*
8Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and reject not your mother’s teaching;
9A graceful diadem will they be for your head;
a pendant for your neck.
10My son, should sinners entice you,
11do not go if they say, “Come along with us!
Let us lie in wait for blood,
unprovoked, let us trap the innocent;
12Let us swallow them alive, like Sheol,
whole, like those who go down to the pit!
13All kinds of precious wealth shall we gain,
we shall fill our houses with booty;
14Cast in your lot with us,
we shall all have one purse!”
15My son, do not walk in the way with them,
hold back your foot from their path!
16[For their feet run to evil,
they hasten to shed blood.c]
17In vain a net is spread*
right under the eyes of any bird—
18They lie in wait for their own blood,
they set a trap for their own lives.
19This is the way of everyone greedy for loot:
it takes away their lives.
WISDOM IN PERSON GIVES A WARNING*
20Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the open squares she raises her voice;d
21Down the crowded ways she calls out,
at the city gates she utters her words:
22* “How long, you naive ones, will you love naivete,
23How long will you turn away at my reproof?
[The arrogant delight in their arrogance,
and fools hate knowledge.]
Lo! I will pour out to you my spirit,
I will acquaint you with my words:
24‘Because I called and you refused,
extended my hand and no one took notice;e
25Because you disdained all my counsel,
and my reproof you ignored—
26I, in my turn, will laugh at your doom;
will mock when terror overtakes you;
27When terror comes upon you like a storm,
and your doom approaches like a whirlwind;
when distress and anguish befall you.’
28Then they will call me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me, but will not find me,
29Because they hated knowledge,
and the fear of the LORD they did not choose.
30They ignored my counsel,
they spurned all my reproof;
31Well, then, they shall eat the fruit* of their own way,
and with their own devices be glutted.
32For the straying of the naive kills them,
the smugness of fools destroys them.
33But whoever obeys me dwells in security,
in peace, without fear of harm.”f