May 21, 2015.
Daily Reading: Proverbs 1.
Background: The book of Proverbs is a “collection of collections” harboring the wisdom attributed to King Solomon, whose wisdom came directly from God (see I Kings 3). A consistent theme throughout the book is “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge/wisdom,” as it takes this fundamental understanding and fear to process the world that He has made. The proverbs are a call for wisdom and a collection of practical sayings that are designed to help the audience understand and tread though life. Many of these bits of wisdom, especially in the second half of the book, come in short couplets (or perhaps 4 or 6 lines) that harbor so much wisdom. When reading through the book of Proverbs, it is tempting to go fast over these short lines, but it would be more wise to slow down and take them one at a time for a deeper understanding and growth in the word. Whereas most of the book is ascribed to the words of Solomon, the last two chapters have different authors that are named in the first verse of each.
Concepts and Connections.
1. The beginning of knowledge: The book of Proverbs opens with a clear revelation of the motive and purpose for this collection of words, and that is to provide wisdom, instruction and words of insight that the listener might apply them to know and do justice, righteous and equity. The words of this book are to make prude the simple, educate the youth and increase the knowledge of the wise. Before there can be any understanding, however, the book opens with where true knowledge and wisdom must start: the fear of the Lord. Without the fear of the Lord, wisdom and knowledge will not be understood through the proper perspective. However, with the fear of the Lord, once can begin to ascertain the deeper truths of His creation.
2. The call of wisdom: After the opening motive, there is a warning against the enticement of sinners, who will give unwise counsel and pressure us into their schemes and unrighteousness. We are called to recognize this unrighteousness and avoid it, not consenting to what they would have us do. Though their plans promise treasure and reward, they will end in the pit, and the listener is called to hold to the teaching of his father and mother (which in this case would be represented by Solomon, or in more general terms, wise teaching). The wicked lay their traps, and fall into the very traps that they have set out. Their evil will come back on their own head, and thus the listener is warned. After this warning, we hear the call of wisdom, the opposite of the evil that is discussed above, personified as a woman crying aloud in the streets. We see that she wants to be heard and understood. She is not trying to be elusive, as some might suggest, but rather longs to be heard though the ears of men seem dull to her cry. Because she has called and men have refused to listen, however, the days were coming that their own wisdom would fail, and they would seek her, true wisdom, but she would not be found. They had their chance to embrace her, but they would not, and this would be their ultimate demise. Though it may seem that this is harsh, in reality, the reason that men would later seek and not be able to find her is because they didn’t embrace wisdom in the first place, to learn and grow in it. The personification is figurative here, as the end result is not from wisdom actually actively avoiding the minds of those who did not embrace it, but rather them not being able to find wisdom because they had not learned it in the first place. However, to the one who listens to her from the beginning, growing and maturing in wisdom, he will be delivered in the days to come, for he will know what to do. The call of wisdom here is a plea of Solomon to his sons that they might understand what they should be dwelling on now so that they might have a strong foundation in the future. Wisdom takes time to master, and a maturation process is needed to gain it. Thus, we must start the process before the time comes when we need it.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Jeremiah 37-41.
The Lord give you wisdom and understanding.