(1, 3:5-6) Pastor Heo
1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— 6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. 10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. 11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; 12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14 cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— 15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! 18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it. 20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: 22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. 30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 28:26 “He who trusts in himself is a fool; but he who trusts in the LORD is a wise man.”
Today, we will study Proverbs. What is the meaning of “proverb”? Synonyms: adage, maxim, saying, expression, motto, principles. Hebrew “mashal” = “moral parable”.
The keyword of this book: WISDOM
This is the book of WISDOM.
Do you have wisdom? Do you want to be wise? May God bless us to be wise – wiser than before – wiser than now.
Who is the author? Solomon.
- His name appears 3 times. (Chp 1:1, “Proverbs of Solomon”, Chp 10:1, Chp 25:1).
- There are two mentions of “the sayings of the wise” (chp 22:17, chp 24:23).
- Chp 30:1 “The sayings of Agur”
- Chp 31:1 “The sayings of king Lemul”
There is no information of Agur or Lemul – some say they may both reference Solomon, but there is no evidence for that.
Solomon is the MAIN author, but not the ONLY author – these include collected sayings, edited by Solomon.
There are 31 chapters with 915 verses in total. According to 1 Kings 4, Solomon spoke over 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. At that time, all the people came to him to listen to his wisdom.
Solomon used a combination of poetry, parables, wise maxims, etc to make these memorable – wise sayings for living life.
What is wisdom? Who is wise?
FIRST – the basic beginning = “the fear of God.” This is mentioned several times.
This word “fear”: negative or positive? BOTH.
- Chp 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
- Chp 9:10 “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
- Chp 10 “…adds length to our lives.”
- Chp “…
- Chp 19 “… leads to life.”
- Chp 29:5 “The fear of man is a snare.”
- Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear man who can kill your body, but not your soul. Rather fear God who can destroy all in hell.”
- The “fear of God” drives out the “fear of man” and vice versa. These two cannot co-exist.
- Remember, “the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.”
What is wisdom? More than intelligence; more than knowledge; more than understanding. It is our ability to APPLY our understanding and knowledge in real life.
What is the opposite of wisdom? Foolishness. What is the biblical meaning of foolishness?
Actually, there are TWO kinds of wisdom:
- earthly wisdom (from the devil);
- heavenly wisdom (from God). James “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously without finding fault.”
So, what is a fool? Who is a fool?
First, the one who is handicapped mentally is NOT a fool. The Bible proclaims clearly “The one who says in his heart, ‘there is no God’ is a fool.” (This is repeated TWICE in Psalms – chp 51?)
- “He who does not know God is a fool.”
- “The one who does not understand the will of God is a fool.”
The fool of fools denies the existence of God practically and through this mouth and life.
To look up into the heavens, the stars in the heavens and say, “There is NO God because I can’t see him” is MORE foolish that to see the airplane in the sky and say “There’s no pilot there because I can’t see him.”
If we see the universe and say, “This universe made itself by accident” is MORE foolish than to see this building and say, “This building came into existence of its own accord by accident because I have not seen the builders.”
This is TRUE foolishness.
So, to define wisdom, there are THREE points:
#1: Wisdom is a SKILL
(In other words, it requires training)
In every area of life, we need skill to do what we do rightly, effectively, properly, timely, well. Aaron is typing this – but I cannot type like that – this is his skill.
What is the difference? He has skill, I don’t.
The one who drives a car has a skill to drive. The one who cannot drive has no skill to drive.
This is the same in many areas of life: music, sports, language, cooking, fashion, vocation, career, social skills.
When we say, “Wisdom is a skill” this is NOT saying it’s a “technical skill” but a “holy skill” – God has given us wisdom for us to deal with everyday life and its affairs practically.
How do we relate to our children? Bosses? Spouses? Neighbors? Government?
To do this properly, we need SKILL – HOLY SKILL. This is not only technical, but godly.
If we have SKILL, we have the ability to create something beautiful. To live a godly life in this ungodly world, we need godly skill.
- Remember, no skill is developed without TRAINING or PRACTICE.
- No skill is perfected without DISCIPLINE.
This is the key point in this area.
Yes, many people like skill and chase after skills, but don’t like discipline. If we want skillful skill but don’t like discipline, we are fools. That’s why continually “wisdom” and “discipline” go together.
- Chp 1:2 – this is the purpose WHY Proverbs was written “to gain wisdom and discipline”
- Chp 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
- Chp 3:11 “my son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline because the LORD disciplines those he loves as a father does to a son he delights in.”
- Chp (1)3:18? “he who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame”
- Chp 15:32 “he who ignores discipline despises himself”
- Chp 19:18 “discipline your son, your daughter, because in that there is hope”
- Chp 29:17 “discipline your child and he will give you peace, he will bring delight to your soul.”
- Heb 12 “Just as a physical father disciplines his children for his improvement and development, so our spiritual father God disciplines us for our good so that we may share in his holiness. Yes, no discipline feels pleasant at that time, but in time it produces a harvest of peace and righteousness.”
We are (as Christians) disciples of Jesus Christ. We are familiar with this term, correct? If we are disciples, then we are on the way of discipleship. This is interesting: “discipline” and “disciple” come from the same root word – therefore, no “discipline” = no “disciple”.
Remember, wisdom is a skill, no skill without training, no perfection without discipline.
#2: Wisdom is JUDGMENT
To choose the BEST one between two choices.
When Solomon became king, he gave 1,000 burnt offerings to God. God appeared to him in a dream and asked, “What do you want? Anything.” Solomon said, “Give me wisdom, a discerning heart” to judge the best choice.
The first event in which his wisdom was shown was a judgment between right and wrong.
Two mothers came in with one baby – each claiming “This living baby is mine! That other woman rolled over on hers while sleeping and killed it!” Solomon said, “Bring me a sword, and cut this living baby in half and give each woman half.” One woman said, “No, give the baby to her.” The second said, “Yes, kill the baby.” Solomon said, “Give the baby to the first woman, she is his mother.”
Yes, this is easy to LISTEN to because it is a PAST event that we are familiar with. But if we were Solomon, this kind of decision is NOT easy. We are limited in our time and we OFTEN must choose between TWO choices – right and wrong, honest dishonest, diligent lazy, hot-tempered self-controlled, patient impatient, to eat or not, to go or not, to do or not. We are to DECIDE. We must choose between two things all the time. Thus, Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
Also Proverbs 3: “Honor the LORD with the first fruits of your labor” – every time we receive our salary, we CHOOSE whether to tithe or not.
This is wisdom. That’s why we need wisdom from God.
#3: Wisdom is PREPARATION
The Bible is teaching that the wisdom of wisdoms is preparation for ETERNITY.
Preparation for the future (retirement, insurance, etc) is a kind of wisdom, but preparation for ETERNITY is the best kind of wisdom. Saying: “more preparation equals less disaster.”
Remember, death is not the end. Hell is not emptiness, it’s eternal suffering and torment.
- There was once a smart student, promising, dreaming. A man asks, “what is your dream?”
- Student, “To get the top grade and become the best.”
- Man “After that?”
- Student, “To get the best job, make much money, marry well, become rich, etc.”
- Man, “Great, after that?”
- Student, “To get honor and reputation from everyone, to become a celebrity.”
- Man “Wonderful, after that?”
- Student, “To eat, drink, enjoy life, take it easy.”
- Man “After that?”
- Student “To retire”
- Man “After that?”
- Student “To die, one day”
- Man “Good, after that”
- Student, “No dream, I don’t know.”
If we have no dream after physical death, we actually have NO dream. This is the story of the Bible.
Luke 12 “There was a very rich man who thought to himself, ‘I’m so rich I have nowhere to store everything, so I’ll tear everything down and build a bigger one and store everything in there and say to myself, WOW I have so many good things stored up for many years – take life easy, eat, drink, be merry!’ God said, ‘You fool! This very night, your life will be demanded of you and who will get the stuff you’ve prepared for yourself in this life?’”
We also know the story of 10 virgins in Matthew. Half of them were foolish (didn’t prepare enough oil for their lamps for the whole night) and half were wise.
How long do you expect to live more from now? 100 more years? Think about it honestly. How many more years do you expect from now? (Hopefully 60…)
This is true: No matter how many years we live in this life, our lives are “dust in the wind” (Ecclesiastes – next week) and a “twinkling of an eye” in eternity.
- What is 1,000 – 100? What is 1,000 – 500? What is eternity – 1,000? Eternity.
- Eternity – 1,000,000 = Eternity.
- Eternity – 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 = Eternity.
- James “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a short time and then disappears.”
- 1 Peter 1:24 “All people are like grass and flowers. These die and wither, but the Word of the LORD stands forever.”
Thus, wisdom is PREPARATION for Eternity – to know Jesus Christ, to believe in him, accept him as Savior.
The keyword of Proverbs = WISDOM.
In Proverbs 8, Wisdom is personified – it is divine, almighty, moral, holy, eternal. This wisdom is available to anyone who is able to accept it. And THIS wisdom became flesh in Jesus Christ.
- 1 Cor 1:30 “Jesus Christ is our wisdom. To those who are perishing, this message is foolishness, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
- 1 Cor “In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom.”
This wisdom is available to us forever and ever if we accept Christ as our personal Savior.
Yes, our lives are less than one minute when compared to eternity. YET – these lives are INFINITELY important because we only have ONE chance to choose this wisdom, to choose Christ, to prepare for eternity, to live forever and ever in the kingdom of heaven and see him face to face.
May God bless us all to be more wise than before.