There are two pathways open to a person: The Way of the Wise and the Way of the Fool. Obviously the Book of Proverbs wants the reader to take the way of the wise. Why would anyone take the way of the fool? A number of reasons would take us down foolish roads today. Firstly, we chose foolish roads because we do not know how to delay gratification. We become sad and slow and seperated in the long run because we see happiness in the short-term. We spend, eat, and date like there is no tomorrow and when tomorrow comes we are left with the consequences of our actions. Secondly, we also are encouraged to travel the way of the fool when we live as though the material world is all that exists. The greater realities are the ideals and virtues that we pursue. We do not see character, for example, we see its effects, yet a good character is worth having. We sometimes sacrifice an unseen entity like character for the financial, sensual or societal rewards that are less important. Thirdly, we are foolish when we get caught in the unthinking rat-race that keeps telling us to get ahead without any thought as to why. Related to this are public school campaigns that mindlessly pump our kids with slogans like, “Character Counts in McHenry!” The rat race and the whole aim of public schooling seem to evaporate with one question, “Why?”
Proverbs take us to a place where great character is built on wisdom. It takes discipline, like training for a marathon takes discipline. We need to learn, through hard study, the way the universe is. Since we believe that God created the universe, it is fear of God that is the starting point for true wisdom. Wisdom is revealed to people by God as they unfold the secrets of his universe. There is hope here. Wisdom is not just an intuitive gift, although some people become wise more rapidly than others; wisdom can be learned. The Book of Proverbs is a text that, if studied, can take people who are naturally foolish and make them wise.
1The 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,[a]
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.[b]
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.
- Give three reasons why Proverbs was written.
- Who is the book dedicated to?
- How are the wise and the fool contrasted?
- How have you been foolish in recent years?
- In what areas of your life do you need to learn more wisdom (e.g. relational, financial, vocational, spiritual, moral, etc)?