Lessons from Proverbs: Introduction

Proverbs 1:1-7

What do you call sad coffee? Despresso

Teacher: “Which book has helped you the most in
your life?” Student: “My father’s checkbook.”

Today we are going to transition from our series on
faith to a series on wisdom.
We will spend the next 10 weeks discussing the
wisdom of Proverbs.

Today, we will take a look at the first 7 verses, but
before we do, we need to spend a little time preparing
for this unique part of Scripture.

Genre – wisdom, this is different from the
The Law – God’s commandments such as the two
stone tablets He handed to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
It’s also not:
The Prophets – prophets were sent by God to deliver
a message of good news or impending woe.
Wisdom is completely different type of literature

Wisdom- It helps the Bible reader fill in the gaps between the
law and the prophets.
It helps the reader know what God expects of them.

Author – Solomon is attributed as the Author in v.1
however, later on in the book we read of other
authors such as Agur and Lemuel. Most of the book
was written by Solomon.

Proverbs 1:1-7

You may recall the story of Solomon’s wisdom back in
I Kings 3. God appeared to Solomon in a dream and
told him He would give him anything he asked for.
Solomon asked for wisdom.
I Kings 4:29-32 “Now God gave Solomon
wisdom and very great discernment and breadth
of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all
the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the
Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of
Mahol: and his fame was known in all the
surrounding nations. He also spoke 3000
proverbs, and his songs were 1005.”

Solomon was the wisest man to walk the earth short
of Jesus.

Definitions

Proverb – simply put a proverb is an object lesson
based on comparison or analogy. The Hebrew noun
for proverb is closely related to a verb that means to
represent, to be like.

Proverbs are general rules, they are not promises or
absolutes.
For example, Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in
the way he should go, Even when he is old he
will not depart from it.”
It’s generally true, but there are exceptions.
Not every child who is trained up by godly parents
turn out to follow God closely. People make their own
decisions and they are ultimately responsible for
them, but generally speaking children who are raised
up to fear the Lord and whose parents lived a life of
faith and taught their children about God turn out to
follow God too. Children who aren’t taught about
God, who don’t get brought to church generally don’t
turn to Jesus.

Wisdom – most people equate wisdom with
knowledge and while knowledge is part of wisdom,
there is much more to it than just that.
The Hebrew word for wisdom is Hokmah – it’s a word
to describe a craftsman. Biblical wisdom is having the
skill or ability to accomplish a task.
Solomon asked for wisdom so he could rule over the
people God placed in his care. God gave him the skill
to rule properly and fairly according to God’s
standard.
In Exodus we read in multiple places where Moses
describes people’s skill as wisdom. People like
weavers, goldsmiths, sailors, etc.

While they each had a skill, it was more than just
pure skill, it was knowing how to do something and
doing it in a manner that pleased God.
We are going to come back to this idea in just a bit,
for now let’s look at another definition.

Instruction – Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon
defines it as correction of children by their parents,
nations by kings, of men by God. Instruction is
learning from mistakes. We are not inherently wise.
Wisdom is earned over years and years of listening to
God and following His plan for holiness.

Whenever we see the concept of instruction
throughout the book of Proverbs we see that those
who follow God’s instruction gain wisdom and those
who reject it are foolish/evil.

Now that we have defined the key words, let’s dig into
the text.

Vv.2-6 provide 2 Purposes for Wisdom

I’m going to oversimplify these as a way to help us
remember them more easily.

Act More Like God –
The Bible tells us to be holy just as God is holy.
To know wisdom means that our character is more
aligned with God’s character. It means we have
learned from our mistakes or the mistakes of others,
received correction, and live differently as a result.
Notice the phrase – to receive instruction in wise
behavior, righteousness, justice, and equity.
God is the author of wise behavior.
Jesus came to earth to role model the way we should
live. He showed us what righteousness looked like.

Also, our behavior in wisdom can help those younger
in the faith. It’s basically discipleship. Showing others
how to live out the faith by having true character and
following God in every area of our life.

Think More Like God –
Isaiah writes that God’s ways are higher than our
ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
As we learn from the Scriptures, God teaches us His
ways and His thoughts.
Paul wrote these words to the Philippian church
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is
honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if
there is any excellence and if anything worthy of
praise, dwell on these things.”
When we focus our thoughts on things above, we will
live for the one whose name is above all names.

The final verse of this introductory section is v.7
It should be familiar to you.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

When Solomon mentions fear he isn’t speaking of
terror that God would give people what they deserve.
He is referring to a deep reverence and awe of who
God is.

Foolish people think they know everything, they don’t
see a need or purpose for God. They have everything
under control, in their estimation.

The fear of the Lord is where wisdom begins.
Think of it this way.
You learn to play the piano, you learn all the notes
and chords and how to play the melody and how to
keep time. But it’s just the beginning. You don’t know
how to play like Bethoven knows. You’re just getting
started.

Fearing the Lord is the first step in wisdom.
You can’t have wisdom without a healthy dose of fear
and reverence for Him.
But over time, your relationship with Him will grow
and you will learn to act like God more – Paul told the
church to be imitators of God.
Also, our thoughts will be more focused on Him and
His ways. Have you ever gone to someone who you
respect and consider wise with a question?
You know they are wise and that they will give you
advice that corresponds to God’s word. You come to
them for that exact reason. It’s why you consider
them wise.