Proverbs is a very powerful collection of wisdom and knowledge. When one meditates on the words written within the collection, so many wonderful and profound things can happen. Life becomes better, decisions become easier, or at the very least we can learn what wisdom is and how it affects our lives. Proverbs teaches us many things and today we’ll look at some important lessons that the writer teaches us.
At the very beginning of this book, Solomon gives us the purpose of these writings and what they can do for us. Proverbs 1: 2-4 says,
“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.”
The purpose of this book is to teach wisdom, teach discipline, and help people do what is right. The proverbs give light to the path that leads to life. They give us advice on what to do in many situations and often the wrong things to do. The first lesson Solomon teaches is to fear the Lord.
Proverbs 1:7, 9:10 both discuss that fearing God leads to wisdom and knowledge. This is because when we fear the Lord and have respect for his command and ways, we follow them. This leads to wisdom and knowledge in life because we are following the Lord’s ways. But Solomon warns that if we reject wisdom or don’t listen to this advice, we are fools and we won’t have wisdom and knowledge in life.
A second lesson we can learn is one that is repeated over and over again in the early chapters of Proverbs, listen to the teachings and don’t forget them. Proverbs 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 7:1. All of these verses Solomon encourages his sons to listen to his teachings and wise sayings. They will gain wisdom, live a long life, and have much knowledge. It is a lesson of listening and applying to the heart the lessons within.
In chapter 9, Solomon talks about Lady wisdom and Lady folly. These are metaphors for wisdom and foolishness. It is interesting to note that both wisdom and foolishness have the same message to the same audience. They both call out to those who lack judgment (9:4, 9:16). Their message is also the same. “Let all who are simple come in here (Proverbs 9:4, 9:16). Wisdom calls the person to leave their foolish ways and fear the Lord. Folly, however, wants them to continue in their path. Folly makes life seem sweet and pleasant even though it is not. Folly is an illusion of good but underneath it leads to death. The way we gain judgment to determine wisdom from folly is through fear of the Lord and the Proverbs Solomon now gives.
The Proverbs cover a plethora of topics ranging from money, relationships, how to treat one another, love, wealth management, pride, gossip, peace and so many others. These proverbs are a collection of sayings that really have no topical organization to them. Spending time with them, meditating on their teachings, this is where wisdom comes from.
The last two chapters of Proverbs contain the sayings of Agur and Lemuel. Though they were probably not written by Solomon, they contain the elements of wisdom literature. They provide more wisdom and insight as Solomon did and are a good summary of details of the proverbs.
The book of Proverbs provides us wisdom and insight into God’s ways. They can teach us many things in life and can help us determine the right choice from the wrong choice in dealing with people. There is always a choice, and the choice can be one that aligns with wisdom, or a choice that is foolish. Wisdom and proverbs help us make the right choice if we fear the Lord.