by Steven Chan
- The opening verses of the book of Proverbs tell us the purpose of the book and who is its author:
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; 4 To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion— 5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:1-7)
The purpose is for instruction of wisdom so that one may be prudent and act with discretion or discernment.
- Many have wondered about how to make right choices in life. The world provides many choices. How does one choose wisely? An inexperienced person may be led astray by the “wisdom of the world”. The Bible tells us that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor 1:25)
- True wisdom that comes from above (James 3:13-18) is premised on the “fear of the Lord”. If one does not believe in God or respect God or be willing to submit to God then one would not know the wisdom that comes from our Creator. God’s way and thoughts are higher than man’s (Isa 55:8-9).
- If we want the wisdom of God then we must seek it diligently: “If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” (Prov 2:4-5) One should not expect to gain God’s wisdom by making little or no effort whatsoever.
- The wise king Solomon assures us that God will give us wisdom and He will be our guide. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; 8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.” (Prov 2:6-8)
- These are some of the words of wisdom for everyone: –
- “Do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands” (Prov 3:1). If we observe His law then we will be guided by Him and we will be able to navigate our way through this life.
- “Let not mercy and truth forsake you” (Prov 3:2) God desires that we be merciful (Matt 5:7; 6:14-15) and be willing to forgive those who offend us. If we cannot forgive those who have offended us then God will also not forgive us: “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matt 18:35). We must also act in truth and be guided by the truth.
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5). We need to learn to believe God and trust Him and His promises. We should walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17). We should avoid thinking that our ways are better for there is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is the way of death (Prov 14:12)
- “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov 3:6). We need to pray to God and seek His Wisdom at all times (James 1:5; Heb 4:16). We need to include the will of God in our plans. “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov 3:7)
- “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (Prov 3:9). We need to appreciate God’s blessings by offering the “firstfruits” of our blessings to Him. Offering to God should not be the last item in our list of expenditures. It should be first on our list. That’s how we honor Him.
- “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord” (Prov 3:11). On occasions we will stray away from God’s path and we will need to get back onto the right track. God disciplines us from time to time through various trials (Heb 12:3-13; James 1:2-4) to get us back on track. Let us not despise those occasions when God corrects us. Do not turn away from God during such occasions.
- Let us be guided by God’s Word so that we can make right choices in our lives. You will note that God did not say that He will “speak directly” to us and tell us how to make right choices. He says that we should observe His law and keep it; that we should be merciful and deal in truth; that we should trust Him, and acknowledge Him and to honor Him with all of our possessions, and that we are not to despise His corrections when we go off track.