The Book of Proverbs is a great book of wisdom for everyday living. Most of the Book is written by David’s son Solomon who succeeded him as king. When Solomon acceded to the throne of Israel, the LORD appeared to him and spoke these words: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1Kings 3:5). The young king responded by asking for a discerning heart to govern God’s people well (1Kings 3:7-9).
The LORD was pleased with Solomon’s request and declared that He would grant him great wisdom and also great riches and honor (1Kings 3:10-14). In the first part of his life, Solomon was very wise in many areas of life. The Queen of Sheba gave a glowing testimony of Solomon’s kingship: “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true………Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard” (1Kings 10:6,7). The first years of Solomon’s reign was characterized by wisdom and great blessing. Unfortunately, Solomon married many foreign women who worshiped many different idols and who eventually led Solomon away from full-hearted devotion to Yahweh (1Kings 11:1-6). He ended up becoming a disillusioned old man as witnessed by his testimony in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
But in his younger days, Solomon wrote many wonderful proverbs. These wisdom sayings are a great complement to the decrees given in the Mosaic Law. The commands given at Mt. Sinai to Moses by God covers many areas of life. Everyday life, however, is complex and it is impossible to give laws that cover every situation in life. God’s servant, therefore, needs to mature through learning God’s word and following God’s Spirit so that increasingly we can make wise decisions in the warp and woof of daily living.
The Book of Proverbs give us many wise sayings which seek to make us good stewards in areas like our material possessions, our sexuality, our work life and our friendships. It all begins with the words of Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” The only way we can truly become wise is through reverence of God and a teachable and humble attitude in relation to our fathers and teachers (Proverbs 1:8, 2:1-5).
The need for wisdom has always existed for God’s people. The need today seems even greater. Life in the world seems to be getting more and more complicated as we become more globally interconnected and as different worldviews increasingly clash. Proverbs is as relevant as 3000 years ago. My prayer for you and I are the words of Paul’s prayer: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John