“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:” – The opening verse of the book of Proverbs tells us a great deal about the book. Sure, it names the author of the proverbs, but in doing so it gives us much more.
In 1 Kings 3:4-15 and 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 we read that God visited Solomon in a dream and spoke to him saying, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kgs 3:5b) Of all he could have asked for Solomon requested wisdom from God – “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours.”(1 Kgs 3:9) The Lord granted Solomon’s request and said “I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.”(1 Kgs 3:12) Solomon was wiser than any other man because the wisdom he possessed was from God.
Yes, Solomon is named as the writer of the proverbs (at least most of them), but God is the author. As we read through the proverbs we are not just reading some wise sayings from a wise man; we are partaking of the wisdom of God passed down through His servant Solomon. Lately it seems as if many have traded in the book of Proverbs for ecards and quotes from Facebook, Pinterest, and other popular social media sites. They are choosing the supposed wisdom of the world over the true wisdom of God. While some of those quotes have a biblical basis, many of them are simply wrong and if followed will lead people into sin and eternal condemnation. Take for instance the following quote found on the internet: “If you can’t get someone out of your head, then maybe they’re supposed to be there.” It sounds pretty clever on the surface but compare it to what we find in Proverbs 16:2,3 – “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.” The first quote may cause someone to continue in their lust or enter into a relationship they have no business being in. The second quote will always lead us to God because it’s from God. Don’t ever mistake the proverbs as being just cute saying meant to entertain, and on the flip side, don’t confuse cute sayings with the wisdom of God which leads us in the ways of righteousness.
The Book of Proverbs is filled with practical advice, short illustrations, and simple truths to help guide us in our walk with God. In it we read of the source of righteousness: “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.”(2:6-9) We also find many blessings that may come as a result of living a righteous life: “Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.”(10:6-7) Through the Book of Proverbs we have the wonderful blessing of being able to approach God, ask our questions, and receive clear, understandable answers. Do you have a question about God Himself, His wisdom, marriage, children, friends, business, economics, entertainment, or citizenship? Answers to all these and more can be found in the Book of Proverbs. Good, solid answers that we can have faith in; answers from the Lord Himself.
Many times when trying to teach others from the proverbs we are met with the objection, “Yes, I know that’s what it says, but these are just general truths and cannot be applied to every situation.” Are there exceptions to the truths revealed in the book of Proverbs? Yes. Those who fear the Lord may die at any early age (10:27). The righteous may go hungry while the wicked has plenty (13:25). And there are those who love the finer things in life who are rich with this worlds goods (21:17). But do these exceptions nullify the truths given? Absolutely not! Those who fear the Lord and pursue righteousness will be blessed by God and the wicked will ultimately perish: “The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” (10:24-25)
Again, yes there are exceptions to the things stated in the Book of Proverbs, but they are just that, exceptions. The principles set forth in the proverbs will prove true over and over again. They are God’s principles, His proverbs, His wisdom; handed down through his servant Solomon and revealed to us through His inspired word. Let us read them, implement them, and share them with others.
“To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man discretion – 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. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (1:2-7)