This is the inaugural entry for a series containing some thoughts (pensées) over the enigmatic yet highly practical book of Proverbs. When I don’t have time for extended periods of reading, Proverbs is my “go to” biblical text. There is no framework or program in this series. I may choose to write a great deal or just comment on one proverbial saying that stood out to me. You may comment, of course, but this is my journal of my musings only and no claim to perspicuity or lucidity is implied. What makes sense to me may be nonsense to you.
The primary purpose for this series is for me to stay regularly in the inspired text, since my life, like yours, is busy and often lacks the discipline and/or opportunity to hear a word from the Lord. It is my desire to post in this series no less than once per week, which requires me reading God’s Word no less than once per week. A paltry goal no doubt, but one that is attainable; at least for me.
Wisdom, instruction, understanding, prudence. These are tools parents must pass on to their child or a teacher to her pupil. Really, there is only one tool here. It is wisdom. For wisdom entails instruction, understanding, prudence, and the like. Although no guarantees are made, wisdom is intended to assist the learned with staying out of harm’s way.
The “fear of the Lord” is repeated in verses 7 and 29. It is synonymous with wisdom. When I think of wisdom and fear together I think of an impending, violent storm or tornado. The beginning of wisdom is to fear the tornado approaching (with due respect to storm chasers). Wisdom means a healthy respect for what has power to overtake or protect you. Though the clandestine enticement of others may seem persuasive, it is the fear of God that should motivate us to avoid ill-gotten gain.
Throughout the first several chapters of Proverbs wisdom is personified. When a deaf ear is turned her way (v 26), she cries “I TOLD YOU SO!” Not that the wise do not have a mis-step along the way or a strike on the exam of life, but they do not ignore her call or repeat the offense (v 23). The fool, on the other hand, “disregards” the voice of Wisdom (v 25). So, in addition to experiencing the negative consequences of one’s choices (v 31), the lot of the fool is the eventual inability to hear her voice altogether (v 28). This is a staggering implication; to go through life suffering the fate a fool!
Solomon ends by encouraging his son with an ironic twist, that fearing God (or listening to the voice of wisdom) drives out the fear of harm.