Wise or Otherwise
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Do they think we are dummies, just plain stupid?
Now admittedly some things are just plain obvious. However, there some things that are not so obvious. For instance, how do you handle the complexities of life? How do you become skillful in right living?
It would nice to have a manual, wouldn’t it? Well, I have some good news for you. We do.
There are many places in the Bible where we are help with instruction that will help us live wisely. However, there is a book dedicated entirely to that subject.
Turn to Proverbs.
What is a Proverb?
Short pithy statement.
Wise, insightful pronouncement
“A stitch in time saves nine”
In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs.
The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.
How Do They Help You
Proverbs were written to encourage others:
(a) to acquire a disciplined skill in right living (for attaining wisdom and discipline)
(b) to gain mental acumen (for understanding words of insight).
Proverbs, focuses on the application of moral and ethical principles that result in skillful, godly living. A person with this wisdom has “expertise” in godly living. Such wise, skillful living is a life of “discipline” (cf. v. 3) and order.
Wisdom – a skilled person
Discipline translates mûsār, “moral discipline or correction.” In Hebrew the word “understanding,” also used in verses 5 (“discerning”) and 6 (“understanding”), means insight, or the ability to see “between” issues.
. . . in wise behavior
Understanding what is right, just and fair
Naïve – wide open, not very discerning
Where does it all begin?
With the fear of the Lord.
One cannot gain knowledge of spiritual things if he begins at the wrong point, refusing to fear the Lord (i.e., to recognize God’s character and respond by revering, trusting, worshiping, obeying, and serving Him). Rē’šîṯ also means the capstone or essence. The essence of true knowledge is fearing God. Apart from Him a person is ignorant of spiritual things (Rom. 1:22; Eph. 4:18; 1 Peter 1:14). The words of Proverbs 1:7a are repeated in 9:10 near the end of the first section (also cf. Job 28:28; Ps. 111:10).
One kind of fool (kesîl) is characterized by a dull and closed mind. He is thickheaded and stubborn. This word occurs more frequently in Proverbs than the other two words; it is used 49 times in this book. By his laziness and shortsightedness, this kind of fool rejects information from others (cf. 15:14). Another word for fool is nāḇāl. It is used only three times in Proverbs (17:7, 21; 30:22) and refers to one who lacks spiritual perception. A third kind of fool (’ěwîl) is arrogant and flippant as well as mentally dull. He is coarse and hardened in his ways. This word is used 19 times in Proverbs and only 7 times elsewhere. The “fools” in 1:7 are those who in their arrogant, coarse ways reject God and wisdom (cf. v. 29). Two kinds of people are contrasted in this verse: those who humbly fear God and thus acquire true knowledge, and the arrogant fools who by their refusal to fear God demonstrate that they hold wisdom and discipline in contempt (cf. “wisdom and discipline” in v. 2). These two kinds of people are contrasted throughout much of the book.
They can’t help you if you despise wisdom and instruction
They can’t help you if you are lazy and unwilling to apply what God says.
But, if you have the right attitude, this is what they can do for you: