Proverbs 1:20-33 When Wisdom Speaks…

This portion of Proverbs 1 conjures up such mental images for me. I’m reminded of the scene in The Matrix, where Neo wants to run, and Trinity opens the car door and tells him he’s free to go. The camera pans toward the open door, and a long dark road can be seen through the pouring rain. As they both look toward the deserted road, Trinity says, “is this what you really want Neo? You’ve been down that road before, and we both know where it ends.”

Even though the scene in the movie is a dark and deserted street, I see a correlation with the description in verses 20-23. I can just see wisdom standing at the end of a bustling street, shouting for all she’s worth…”listen, listen to me.  Don’t do it, don’t go there, you won’t like the result! Turn back now, while there’s still time! Listen, LISTEN!”  And, as the people all rush past her, they look at her as if she’s totally lost her mind and her insanity is a contagious disease that they might contract by being near her.  But later, when all of her predictions have been realized, they lament their predicament, and ask where she was when they needed her, why was she not there to help them? Both of these scenes are about choices, about listening to that inner voice that wants to “pour its heart out and make its thoughts known.” Wisdom was there all along, they just didn’t recognize her as they rushed past with a disgusted look on their faces, and they never took the time to stop, to seek, or to listen.

So this is what I think the riddle means: When seeking wisdom it’s so important to stop, to consider, and to listen.  Seek the counsel of God, of your parents, your trusted friends. So many times we rush head-long into situations, never considering the consequences of our actions, and when it all turns out wrong, we’re ready to blame anybody, everybody, but ourselves. We wonder why Wisdom (or God), seems to have abandoned us, and in reality, we never sought her out, or if we did, we didn’t heed her direction.

The chapter ends with “but he who listens to me will dwell in safety, untouched by the terror of misfortune.”  Such truth these words speak. To live a “wise” life, we must seek wise counsel, be still and listen, hear what Wisdom (AKA God) has to say about it, and do not turn from the truth because it presents itself in a form that we may not recognize.


Proverbs 1:10-19 Who You Hang With

While reading this section of Proverbs 1, I was reminded of when I was a teenager, and I would try to persuade my mom that it was O.K. for me to do something because “everybody else was doing it,” and she’d say, “well, if so-and-so goes and jumps off a bridge, would you want to do that as well?” Thinking of it now makes me smile, and even though I didn’t appreciate the answer at the time, I certainly can now. Who you hang with says a lot about who you are, and to me these verses are a warning against a “gang” type of mentality, against acting as others act, because it’s cool, against going along blindly, before considering the consequences.

Peer pressure can sometimes be overwhelming in our society. Falling in line with everyone else, so that we may fit in, or so that we can have the things that others tell us we should have, even when we know that our actions are wrong, seems to be almost expected. But at what cost do we race after the images of an “ideal” life? Do we hurt others, and profit from their misfortunes? Are we willing to debase ourselves and take advantage of any means for fame and fortune? One thing I know for sure is that Karma’s a bad-ass, what we throw out there will most certainly be visited upon us. Verses 17-19 assure us of this, that when we are so foolish and smug in our belief that we the smartest that ever lived, we surely set a trap for ourselves, and sooner or later, the bill comes due.

We live according to the company we keep, and if we seek wisdom, we must know who we can listen to and who we should avoid.

It’s amazing to me how simple truths that were recorded thousands of years ago still are relevant today.


Proverbs 1:8-9 Listen to the Old Folks

I just love reading multiple translations of the bible. It gives such insight, like looking at an intricately woven tapestry, where the care and attention of the artist is visible in the finished piece. In the same manner as a master weaver, a translator must take into account the full measure of the intent of the words he chooses – not just the individual words, but also the intent of the sentences, paragraphs, and the chapters.

In the New International Version Proverbs 1:8-9 reads: Listen, my son to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching, they are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. These same two verses in the New Living Translation read: My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

By reading the same verses through different translations, we can see how they extoll the rich reward we gather to ourselves when we honor our mother and father. Our parents didn’t start their lives on the day that we were born, and they have brought to our lives, not only all that they have learned through personal experience, but also all that their parents have imparted to them through discipline and instruction. It seems important to God that if we want to gain wisdom, we must be willing to listen, to be open to what others have to offer us through their experience, and to be able to learn from it.

So the first step to gaining wisdom is to admit that we don’t know it all, and the second step is to listen, and through listening gain knowledge and instruction.


Proverbs 1 Let Us Pray…

I found this prayer by Rosmarie Scott while researching the meaning of Probervbs 1:7, and I think it is beautifully said and written:

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever. Help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven, where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever-Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

And, I second that Amen!


Proverbs 1:1-6 the Fear of The Lord

The first 7 verses of chapter 1 in the book of Proverbs outline what the study of the Proverbs are meant to accomplish. Verses 1-6 state that they are a means for attaining wisdom and discipline, for understanding and guidance, and for insight into the riddles, parables and sayings of the wise.  And then there is verse 7 which states: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

It is said that in order to make a journey, all you need to do is take the first step, and in the study of Proverbs, the first step is coming to understand the meaning of verse 7. The “fear” of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It seems to me that the key to whatever else the proverbs of Solomon may say, that this is important, and has been given prominence, as it is the finishing thought of the prologue of the entire book! So grasping what is meant by “the fear of the Lord,” becomes the first step on the path to wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is to have a reverential awe respect of God and his power, to trust in him and believe in his character.  To God, nothing is impossible, and as his children, we must trust in his ability to guide and protect us. He is so vast and all-encompassing that we cannot even begin to fathom all of the knowledge he holds; it’s the wisdom of the ages, the workings and laws of the universe, of physics, of all that we see, and of all that we are unaware.  To fear the Lord is to hold God in such high esteem as to be fearful that you would disappoint him. It is an understanding that our knowledge is limited, and that God’s is not, and that God is the root, the foundation, the beginning of knowledge.

So the fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom, and wisdom is the ability to apply understanding to our daily lives.  Understanding is the result of knowledge, and knowledge is the seeking of truth, the quest of the unknown. Therefore the first step in the pursuit of wisdom is to recognize and admit that we just don’t know all the answers – we don’t know it all! We fell from grace, when we ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and it was at that moment when we supposed ourselves as equal to God in our knowledge and understanding.  So in the effort to gain true wisdom, we must first reverently and humbly admit to God (and ourselves) that we do not know, and are not equal to him in his vast wisdom.

This, then is how the journey begins.


The Journey Begins

To have knowledge is to have information or understanding about something, and to have wisdom is to have the ability to apply knowledge in your every day life, and so begins the quest, the search, the exploration of Proverbs.

The first 6 verses of Proverbs outline its purpose. It’s an instruction manual on prudent behavior, justice and equity, a guide to gaining knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  Proverbs is a compilation, as given to him by God, of the wise sayings of King Solomon, Son of King David, builder of the first temple in Jerusalem, and arguably the wisest of the ancient kings of Israel.

This is the chronicle of my journey through the book of Proverbs in pursuit of knowledge and understanding, my passage to wisdom. May it be a fruitful pursuit, filled with insight and revelation, discernment and comprehension, and may those who follow this journal be blessed in their seeking.