Reflections on Proverbs 1

» Why you should read the Proverbs (1:1-6)
One of the aims of the Proverbs is to give knowledge and discretion to the youth (1:4)

If you want to have wisdom and instruction in wise behaviour, to do what's right, just and fair then read the Book of Proverbs. If you want to understand the sayings of wise men then read the Proverbs. If you think you are naive then the Book of Proverbs can give you prudence (sensibility). If you consider yourself to be wise then read the Proverbs for they will increase your learning and wisdom.

Why would anyone not want all of the above? Only fools despise (even hate) knowledge (1:7,22).

Now that you have started on your journey in reading the Proverbs, don't stop. Read small chunks (stop when you notice a change in idea/topic) and meditate on them.

» Be afraid ... be very afraid! (1:7)
As mentioned previously, one of the aims of the Proverbs is to give knowledge and discretion to the youth (1:4).

How can the youth gain knowledge? Read the Proverbs!

The Proverbs go on to tell us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (1:7).

What is the fear of the LORD? Do a concordance search of "fear of the Lord".
In Proverbs, the fear of the LORD is a life characterised by ...

(1) Negatively ... fleeing from sin (3:7; 8:13) and
(2) Positively ... pursuing righteousness (14:2).

Two sides of the same coin ... basically a life of obedience to the LORD and His Word ... a fear that leads to holy character and righteous behaviour.

In the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, when the people saw the lightning flashes and smoke, heard the sounds of thunder and trumpets, they were afraid and stood at a distance ... They effectively said to Moses, "You go, we stay."
20 Moses said to the people,
"Do not be afraid;
for God has come in order to test you, and
in order that the fear of Him may remain with you,
so that you may not sin."
Exo 20:20
Moses explained ...

(1) No, you should not be afraid ... do not be afraid to approach God.
(2) Yes, you should be afraid ... be afraid to sin.
1 "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments
which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you,
that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it,

2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God,
to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you,
all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

3 "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it,
that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly,
just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you,
in a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
Deut 6:1-4
In Deut 6:1-3, Moses charged the nation of Israel to fear the LORD (evidenced by obeying His statutes and commandments) ... same as fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness.

In Deut 6:4, Moses affirmed that the LORD is the only true God (in contrast to the multiplicity of gods of Canaan). In Deut 6:13-15, he reminded the people to fear only the LORD (and not any other gods) otherwise the LORD would wipe them off the face of the earth ... the people are to have an apprehensive fear of the LORD.

Therefore, in the Old Testament, the fear of the LORD is a fear of punishment from God ... fear of what a holy and all-powerful God might do to them when they sin. It is an apprehensive fear coupled with awe (reverential fear) ... that the LORD is the holy God who cannot stand sin and will punish the sinner.

So be afraid ... be very afraid to sin!

Why is the fear of the LORD the beginning (start? source?) of knowledge?

» Are we blind, stupid or what? (1:8-19)
Whom do we listen? Whom do we obey ... our parents or our "friends"?

The sinners mentioned in Proverbs conceive a plan to rob and kill the innocent. They entice us with wealth and friendship (sharing one purse i.e., sharing a common pool of wealth and possessions).

They lie in ambush for others but in reality they are ambushing their very own lives! They are destroying their lives by violence. Can't they see that! Are they blind? Even a bird would not fly with eyes open into a net laid for it. But these people would (1:17-19)! Looks like they are bird-brained!

The appeal of the sinners is attractive but do not listen to these people (1:10) and follow their path that leads to destruction. Instead listen to your father's instruction and your mother's teaching (1:8-9).

» Ignore@UrPeril (1:20-33)
Wisdom calls out ... she reaches out ... she stretches out her hand to the naive, the scoffer and the fool but not one paid attention to her reproof i.e., all neglected or ignored her counsel (1:20-25).

Who are these people? The naive accepts anything without thinking; the scoffer treats people and things with contempt; and the fool hates knowledge.

Wisdom reproves and warns and we ignore her at our peril. But whoever listens to wisdom will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm (1:33).

How many times had the LORD brought about people and events to warn us when we are being tempted? How many times had the LORD reminded us to turn back to Him after we had sinned? Did we listen? Or did we simply ignore Him?

Why do we spurn wisdom? Is it because we hate knowledge? Or is it that we have no fear of the LORD? Are we complacent (1:32) ... having a false sense of security that we would not be found out or that we would escape punishment? How can we entertain these thoughts when our LORD is the omniscient and omnipresent God? Indeed, the complacency of fools shall destroy them.

Will it take a calamity to get our attention? Then it may be too late; we may have to "eat of the fruit of our way" (1:31) i.e., face the consequences of our actions.

Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © October 2005 by Alan S.L. Wong

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