Summary: We don’t grow up learning proverbs, we learn everything else except for that: science, math, economics, etc. We live in a fallen world and we need God's capsules of love and wisdom to not be trapped by the ways of this world.
v. 1 The Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, King of Israel
v. 2 to know wisdom ???????? (hakmah) and correction (instruction in the form of discipline & visa versa)
to understand words of understanding
v. 3 to take correction of insight, justice (right), judgement, and evenness (straight, smooth, upright, level, equity)
v. 4 to give the naïve prudence, to the young person knowledge (same as the first word of v. 2), and discretion.
v. 5 A wise person will hear and grow in learning (same root as “to take” v. 3) and a man of understanding will gain in counsel.
v. 6 to understand a proverb and the interpretation – the words of the wise and their perplexing sayings (or questions)
v. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge – but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
What is Evil?
Since we’re going together through an Old Testament book, I’m brushing up on my Hebrew studies. Do you know the Hebrew word for fool? We’ll get back to that.
Solomon states his goals both for himself and for this book; please notice the order:
To know wisdom & correction, to take correction
To give prudence to the naïve and young.
There is an order to wisdom. You must first know, receive, take before you have anything to give.
& Please notice Solomon begins by talking about learning and growing (vv. 1-3)
Then about teaching (v. 4)
Then, again, about learning (5-7)
The painful part of wisdom is the process.
Gaining wisdom is not a one-off thing, like you get all wise and that’s that. We are required to renew wisdom daily. In the opening 7 verses there are 6 about learning and 1 about teaching.
I’ve been disturbed by recent trends around the world. In February a student at a High School in Parkland Florida took a gun to his campus and killed 17 people. One of the students who survived the tragedy made a speech that went viral, with millions of viewers. I then saw high school students interviewed on internationally televised news programs. I’ll confess, I never watched the speeches or entire interviews. These are children, correcting the elders who they feel have failed them. I’m not saying what the children said was wrong, nor am I commenting on the validity of the solutions they proposed, but I’m disturbed because a society which has declined to such a level that the youngsters feel they have a right, obligation, and a platform to correct the adults, is a failed society.
Years ago I traveled with a music performance group in Switzerland. We stayed some evenings in host homes. I noticed at the first one that there was an strange container mounted prominently on the wall of their living room. I asked what was in it. They opened their decorative locker to show a military grade automatic machine gun. The host said every house in Switzerland had such a gun. Every man in the country must go for military training and service a few years of his life. Each man bears for his family the responsibility of maintaining and handling the weapon as required for the defense of the nation. In this country where guns are ubiquitous there are very few incidents of gun violence. The elders pass on the wisdom of avoiding such things to the next generation.
I am not arguing guns should or should not be ubiquitous, or freely avaible to private citizens in any country. I’m saying the problem in the US is not the guns. It’s the loss of moral and wise foundations upon which a just and peaceful society is built.
One dear friend said this about Proverbs:
We live hectic lives, finding security in money, our work or even spouse thinking he or she will love you till you die. And many of us are secure until of course something tragic happens. What role does wisdom and instruction play? Does it exist in your world? In my world? . . .
We don’t grow up learning proverbs, we learn everything else except for that: science, math, economics, etc.
Lets face it we live in a fallen world and we need His capsules of love to not be trapped by the ways of this world.
We need to slow down, think, receive instruction and wisdom and correction, then pass that learning to those who are willing and able to receive it. This is often a painful, humbling process, in which we must go against our own nature in order to learn and grow, but it is rewarding and necessary. If we fail in this endeavor, I fear for the future of this planet.
Back to the questions, what is evil?
do you know the Hebrew word for fool?