Solomon, introduced as the major author of the book of Proverbs (1:1), is the son of David. He was the king of Israel who asked God for wisdom-and was given it to such a degree that other kings sent envoys to hear it and the Queen of Sheba was overwhelmed by it (1 Kings 3:6-9, 4:29-34, 10:6-9).
Unfortunately, Solomon was eventually led astray by his many foreign wives (1 Kings 11:1-13). Clearly, merely knowing what is right is no substitute for doing it!
Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32). In the book of Proverbs, we have his moral lessons and wisdom. This book will give insight and understanding (Proverbs 1:2), and wisdom to do what is right, just, and fair (v. 3). To the simple, it will give prudence (v. 4); to the young, it will give knowledge and discretion (v. 4); to the wise, it will give learning (v. 5); and to the discerning, it will give guidance (v. 5-6). Whichever category you fit into, this book is for you; it will inform your mind and mould your life.
But Proverbs is not just a book about gaining wisdom. The key to the book is verse 7, which notes that ″the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge″. This means revering God and remembering that it is He who created and redeemed us, recognising His complete power and authority over everything, and acknowledging our total dependence on Him.
All knowledge come from either observation of creation or revelation by the Creator. But observation will not answer questions about what the Creator is like, why He made creation, how He is known, who we are, and what our purpose is; these questions can be answered only by revelation, which gives us God’s big picture. We are thus called to listen to what He says, for that will give us the key to true knowledge.
On the other hand, fools-not necessarily the unintelligent-are those who reject God’s authority, despise His revelation, and refuse the discipline of His knowledge (v. 7).
We are told Proverbs will benefit four types of people: the simple, the young, the wise, and the discerning (1:4-5). Which type might you be, and what can you gain from the book of Proverbs?
Proverbs 1 suggests that there are two ways to live: like the wise who fear the Lord, listen to His revelation, and live by His Word; or the fool who rejects God’s wisdom and instruction, and depends on his own observation. How would you respond?