The Usefulness of Proverbs
Proverbs 1; I die daily devotional
5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
The previous devos are focused on becoming aware of our awareness, wait … what? 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the naïve, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. Yes, until tomorrow, our proverbs are focused on becoming aware of our being alive, and alive in an environment of Wisdom. Wisdom is setting our environment for appropriate development; for growth in a world and realm of two encompassing forces: good and evil.
As my words are being written, we are innocent of their consequences. The same is understood with the hearing of these proverbs until we listen to their instruction; at which point we become responsible to our understanding of these instructions. So why learn them? Why incline our ears to hear these words given to Solomon by the power of God through Jesus Christ—the Word of God? Those answers are disclosed in the book of Revelation, but we don’t find ourselves in that experience yet. What I’m about to write next is kind of a far off thought, question rather, of curiosity to the knowledge that the place of Christ is described, but not the place of Satan. Have you ever wondered why the lake of fire is described as no more than a place of eternal punishment that burns—Hell? However, the new heavens and new earth are described in all its good, glory and magnificence, and of course the Bride of Christ—New Jerusalem—is also described in all Her radiant Truth.
What are we to make ourselves of this Truth we discover to hear ever so gently?
INCREASE IN LEARNING
This increase in learning I understand to be a preconception of what it means to be humble, because only God is all-knowing. And our responsibility to this instruction is to be always seeking the counsel of our heavenly Father in Christ our Lord. That, at the very least (for me), is what it means to worship God, to sing praise and spiritual song. The quality of such a state at its core is innocence to the experience of sin. The humble doesn’t point the finger as one who compares sin with sin, as though my sin is less appalling than yours, but instead acknowledges their sin in repentance and lives forgiven with hope.
As we grow in our faith to the knowledge of God, we’re instructed to acquire wise counsel. What this looks like from my viewpoint is a collection of pens (after all, I am a writer) and the ink of these pens of color signify my counsel.
- black & white (God) [Father]
- red (Jesus) [Son]
- purple (Helper) [Holy Spirit]
- yellow (women of faith) [fire]
- blue (men of faith) [water]
True story, my favorite colors are indigo blue and neon orange; these specific colors reveal things about my personality that I have yet to understand, but look forward to discovering more about it as we move through life together. Counsel is much like the function of these colors as each color, specific to our person, represents a hierarchy. I have yet to exercise this consciously, but what happens when—I or you—ask a question (specific to our person) to a people that know us intimately (spiritually) that only the Holy Spirit can answer? What this might look like is being miserable at our jobs; what we do as far as an occupation that pays the bills, but is not at all what we’d hoped to-be-stuck doing, the rest of our lives. And so we go to certain people for insight, guidance, and help in navigating our discontentment while discovering more and more about ourselves. Some of our counsel might tell us to quit our job for what we mean to accomplish whereas other counsel might reveal treasurable aspects about our current occupation that we’d missed and outweighs the discontentment (joy in what we do is revived). Only the Holy Spirit knows these qualities about ourselves if our counsel is in Christ.
- What are you learning?
- Who is your counsel?
- Are you content?
- Is your counsel in Christ?
- Is your counsel content?
Proverbs 1 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the naïve, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. The Enticement of Sinners 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; 13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors. Wisdom Warns 20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. 30 “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 “For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
Matthew Henry (P1-V5) Commentary
IV. What good use may be made of them, v. 5, 6. Those who are young and simple may by them be made wise, and are not excluded from Solomon’s school, as they were from Plato’s. But is it only for such? No; here is not only milk for babes, but strong meat for strong men. This book will not only make the foolish and bad wise and good, but the wise and good wiser and better; and though the simple and the young man may perhaps slight those instructions, and not be the better for them, yet the wise man will hear. Wisdom will be justified by her own children, though not by the children sitting in the market-place. Note, Even wise men must hear, and not think themselves too wise to learn. A wise man is sensible of his own defects (Plurima ignoro, sed ignorantiam meam non ignoro–I am ignorant of many things, but not of my own ignorance), and therefore is still pressing forward, that he may increase in learning, may know more and know it better, more clearly and distinctly, and may know better how to make use of it. As long as we live we should strive to increase in all useful learning. It was a saying of one of the greatest of the rabbim, Qui non auget scientiam, amittit de ea-If our stock of knowledge by not increasing, it is wasting; and those that would increase in learning must study the scriptures; these perfect the man of God. A wise man, by increasing in learning, is not only profitable to himself, but to others also,
- 1. As a counsellor. A man of understanding in these precepts of wisdom, by comparing them with one another and with his own observations, shall by degrees attain unto wise counsels; he stands fair for preferment, and will be consulted as an oracle, and entrusted with the management of public affairs; he shall come to sit at the helm, so the word signifies. Note, Industry is the way to honour; and those whom God has blessed with wisdom must study to do good with it, according as their sphere is. It is more dignity indeed to be counsellor to the prince, but it is more charity to be counsellor to the poor, as Job was with his wisdom. Job 29:15, I was eyes to the blind.
- Why learn?
- it teaches humility
- it teaches discernment
- it makes wise the innocent
- it judges the arrogant
- it preserves life