For a little more than a month now, I have been reading the chapter of the Book of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month (31 Proverbs in 31 days). This new practice is in response to a burden the Lord has put on my heart for all his followers, disciples, and saints to spend more time with him in the Word. In addition, I felt led to share my short study with all of you – to help you spend that additional time building a relationship with the Lord. My method is simple: Every morning I read the proverb for that day straight through making note of any individual verse(s) or words/phrases that jump off the page or grab my attention. I then go back and spend 10-15 minutes meditating on, bathing in, and studying on those verse(s); this meditation/study is what I will share with you daily and NOT the entire chapter.
Today is August 1st, and therefore we will be reading from Proverbs 1. Since we are starting at the beginning and this is the first post in this series, I will give a brief introduction to the Book of Proverbs – I will do this only today. In the days that follow, this post will not include this lengthy lead up or the introduction – it will be simply the reading from the daily Proverb and a brief commentary.
The Book of Proverbs, along with the books of Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon make up the Old Testament books of wisdom, poetry, & praise or “Wisdom Literature.” It is widely accepted that King Solomon is the author or collector of the books contents from the time period of 971-931 B.C. The theme or goal of the Proverbs is to instill wisdom in Gods people which has its foundation in the “fear of the Lord” (fear in this context meaning reverence). The Proverbs describe the covenant life in terms of everyday situations, relationships, and topics including friendship, diligence/laziness, marriage, good manners, and many others.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This is the central crux of the entire book of Proverbs. That wisdom, through its marriage with “knowledge” and “instruction” has its foundation in “fear of” or “reverence in” the Lord. Through our covenant relationship with God we receive instruction (correction) and build knowledge which we then apply to our interaction with the world – this application IS wisdom, and it is applied rightly only through our covenant with God. This entire first chapter of Proverbs can be boiled down to this:
The wise, who “hear and increase in learning,” (v.5) affirm their covenant with God; while fools “despise wisdom and instruction” and reject Gods covenant.
Proverbs 1:7 sets up the contrast between wisdom and folly which dominates the entire book of Proverbs – wisdom, righteousness, and “fear of the Lord” are set firmly against folly, scoffing, and evil.