Lifelong Pursuit Of Wisdom
The book of Proverbs begins with an introduction in 1:1-7. The words “wisdom” and “instruction” begin and end the section (1:2a, 7b). Solomon’s goal in the book of Proverbs is to instruct his sons on how to acquire wisdom and to form a character that promotes an ordered life in God’s creation. As a person matures, they must begin to understand words of insight for themselves (1:2b). Solomon desires that his son(s) would acquire wisdom so that they would become self-sufficient.
Wisdom also guides people to deal properly with others (1:3). As a father or mother teaches a child to interact with others, so does Solomon show his son that success in life is often determined by how we treat others. He urges his son to exhibit godly behavior towards others in righteousness, to uphold justice and defend the defenseless, and to treat others with equity, not partiality.
Proverbs speaks to the “simple” and “youth” so that they may develop wisdom to navigate life properly (1:4). Although, Proverbs casts a larger net and includes even the “wise” (1:5). The point is that the search for wisdom in life is never really over. There is no such thing as having too much wisdom. Even those who are deemed wise can still hear, learn more, and obtain further guidance in life. If anyone knew this, it was Solomon. The words of the wise are a well of experience and observation from God’s people that can be drunk from endlessly (1:6).
Though, to obtain knowledge there is a prerequisite; we must have humility. Proverbs 1:7a says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Fear is just that—fear. Fear of negative consequences and understanding that God is the one who doles those out. Fear is the starting point for youth when they come to God. It is great starting place, but not the end. Fear should progress to a respect or awe of someone or something. Proverbs 2:5 shows that our fear should lead to us to “understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
As Proverbs suggests, we are chasing after wisdom, or we are wise in our own eyes (3:7). As we search for wisdom, we must humbly pray like Solomon, saying, “I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in” (1 Kings 3:7b). Humility is a safeguard against thinking we have it all or no longer need to heed instruction. We must orient our hearts and lives to chase after wisdom lest we become like the fools who “despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7b).
We are all developing a character and trying to navigate the world around us, but the route of the wise and the fool have drastically different end routes. In a short seven verses, Proverbs challenges us still today to embark on a lifelong journey to pursue wisdom. What path will you choose?