Daily Devotion

November 13: The Purpose of Proverbs

Proverbs 1:1-4  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;  To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

The five-fold purpose of the book of proverbs is given to us in the first four verses here in Chapter One. Wisdom is the wise use or exercise of knowledge that is received through instruction. If we are to receive instruction from our experiences then there must come an understanding of the issues of life. To do what is right is wise and to be wise is to do what is right.

The greatest use of wisdom is to invest in the lives of others so as to give them the ability to improve and prosper in their lives. The word translated “equity” means “evenness; prosperity or concord”. Therefore the instruction of equity means that you will learn through Biblical principles to make just and fair decisions. This is a part of your decision making process, but particularly implies that you will be just and fair in the way you treat others around you.

This brings us to the fourth purpose of Proverbs which is “to give subtilty to the simple”. The word translated “subtilty” here means in the bad sense “trickery” and in a good sense “discretion and prudence”, which is what is meant here. The word “simple” here means “seducible or naïve”. This is speaking about those who have no proper instruction in the issues of life whether a child or an adult. These instructions are here to keep the simple from learning life lessons in the school of hard knocks.

Then we have the fifth purpose which is “to give the young man knowledge and discretion”. This applies to the teaching and training of boys and girls in the moral issues of life. The proverbs will give instruction to young people and older people about the pitfalls of the pleasures and lusts of the flesh. Many young people today are sexually active long before they reach their teens. Proverbs gives the knowledge and discretion to see and to act quickly against the traps of sexual temptations.

“Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 80.). God gave us Proverbs to instill godly wisdom that will lead to godly morality. Immorality is the very downfall of society today.

The doctrine of Balaam was his teaching Balak to corrupt the people who could not be cursed. (Num 31:15-16; 22:5; and 23:8) He taught them to get the children of Israel to marry the women of Moab, so as to defile their separation, and abandon their pilgrim character. It is that union between the world and the church which is spiritually unchaste (Jam 4:4).

It is good sense and wise to learn the principles contained in this Book to avoid the immoral temptations that are considered normal today. The wide acceptance of worldly morality is why the family unit and the church are failing; it is the trap of the devil because the family unit and the church are the building blocks of a godly and moral society.

You are to receive instruction so that you may be able to live wisely. You are to love instruction so that you may reap the benefits of wisdom. You are to live it so that you may teach understanding and impart wisdom to others so they too may reap the benefits of a wise, godly, and holy life. –Preacher

November 12: The Wisdom of the Ages

Proverbs 1:1-4  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;  To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Daniel Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “proverb”: “In Scripture, it sometimes signifies a moral sentence or maxim (an established principle) that is enigmatical (relating to or containing a riddle); a dark saying of the wise that requires interpretation.” The proverbs were collected and written by Solomon except for the last two chapters which were written by Agur and King Lemuel. The five-fold purpose of the book of proverbs is given to us in the first four verses here in Chapter One.

To know wisdom and instruction”; the word translated “wisdom” here means “good sense”. If you want wisdom the Bible says that you should pray for it (Jam 1:5). But wisdom also comes through life experiences. Therefore if you are to be truly wise then you must receive instruction from God’s Word, receive instruction from the experiences of life, and pray that God would grant His holy wisdom to put all of this together. Wisdom is the wise use or exercise of knowledge that is received through instruction.

To perceive the words of understanding”; the word translated “perceive” here means “to separate mentally; to understand”. Therefore this second purpose for the Book of Proverbs is to understand the importance of understanding. Understanding and wisdom are used many times in this book, and many times together, but they are not synonymous. Wisdom comes from understanding; it is built upon it. If we are to receive instruction from our experiences then there must come an understanding of the issues of life.

To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity”; the word “wisdom” here comes from a different Hebrew word which means “to be circumspect”. It refers to acting wisely or prudently. The word “judgment” comes from a word that means to be right from which we get “righteous”. Wisdom and righteousness in this book are almost synonymous with each other. To do what is right is wise and to be wise is to do what is right.

The word translated “judgment” here means “verdict” which refers to your decisions. You will see in the Word of God that righteousness and judgment are found together many times. Your righteousness refers to your having right principles (they come from the Bible). Your judgment refers to making right decisions which should be based upon your principles.

If you are going to be wise you must receive instruction from somewhere. The best place to receive instruction is from the Lord Himself. He has given you this book in His Word to teach you things about life so that you do not have to always learn from your mistakes. He has given you access to the Throne of Grace to ask for and receive the wisdom to think, to choose, and to do that which is right and wise. Proverbs will teach you things to keep you from falling into the traps of the deceptions of the world and the devil.

You also need to receive and understand instruction and learn wisdom to be wise in helping others. God gives you instruction, understanding, and wisdom so that you can teach and train others. This is the wisest use of wisdom; to invest in the lives of others so as to give them the ability to improve and prosper in their lives. -Preacher

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