“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. ” (Proverbs 1:1–7, ESV)
I. The objective of Proverbs. (2-6)
1. To equip us for with moral skill for holy living.
2. To impart wise mental discernment
1. wisdom -skillful living in God’s world through application of His Word. (v. 2) hokma)
2. instruction- learning through discipline, education through correction; corporeal punishment as well as internal discipline
3. words of insight- distinguishing between two thoughts or actions and understanding why one is God’s choice
4. instruction in wise dealings -example of Abigail (1 Samuel 25:3) who dealt wisely with the request of David’s men. Also found in Isaiah 52:13 to refer to Jesus Christ, “my Servant shall act wisely.”
5. prudence -understands trends and inherent dangers and avoids wrong paths
6. knowledge – a personal experience of walking in relationship with God and his ways
7. discretion- ability to protect yourself and to form a practical plan of action
8. learning -to acquire things taught, to receive
9. guidance- a word often used in the ancient world of ropes to steer a ship
10. understand a proverb, a saying, . . .grasp truth statements and more indirect streams of wisdom [sayings and riddles].
II. The intended audience of Proverbs. (4-6)
1. Simple -naïve, gullible
2. Youth -young, immature, lacking direction
3. Wise -more mature, a journey not a destination
4. Fool -someone who refuses to learn, who is stubborn, refusing to listen to his parents. He is not stupid or mentally deficient but rather spiritually thick-headed; The word for “fool” in 1:7 is a different Hebrew word which means “without restraint, morally insolent, one who mocks at sin. The decline moves to a “nabal”, a term used only a handful of times describing someone who is closed completely to God, even denying his existence (Psalm 14:1). And then finally there is a scoffer, a confirmed rebel against God (21:24).
III. The theme of Proverbs. (1:7)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” The Fear of the LORD has a myriad of meanings: terror, dread, trembling, astonishment, awe, reverence, devotion, trust, and worship. God is not necessarily safe, but He is good! You see the fear of the Lord begins as we become aware of the holy justice of God. And then as it grows we become aware of the holy love of God. “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. ” (Psalm 5:7, ESV)
Where do you learn the fear of the LORD?
- Scripture – “Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. ” (Psalm 119:38, ESV)
- Prayer – “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. ” (Psalm 86:11, ESV)
- Parents – “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. ” (Psalm 34:11, ESV)
What does fear of the LORD look like?
- Delighting in God’s Word. “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! ” (Psalm 112:1, ESV)
- Consistently walking in God’s ways. “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! ” (Psalm 128:1, ESV)
- Boldly declaring God’s works. “Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done. ” (Psalm 64:9, ESV)
- Patiently waiting for God’s rewards. “but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. ” (Psalm 147:11, ESV)
How is the “fear of the LORD” the “beginning of wisdom?”
- It is the foundation for the future. You will build up wisdom or foolishness (fools). ““Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. ” (Matthew 7:24, ESV); “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. ” (Matthew 7:26, ESV)
- It is the foundation for spiritual confidence. “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. ” (Proverbs 14:26, ESV)
- It is the foundation for the gospel. “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. ” (Psalm 25:14, ESV)