Over the past thirty years, America and much of the developed world have experienced tremendous increases in technology and information. The “information age” has led to rapid gains in the flow and availability of data. Personal computers, emails, texts, tablet computers, cable or satellite television, and the internet are now within the budget of most American consumers. The advent of such remarkable communication methods brings exponential increase in the amount of information stored and transmitted.
In contrast to today’s exceedingly abundant flow of information, society suffers greatly from a dearth of wisdom. Crime, divorce, greed, lack of discipline, poor relationships and other societal ills reflect the insufficiency of human wisdom to solve these problems. God’s book of Proverbs, however, offers the solitary solution: true, abundant, and eternal wisdom found in proper relationship with God. Although the grass withers and the flower fades, God’s book of Proverbs stands forever to illustrate the enduring teaching of wisdom and its application of proper perspectives on wealth and women.
The primary theme of the book of Proverbs is the teaching of wisdom (Prov. 1:2-7, 9:10 NASB). King Solomon authors a number of proverbs and assembles others “given by the Holy Spirit and put them into the orderly arrangement that we have today.” The book provides pithy statements that are easily remembered and clearly enunciate practical issues of daily, godly living. Proverbs serves the Israelites as an important textbook for the education of Hebrew youth in ancient times.
Proverbs 1:2 utilizes the Hebrew word chokmah, defined by Strong’s as “the knowledge and ability to make the right choices at the opportune time.” The precepts of wisdom are illuminated primarily in the first nine chapters. The text compares wisdom to treasure, illustrates the blessings of wisdom, teaches the acquisition of wisdom and its purpose, and contrasts wisdom to folly (Chapters 2, 3, 4, 8, 9). Using antithetic parallelism, Solomon explains that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and draws a sharp contrast to fools, who by definition despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7). This passage clearly demonstrates God’s sovereignty over wisdom and is as applicable for modern readers as it serves for Hebrew youth.
Although God graciously invites all to learn, few choose to do so. Wisdom is compared to a woman “inviting all to come to her and learn, but the majority refuse to heed her appeal.” Those that don’t respond to God’s gracious invitation are described as naïve, scoffers, or fools. The naïve know nothing, the scoffers think they know everything, and the fools hate God’s wisdom. Both the ancient culture and today’s society have plenty of each of these. The wise, however, will obey the Lord, finding salvation securely in God’s grip, away from the dread of evil. Without this understanding, even the man with the highest intelligent quotient is merely a fool...