Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) famously wrote a book entitled John Ploughman’s Talk. The title, he said, was appropriate, because a ploughman’s task is to break up the fallow ground. In the same way, I pray that this series of devotional studies on Proverbs will turn-over the soil of our minds, attitudes, desires and lives.
There are forty-six daily readings from Proverbs 10:1 to 22:16 (375 two-line proverbs in total). The title in our Bibles tells us that these are all proverbs of Solomon, the man renowned for asking God for wisdom and being given it. Each day begins with a short introduction and ends with a short prayer.
The proverbs have been arranged under headings, such as “Listening” or “Dishonesty.” Yet, in reading Proverbs 10:1 to 22:16, we find that the proverbs don’t appear to be arranged in any order. They are gems of truth spoken in a seemingly indiscriminate way. Perhaps that suits the way that life unfolds for us. Therefore, there may be a danger in doing what I have done in thinking of God’s wisdom in categories or parts, and not as the whole. We do not need a concordance of wisdom, but to read and know the whole of God’s wisdom in full. We don’t dip into God’s wisdom; rather it is a whole way of life in Christ, based on the fear of the LORD.
In saying that, I trust that God’s wisdom would speak clearly through these studies. For the believer, I pray that you will come to day forty-six having put into practice all that you have read in God’s Word and so lived more faithfully to Him. For those considering God’s ways, I pray that seeing God’s wisdom would be the first step in drawing you to the God of heaven and earth.
Day 1: Wisdom and foolishness – part 1
Is wisdom inherited or acquired? Is wisdom something some people naturally have and others don’t? Or is wisdom something learnt? The Bible says that wisdom can be learnt. Wisdom can be taught and acquired (Prov. 1:4). Its source is the LORD: “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10).” That makes sense if God is the Creator of every molecule who knows every fibre of our being and what is good for us.
These proverbs tell us that a fool causes grief to his family (Prov. 10:1). A fool thinks wrong doing is a joke (Prov. 10:23). A fool cannot help but speak foolish things (Prov. 12:23). There is no point wasting time listening to a fool (Prov. 14:7). Often the best thing to do is leave. In contrast, if we are wise, we will be careful in how we live before the Lord and others (Prov. 14:8).
A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
– Prov. 10:23
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
– Prov. 12:11
A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
– Prov. 12:23
A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
– Prov. 13:1
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
– Prov. 13:14
Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
– Prov. 13:16
A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.
– Prov. 14:6
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
– Prov. 14:7
The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.
– Prov. 14:8
Father God, we seek that Your Name be honoured. We desire to follow Your path of life. Help us to have nothing to do with anything that is foolish in Your eyes. We must guard our minds; we must leave the presence of a fool.
Let us take hold of life in You. Your wisdom is the precious fountain of life. This day, give us true wisdom that comes from fearing You. We pray in Jesus’ holy Name, Amen.
– Graham Barnes