Tradition holds that Solomon, son of David and King of Israel from about 970 – 930BC, was one of the wisest men to have ever lived. Several Old Testament books were authored by him (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon, also called Song of Songs) and he is also said to have been the wealthiest man to have ever lived.
Despite all of that, the Bible records as many of Solomon’s failings as it does his successes and is very clear that for all of his wisdom, he was a real person with real human flaws. What is very interesting though, is that when Solomon’s conduct lined up with true Biblical wisdom, he was always successful and prosperous but when he acted selfishly or foolishly it always brought trouble and heartache.
The same holds true for us today. When we think and act in ways that are wise and true, we will be prosperous and successful. When we think and act in ways that are selfish or foolish, we will bring trouble and heartache on ourselves and others. With that in mind, can we look back to some of the wise sayings of Solomon and glean instruction and truth for our lives today? Absolutely we can! Because Solomon’s wisdom was actually Godly wisdom that was granted to Him as a result of prayer (See 1 Kings 3: 6-14) and Godly wisdom never changes or gets outdated. In short, if God said it then we can count on it and build our lives around it.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of my favorite verses from the first few chapters of Proverbs.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7) – Right away Solomon lets us know that our fear (respect, admiration, acknowledgement) of God is the beginning of our search for wisdom and truth. No wisdom or truth exists without Him and a wise person is the one who has placed their life under the authority and instruction of God Almighty.
For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. (Proverbs 2: 6-9) Much of the wisdom of Proverbs is given in “if – then” statements. As in, “if you do the right thing, then the right result will occur”. Proverbs 2:6-9 shows us that God grants the knowledge and understanding that we need from His Word. Furthermore, if we walk in integrity (honesty) He will be our shield and guard and will preserve our way. And if we do all of that then we will be granted the ability to discern what is right and good every single time (every good course).
Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3: 9-10) Does it ever feel like that you are in a hole financially speaking and that you will never be able to climb out of it? Take heart, here’s your recipe for success! Give to God off of the top of everything that you bring in, no matter how little it might be. God will then fill your barns and vats (places of storage, up to and including our savings accounts – you do have a savings account don’t you?) with plenty until they overflow! So many of us miss this simple commandment and suffer financial misery. The good news is that it is never too late to start doing the right thing.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3: 5 – 8) Relationships are founded on trust. To the degree that we trust God, we will follow His instruction and to the degree that we follow His instruction we will be blessed and in turn bless others. And not only should we trust God with everything but we should do all that we do with an acknowledgement of God as our creator and the source of all wisdom and knowledge. If we can do that then God will take care of us and fight our battles for us (make our paths straight).