Proverbs (20th Letter, Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters)

You Must Fear Me to Follow Me

To God – You’ve been saying all along that making us happy in a pleasant world is Your plan for the next life, that making us holy in a messed-up world is what You’re up to now. Have I heard you right?

“But what I’m struggling with is what this letter seems to promise, that living wisely guarantees the good life of blessings now. Here’s one example. ‘Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many’ (4:10 NKJV). Does that mean that my friend’s daughter who died in her twenties wasn’t listening to You? I don’t think so. Here’s another. ‘The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil’ (19:23 NKJV). So when trouble hits my life, it means I haven’t been fearing You? But Paul’s life was touched by lots of trouble, and he found contentment in the middle of it [Philippians 4:11– 12]. So which is it? Which story are You telling? The story of how I can get You to bless my life with peace, long life, and prosperity? Or is it the story of Your plan to make me holy in this life and happily satisfied forever in the next?

You want me to get all excited about listening to a guy (Solomon) sitting on top of the world telling an ordinary schmuch like me how to get my life together? We live in two different worlds. And, in Ecclesiastes, Solomon admits that his wisdom left him more miserable than happy, so why am I supposed to listen to him?

God says – It’s good you’re wrestling with My words. Too many churchgoers read a few favorite verses in Proverbs, such as “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart form it” and think they’ve found the manual to make life work, a map to the Promised Land.

Truth #1: The wisdom God offers is the wisdom by which He made the world, what little of it we can receive. He made life to work only if lived according to His design.

Truth #2: We will hear and live His wisdom only if first we fear Him, if we fall before Him in desperate terror and draw near to Him in trusting awe.

Most people want to climb into His lap and call Him Daddy before they bow before Him and call Him Lord. Without terror and awe, worship and love become an illusion that makes foolish living look wise.

PROVERBS: That Men May Know Wisdom – From Ray Stedman<-(click here for entire Bible summary)

Proverbs begins with a brief introductory preface in the first six verses.

· This is followed by a series of ten different discourses from a father to his son, filled with very practical exhortations on how to face some of the problems of life. That carries us over to the beginning of Chapter 10, and so far there have been no proverbs.

· But in Chapter 10 we have a collection of proverbs that are noted for us as the proverbs of Solomon, the wise king of Israel, the son of David. When Solomon became king he had a vision of God in which God asked him what his heart desired above everything else. Solomon
asked that he be granted wisdom. Because he asked for this instead of riches or fame, God gave him all three. Therefore, these are the wisdom proverbs of the wisest king that Israel ever had. This second division runs through to

· Chapter 25 which begins another collection of proverbs said to be the proverbs of Solomon which were copied down by the men of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, after Solomon’s death.

· The book closes with a postlude in Chapters 30 and 31 that brings before us the words of two unknown individuals, Agur, son of Jakah, in Chapter 30, and Lemuel, king of Massa, in Chapter 31.

The book of Proverbs expresses the conclusion of the will of man. Together, the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes give us the cry of the soul of man. In Psalms you have the emotional nature, which is one part of the soul function. Ecclesiastes deals with the function of the mind – the search of man’s reason throughout the earth, analyzing, evaluating, weighing, and concluding on the basis of what is discoverable under the sun, that is, by human reason. But in the book of Proverbs we have the appeal to the will of man and the conclusion of the will; therefore, this book is all about the things man should decide, the choices of life. This is beautifully set before us in the introduction to the book.

Verse 7 gives the key to the whole book. And, since Proverbs is the book that deals with life, this is also the key verse to all of life and is one of the greatest verses in the Bible. It states the summary and conclusion of this book:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge [or wisdom];
fools despise wisdom and instruction. {Prov 1:7 RSV}

Only the man who has in his heart a continuing respect for God’s wisdom can begin properly to evaluate and understand life.

Proverbs – David Jeremiah (Understanding the 66 Books of the Bible)

Key thought: Success in the practical matters of life requires reverence for God and obedience to His rules for living.

Key Verse: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Key Action: We must receive God’s words and treasure His commands within us, inclining our ears to wisdom and our hearts to understanding (see Proverbs 2:1-2).