THE PATHWAY TO SUCCESS IN EVERYDAY LIVING REQUIRES PURSUING THE PRACTICAL WISDOM OF THE LORD AMIDST THE DISTRACTIONS OF A SEDUCTIVE WORLD
THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM
I. (:1-7) INTRODUCTION: NUGGETS OF TRUTH FOR WISE LIVING
A. (:1a) Catchy Genre of Proverbs
“These are the proverbs” = “nuggets of truth”
B. (:1b) Consummate Author
“of King Solomon of Israel, David’s son”
C. (:2-6) Comprehensive Purpose Statement
1. Overall Purpose: Wise Living
“He wrote them to teach his people how to live – how to act in every circumstance, for he wanted them to be understanding, just and fair in everything they did.”
Swindoll: Wisdom is the ability to view life as God perceives it
Kolkebec: Instruction (Education enforced by Loving Discipline)
1. In Wise Behavior – Prosper concept,
wisdom bringing success.
2. In Righteousness – God’s ethical Moral Standard.
Form of – to be straight.
3. In Justice – Proper Government: Process of God
2. Specific Emphasis for Different Groups
a. Protection for the Naïve
“I want to make the simple-minded wise!”
b. Tips for Teenagers
“I want to warn young men about some problems they will face.”
c. Leadership Training for the Mature
“I want those already wise to become the wiser and become leaders by exploring the depths of meaning in these nuggets of truth.”
D. (:7a) Complex Fundamental Question
“How does a man become wise?”
E. (:7b) Fundamental Step One: Complete Submission to Divine Instruction
“The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord! Only fools refuse to be taught.”
Fundamental Problem: Refusal to be taught
Kidner: The beginning (i.e. the first and controlling principle, rather than a stage which one leaves behind; cf. Ec. 12:13) is not merely a right method of thought but a right relation; a worshipping submission (fear) to the God of the covenant, who has revealed Himself by name (the Lord, i.e. Yahweh: Ex. 3:13-15). Knowledge, then, in its full sense, is a relationship, dependent on revelation and inseparable from character.
Olford: In this context, it (“the fear of the Lord”) means a penitential turning from sin. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (8:13). The Bible calls this repentance. We can never know God and hang on to our sins at one and the same time. But to know God, we must also trust Him. This calls for a reverential trusting in God. . .
The second part of our text reveals the barrier to the knowledge of God. The word “fools” describes the unrepentant mindset that despises divine wisdom and instruction… synonymous with a wicked person. He or she aggressively flouts personal independence from God and His commandments.
II. (:8-19) DISCERNING BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD INFLUENCES
A. (:8-9) Fundamental Training Ground: Follow the Good Influence of Parents
“Listen to your father and mother. What you learn from them will stand you in good stead; it will gain you many honors.”
Piper: God ordained the family not just to be fruitful and fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with instructed people and taught people. The family is the place where the next generation is born and where the next generation learns how to live.
B. (:10-19) Avoid the Bad Influence of Wayward Peer Group
1, (:10-14) Their Lawless Enticement
“If young toughs tell you, ‘Come and join us’ – turn your back on them! We’ll hide and rob and kill,’ they say. ‘Good or bad; we’ll treat them all alike. And the loot we’ll get! All kinds of stuff! Come on, throw in your lot with us; we’ll split with you in equal shares.’”
Deffinbaugh: What evil men offer:
– Group acceptance and identity
– Promise of material gain
– Excitement and sense of power
2. (:15-17) Their Naïve Expectations
“Don’t do it son! Stay far from men like that, for crime is their way of life, and murder is their specialty. When a bird sees a trap being set, it stays away”
3. (:18-19) Their Violent End
“but not these men; they trap themselves! They lay a booby trap for their own lives. Such is the fate of all who live by violence and murder. They will die a violent death.”
Deffinbaugh: Regarding Violence
– Natural inclination towards violence
– Violence is Attractive
– Violence is a Way of Live
III. (:20-33) FOLLY OF REJECTING THE PATH OF WISDOM
A. (:20-28) Wisdom Spurned Despite Its Availability
1. (:20-21) Access to Wisdom Available to All
a. Available to the General Public
“Wisdom shouts in the streets for a hearing. She calls out to the crowds along Main Street”
b. Available to the Political and Judicial Leaders
“and to the judges in their courts”
c. Available Nationally
“and to everyone in all the land”
2. (:22-25) Foolishness Closes Its Eyes to Wisdom Until It is Too Late
a. (“22) Failure to Face Reality
“‘You simpletons!’ she cries. ‘How long will you go on being fools? How long will you scoff at wisdom and fight the facts.’”
Plaut: Three types of people are exhorted by wisdom:
1) The thoughtless . . . a character weakness is involved.
2) The scorners. The letz lives by tearing others down; he is derisive because derision builds up his ego.
3) The fools. . . morally deficient. Intellectually, he is capable of understanding right and wrong, but he hates to learn how to make right decisions and manages to get himself into trouble.
b. (:23-24) Failure to Respond to Importunity (persistent solicitation)
“Come here and listen to me! I’ll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you, and make you wise. I have called you so often but still you won’t come. I have pleaded, but all in vain.”
c. (:25) Failure to Repent in Time
“For you have spurned my counsel and reproof.”
3. (:26-28) Wisdom Will Reject the Belated Appeals of Desperate Foolishness
“Some day you’ll be in trouble, and I’ll mock you! When a storm of terror surrounds you, and when you are engulfed by anguish and distress, then I will not answer your cry for help. It will be too late though you search for me ever so anxiously.”
Plaut: The verse (:28) portrays a common human weakness: we wait until it is all but too late, and then we cry for help and expect it right away.”
B. (:29-33) Bitter Fruit of Rejecting Wisdom
1. (:29-30) You Have No One to Blame But Yourself
“For you closed your eyes to the facts and did not choose to reverence and trust the Lord, and you turned your back on me, spurning my advice.”
2. (:31-32) Fools Get What they Asked For
“That is why you must eat the bitter fruit of having your own way, and experience the full terrors of the pathway you have chosen. For you turned away from me – to death; your own complacency will kill you. Fools!”
3. (:33) Fundamental Promise: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
“But all who listen to me shall live in peace and safety, unafraid.”