The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
The Book of Proverbs begins with the assertion that anyone can profit from more wisdom—both the novice and those who are already wise. God is the Source of wisdom, and a relationship with Him that includes respect for what He says is Truth is the framework for all knowledge, the perspective from which everything makes more sense.
There are, however, those who “lie in wait for their own blood”—not even as smart as animals who avoid a trap. Yes, God can punish—and has, but mostly we punish ourselves by our own sins. It’s even possible to destroy the possibility of repentance, of turning back…or even wanting to. Jesus called it “sin against the Holy Spirit” (Mark 3:29); Wisdom calls it “eating the fruit of their own way, having the fill of their own devices” (Proverbs 1:31). Romans calls it suffering “the wrath of God” (Romans 1:18, 24, 26, 28).
But it doesn’t have to be that way: We have freedom to choose—something better! Wisdom cries aloud everywhere!
Everywhere there’s evidence for God, fingerprints of His handiwork, His providence. And if we respond to Truth, if we accept His perspective and insight, and endeavor by the way we live our lives to adorn His teaching, He will reveal to us even more Truth, which will in turn adorn us—make our lives beautiful, secure, and without fear of disaster.
Artist—designing and building stained glass windows
Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington, USA