King Solomon spells them out in the first six verses the book:

  1. Attain wisdom (v2)
  2. Acquire discipline (v2 and 3)
  3. Gain understanding (v2)
  4. Develop a prudent lifestyle (v3 and 4)
  5. Learn to do what is right and just and fair (v3)
  6. Receive knowledge (v4)
  7. Develop discretion (v4)
  8. Add to our learning (v5)
  9. Receive guidance (v5)
  10. Learn to understand proverbs and parables (v6)

Do those things excite you? I have to confess that upon reading them this week they left me a little flat.

I looked up the word prudent in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:

1: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3: skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4: caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Those things, and the other nine in the list above, sound like good qualities to me – practices that will enhance my personal, professional and spiritual life. Why would I not want that? Perhaps because sometimes I want what’s easy and these things take work. Perhaps it’s because living in America in the twenty-first century, I am overwhelmed by television, magazine and online ads that encourage me to “go for the gusto” and “indulge myself.” I’m encouraged again and again to live the good life and to give myself a break because “I deserve it” or “I’m worth it.” Our environment cultivates a self-centered lifestyle that is passionate about enjoyment and rarely encourages discipline and prudence.

When I’m constantly bombarded by messages to the contrary, it can be hard to remember that pursuing discipline and prudence – making them the by-product passion of my passion for pursuing God – is what will bring the most satisfaction. As we look at Proverbs 1, I am reminded of the first three verses of Psalm 1. These verses were written by King Solomon’s father, King David:

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

King Solomon learned from his earthly father that blessings abound for those who pursue God, His laws and His ways. They are blessings that surpass the “good life” this world wants me to pursue.

The first six verses of Proverbs may not hold the pizzazz of the most recent sixty-second commercial I watched, but they hold the potential for tremendous blessing – both in this life and the next.

Lord, deliver me from my sinful nature that wants what this world is selling. Grow in me that hunger and thirst that only You can fill. Help me develop the discipline that turns to you when I am looking for escape and rest.

As I finished reading Proverbs 1, I found this verse:

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
Proverbs 1:32 (NIV)

Lord, keep me from my foolishness and complacency.

How about you, friends? Do you find yourself pulled by this culture into a leisure-focused lifestyle? Do the words discipline and prudence sometimes cause you to turn and walk (or run) in the opposite direction? May the Lord encourage you (as He has me) to put aside your complacency and your foolishness and run hard – with all you’ve got in you – toward Him. We do that by following His plans for our lives, not the world’s.

I pray that as we read the book of Proverbs, the Lord draws us into discipline and prudence while giving us wisdom and understanding. May He bless our reading this month.

One Response to “Ten Reasons to Read Proverbs”
  1. Jerrell Gorychka…

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