We are going to do something different this morning. Rabbi Glenn and Rebbetzin Alexandra, Rebbetzin Martha and I are going to discuss Proverbs 10 together. Proverbs 10 starts one of the main sections of the Book of Proverbs.
We are doing this because come into this world lacking knowledge and lacking wisdom. Proverbs is designed to help us acquire knowledge and wisdom. We need knowledge and wisdom because this world is a dark, confusing, dangerous place. We need knowledge and wisdom because a fallen world will tell us to do foolish, destructive things. There many different and confusing and dangerous messages, and Proverbs helps us discern between truth and error.
Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom. Foolishness is ignoring God’s wise principles and results in damage and harm and loss, and perhaps even eternal loss. We don’t want to be foolish men and women!
Knowledge is good. Knowledge is power. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge in the right way. Wisdom comes from applying knowledge in such a way that you live according to God’s wise principles that the Creator has designed into this universe. Wisdom is very beneficial. It does so much good for us! It results in divine favor and blessing and success in this life and ultimately eternal success in the Life-To-Come! We want more wisdom!
Why Should We Read The Book Of Proverbs?
Because our culture is post-Christian, and increasingly anti-Christian. Sixty years ago the culture supported Biblical values and Biblical morality. The schools, the media, the government encouraged wise living. No longer. These damning words of Rabbi Paul now apply to us: Although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. That’s us. Our culture is no longer wise, and we and our children and grandchildren need to get wisdom directly from sources like the Book of Proverbs.
Why should we read Proverbs? Because they are true. Because they are wise. Because the book of Proverbs teaches us about God, about morality, about the importance of good character, and that God, and wisdom and morality and successful living are connected.
Why should we read Proverbs? Because the book of Proverbs helps parents teach their children about God, morality, good character, successful living, and this is something that parents are responsible to do for their children; because the Book of Proverbs has very practical advice and also very spiritual advice. Because it helps us live a balanced life between the practical and the spiritual.
Why should we read Proverbs? Because we can grow in wisdom and knowledge and because it becomes fun to grow in wisdom and knowledge. It’s like an interesting fun game, seeing into various situations, knowing how something will turn out before it happens because one of God’s principles was implemented or ignored. We read Proverbs because they are short, they are easy to understand and to remember.
How Do We Read Proverbs?
Proverbs are principles. They should be understood as general rules, not absolute promises. They are generally true but not always true. There may be exceptions. For example, last week Martha commented on 1:8: Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. She made the point that the ideal situation for raising children involves a father and a mother. That’s true. That’s the way God designed the family. But that does not mean that a single-parent home can’t raise successful children.
Martha and I read Proverbs over and over, and each time we read the same chapter we’ve read before, it’s different. It’s “improv,” like free-flowing Jazz music, different each time, which makes it interesting and fresh.
How do we read proverbs? Slowly. Thoughtfully. We consider different circumstances and people we know that fit a proverb, both good examples of fulfilling the proverb and bad examples of not implementing the proverb. We learn from their example, from their success or failure.
How do we read Proverbs? As individuals: It’s good for individuals to read on their own. It’s good to read Proverbs with a friend. When you read and discuss Proverbs with someone else, they bring their perspective to it. They may see something you don’t see. It reminds me of the proverb: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. It’s especially good for husbands and wives to read together. It stimulates conversations about issues the couple may be experiencing and helps them apply God’s principles to that situation. As families: It brings the family together, discussing a wide variety of practical and spiritual topics from God’s perspective.
Since there are 31 chapters to Proverbs, we will generally read the chapter that goes with that day. If, for example, it’s April 13th, we will read the 13th chapter of Proverbs; if it’s April 14th, the 14th chapter, etc. Some people will read through Proverbs every month, familiarizing themselves with this collection of wise sayings and absorbing the wisdom that is there.
I recommend that this year, everyone reads Proverbs once or twice.