Sermon Notes: Proverbs 1:1-7

Proverbs is the book of wisdom. 

Wisdom is the ability to make skillful and competent application of the knowledge of God and his kingdom to everyday life on earth as it is perfectly done in heaven. – Mitchell Jolly

“Wisdom is the ability to make godly choices in life.”

There are 168 hours in a week. 

  • I/we get 30-45 minutes a week in bible instruction.
  • I/we get maybe 10 more via blog posts or social media content.
  • Maybe another 30 minutes of discipleship/small group time related to actual bible/thinking.
  • With some maybe an hour more if they listen to me and Keith’s podcast. 
  • Max of 2 hours a week with some. 
  • That leaves 165.5 hours of influence on thinking/feeling/responding to who knows what sources of information / influence. 

You and I need to know wisdom. 

If we are going to have a thoroughly Christian framework, we are going to have to spend some time feeding ourselves. 

This is why I-we preach/teach like I-we do. You don’t just need information, you need the ability to feed yourselves. 

So, I-we want to give you some feeding utensils before we just launch into throwing Proverbs 1:1-7 content at you. 

The genres of the Old Testament

  • The Law gives us the framework of God’s holiness. 
  • The prophets call us to the holy standard of God’s law in the world.  
  • The “writings, Proverbs, Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, etc.” provide God’s way of working out his holiness in the fine nuances of circumstances that may arise when seeking the reign of God in holiness among the nations on God’s mission. 

Some tools to help us as we study through Proverbs

  1. Proverbs are often parabolic (parables…figurative, pointing beyond themselves)
  2. Proverbs are intensely practical. They are not doing explicit systematic theology.  
  3. Proverbs are worded to be memorable, not technically precise. 
    1. Remember: Scripture can be inerrant while using figurative language.
  4. Proverbs that strongly reflect ancient culture may need some “translation” to our time so as to not lose their intention. 
    1. Proverbs 25:24 (ESV) It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
  5. Proverbs are not guarantees from God but poetic guidelines for good behavior with somewhat predictable results. 
  6. Proverbs often use exaggeration or a variety of literary devices to make the point.
  7. Proverbs is Hebrew wisdom literature, and it served to train young men and women to obey the Lord in the nuances of life.
  8. There are seven major sections in Proverbs. 
    1. Chapters 1-9 are the introduction where Solomon is selling us on wisdom and commending wisdom to us. 
    2. Chapter 10 on is six collections of proverbs by Solomon and other divinely inspired authors. 

Warning: The dark kingdom can hijack wisdom, so we need to beware. NOT ALL WISDOM IS GOD’S WISDOM. Just like there is philosophy not according to Christ, there is wisdom not according to Christ. THERE IS SKILLFUL LIVING IN THE DARK KINGDOM, AND WE NEED TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

James 3:13-17 (ESV) Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 

It will take discipline to let Jesus’ wisdom overcome demonic wisdom. 

Illustration: Peter’s loving attempt to protect Jesus was actually a Satanic intercept of Jesus’ mission. 

Matthew 16:21-23 (ESV) From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

We know Jesus as our King, Savior, and Great High Priest, and in Proverbs we will learn him as our great mentor in living skillfully.

Proverbs 1:1-7

Author/Compiler/Arranger – Solomon Proverbs 1:1

  1. Solomon (Hezekiah arranges chapters 25-29 written by Solomon)
    1. When given a chance to ask for anything by God, he chose wisdom. 
    2. Immediately gets tested after God gives him wisdom. 
      1. 1 Kings 3
        1. Wisdom does not exist so one can have it and be smug, rather it exists to be learned in order to bring holy order into the details of living on earth like it is done in heaven because the curse of sin has brought the folly of chaos into life.

Proverbs 2 Goals 1:2-4, 6

  1. Goal 1: To know wisdom and Instruction v. 2a, 3-4 
    1. Wisdom – Wisdom is the ability to make skillful and competent application of the knowledge of God and his kingdom to everyday life on earth as it is perfectly done in heaven.
    2. Instruction – Training/Discipline
      1. This is why not everyone is wily and wise…it takes hard work. 
      2. What does this hard work entail? v. 3-4

NOTE: Some of this may not be considered good southern nicety. The training and discipline necessary for wisdom is found in the minute details and ability to learn from those who see when we can’t. It will require the hard work of humility as well. 

  1. Learning wise dealing – attentive…super nuanced/clever
  2. Learning righteousness – what is right regarding weights and measures. 
    1. Very much a market place sense of right and fair. 
  3. Learning justice – judgment/act of deciding a case.
    1. The ability to carry out righteousness for the public good of a city or a people. 
  4. Learning equity – level path/equality
    1. Recognizing when there is inequality. 
  5. Learning prudence – Shrewdness/Craftiness
    1. Matthew 10:16 (ESV) Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
  6. Learning knowledge – knowing…particularly regarding knowing God. 
  7. Learning discretion – the ability to decide based on one’s own ability to make sound judgement.
  8. Goals 2: To understand words of insight v. 2b, 6
    1. To discern what is understanding…education…
    2. The implication here is that the simple are humbling themselves before those who demonstrate wisdom and spend time learning from the wise. 
      1. To understand a proverb and a saying. v. 6
        1. To grow in the application of truth to the world. 
      2. To understand the words of the wise and their riddles.
        1. To grow in the ability to be super nuanced in how we apply God’s word. 

The already wise have not arrived 1:5

  1. Wisdom is not a destination, but it is the lifelong pursuit of knowing God and increasing that relational knowledge. 
  2. Wisdom also seeks out continued guidance and more learning. 

The Source of Wisdom 1:7

Where do the godly wise get their wisdom? 

NOTE: Godly wisdom does not necessarily come with age.

  1. The fear of Yhwh is where knowledge comes from, and this knowledge is wisdom. Only fools despise the instruction in the knowledge of God.  
    1. Fear of Yhwh – Reverence/honor/obey/joyful trembling
      1. The Wind in the Willows: Rat and Mole go looking for the baby otter and stumble into the presence of God: “Suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror—indeed, he felt wonderfully at peace and happy.…“Rat!” he found breath to whisper, shaking. “Are you afraid?” “Afraid?” murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. “Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet—and yet—O, Mole, I am afraid!” Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.” – Kenneth Graeme 
    2. Knowledge begins in the fear of Yhwh, and this is wisdom. 
    3. Fools reject the fear of Yhwh and the discipline necessary to have that wisdom.

Application

  1. Spiritual vitality is connected to fearfully and wonderfully knowing God and then the wise application of God’s word. So, labor at these.
    1. This is the most challenging aspect of discipleship.
    2. Discipleship and sanctification (spiritual vitality) are active not passive, and are gained in the wise pursuit of God and application of God’s word. 
      1. How do the 168 hours of your week get spent pursuing just this alone?
  2. Imitate our wise mentor/God Jesus.
    1. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:5-8
      1. Jesus’ very life was knowing the Father and making application of his word even to the point of death. 
      2. It is a humbling and difficult pursuit to know God and become wise in his kingdom BECAUSE IT WILL RUN COUNTER TO EVERY ATOM OF YOUR FLESH AND WILL REQUIRE CONSTANT RESOLVE TO STAY THE COURSE. 
  3. Don’t overlook the study of God’s world and all his disciplines through the lens of God and his word. You will find wisdom in the microscopic nuance of everything God made when you see it through him. 
  4. Never settle in what you currently know. Keep growing. Take advantage of every opportunity to gain insight. 

Corporate Prayer Ezekiel 36:37-38

  1. Increase our people
  2. Increase our holiness
  3. Increase our sending

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