INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS
The Book of Proverbs is the revelation of wisdom from “the son of David, King of Israel” (1:1). As that identification is made, it is imperative that you keep in mind the three applications of Scripture. (For a review of them, please refer to “Highlights and Insights” on Day 173.)
THE HISTORICAL APPLICATION
>From an historical standpoint, the Book of Proverbs is the impartation of Solomon’s wisdom, the King of Israel, to his son, Rehoboam. (Note, “My son” is found as Solomon’s “lead in” 23 times in this Book.) It is a Book written to a king’s son to teach him how to rule in a kingdom, as he employs the practical principles of life and leadership that flow out of understanding the difference between the wise and the fool, what is right and what is wrong, the “godly” man versus the “evil” man, and a “virtuous” woman versus a “strange” woman.
THE DOCTRINAL/PROPHETIC APPLICATION
>From a doctrinal/prophetic standpoint, the Book of Proverbs is the
>revealing of wisdom to the Nation of Israel during the Tribulation
>Period. (Note how God identifies Israel in Exodus 4:22 – “Israel is MY
>SON”!) It is a Book written by Israel’s king to warn then against the
>Antichrist (THE “evil man”) and the harlotrous bed of false religion
>(THE “strange” woman) that will be so seductive during that time
>period. (More will be said about this identification of the “evil man”
>and “strange woman” in the “Highlights and Insights” section in Today’s
THE DEVOTIONAL/INSPIRATIONAL APPLICATION
>From a devotional/inspirational standpoint, the Book of Proverbs is the revelation of wisdom from Israel’s king, the “King of kings,” the “Son of David,” the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 9:27; 15:22; 20:30-31) to all who have been made His “sons” (John 1:12; I John 3:1). It is a Book written to teach a young man how to live and lead in a kingdom, the first “kingdom” being the “kingdom” of his own life. He must learn how to rule his own heart, mind, emotions, passions and desires. When he has applied the wisdom of his King to that first “kingdom,” a young man is ready to take on the responsibility of marriage, and bringing up children. After learning to “rule well” in the “kingdom” of his home, he is then ready to take on the responsibility of applying the wisdom of his King in the “kingdom” of the “church.”
Because he has applied the wisdom of His King, revealed through Proverbs, he has learned how to rule in his spirit over the pitfalls men fall into that “disqualify” them from ruling in their homes and the church:
• The love of self – II Tim. 3:2
• The love of pleasure – II Tim. 3:4 (i.e. self-gratification,
seduction of the “strange” woman, etc.) • The love of money – I Tim. 6:10, and • The love of this present world – II Tim. 4:10.
At the same time a young man is learning to apply the wisdom of His King to the “kingdom” of his life and all subsequent kingdoms, if a young lady will likewise apply the wisdom of her King to her life, allowing Him to develop in her the character of a virtuous woman, the two will inevitably, in God’s sovereignty and wisdom, find each other. The godly young man will recognize the character of the woman to whom he should offer the proposal of marriage, and the godly young woman will recognize the character of the one to whom she should accept the proposal of marriage. He would be perfectly suited to fulfill his role of representing the Lord Jesus Christ (the godly man) in the home (Eph. 5:25), and she would be perfectly suited to fulfill her role of representing the church (the “virtuous” woman) in the home (Eph. 5:24). As the home’s “keeper” (Titus 2:5) or “guardian” (Prov. 31:27 – “looketh well” = “watchman”), she would be reporting to her husband the things that she sees!
that might put the “kingdom” of the home in jeopardy. As the home’s “head” (Eph. 5:23), he would be poised to make the decisions that would provide spiritual security and safety in the home.
In a very practical application, it is interesting to observe the connection of the 31 chapters of the Book of Proverbs to days, months, and years. Most months consist of 31 days. Because of the importance of the context and purposes of the Book of Proverbs, many have found it a great spiritual discipline and habit to read the Book of Proverbs through each month, reading the chapter that coincides with the day of the month.
In the Jewish mind in Solomon’s day, Jesus’ day, and in the mind of orthodox Jews to the present day, a man had not fully arrived into “manhood” until he reached 30 years of age. (Note that Jesus did not begin His public ministry until He was 30 years of age.) Because of this connection between the chapters in Proverbs and the years of a Jewish young man, some have noted that the context of each chapter should be introduced to a young man at the age that coincides with the chapter. (i.e. that would mean that a boy during the ages of 5,6, and 7 would be learning the cautions of the woman that God says is to be avoided, long before he has even developed an interest in girls, and certainly long before his flesh would be stimulated by her allurements and enticements. When he is in chapter 31, which would be the 30th year of his life, he would be able to clearly see and appreciate the value of the “virtuous” woman that is presented there.
It is at that point, the 30th year of his life, after mastering the content of the Book of Proverbs, and applying its wisdom to his life, that he would be qualified to rule his own spirit, his home, the church, the McDonald’s Corporation, IBM, or all at the same time!
The Book of Proverbs is an intensely practical Book for learning how to live a godly life in an ungodly world.
TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS 1-4
The purpose for the Book of Proverbs; the enticement of sinners; the need for wisdom; the prerequisites of obtaining wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; the power of wisdom and knowledge to protect from the “evil man” and the “strange woman”; the rewards of wisdom; the instruction of a father.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
In the first four verses God lets you know that the Book of Proverbs was designed to accomplish nine things:
1. To know wisdom and instruction.
2. To perceive the words of understanding.
3. To receive the instruction of wisdom.
4. To receive the instruction of justice.
5. To receive the instruction of judgment.
6. To receive the instruction of equity.
7. To give subtilty to the simple.
8. To give the young man knowledge.
9. To give the young man discretion.
Nine, as you recall, is the number of “fruit-bearing” in the Bible. We could say that Jesus wrote this Book of the Bible to us to teach us how to have a fruitful life.
We look at the gangs that threaten safety in every major city (and in many not-so-major cites) in America, and wonder how could society have so degenerated to such extreme and senseless violence. Verses 10-19 of chapter one show us that it is really nothing new! They reveal to us that there is something within our depravity that finds such behavior appealing and “enticing,” and will be a part of a culture where children grow up with no “fear of the Lord” (1:7), and do not receive or “hear the instruction of their fathers, and forsake the law of their mothers” (1:8).
For those who become frustrated because you can’t always make heads or tails out of what you read in the Bible, take heart! Claim God’s promise in 1:23 – “I will pour our my spirit unto you, and I will make known my words unto you” !
Note also the related promise in chapter 2 and verse 6, “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” But notice that there are five verses in chapter 2 preceding the promise of verse 6. There are seven prerequisites to receiving God’s wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
#1 – You must RECEIVE His WORDS. (2:1a)
#2 – You must HIDE His COMMANDMENTS with thee. (2:1b)
#3 – You must INCLINE YOUR EAR unto WISDOM. (2:2a)
#4 – You must APPLY YOUR HEART to UNDERSTANDING. (2:2b)
#5 – You must CRY OUT for KNOWLEDGE. (2:3a)
#6 – You must LIFT UP YOUR VOICE for UNDERSTANDING. (2:3b)
#7 – You must SEEK and SEARCH for God’s WISDOM as you would
for silver & hid treasure. (2:4)
Notice the very next word in verse 5: “THEN”! After those seven prerequisites are fulfilled, “THEN” verse 6 will be a reality. The fact is, people don’t know God’s Word, and thus, do not receive His wisdom, understanding and knowledge (2:6), for the simple fact that they don’t really want it. God is basically saying through the seven prerequisites – “You gotta want it!” When you really want it, and thereby, receive it, note the incredible benefit it provides as your internal defense mechanism against sin in 2:10-22. “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee (2:11), to deliver thee from the way of the evil man (2:12)… to deliver thee from the strange woman” (2:16).
The “evil man” and the “strange woman” are key characters in the Book of Proverbs and in life. Keeping in mind the three applications of Scripture, in a historical and devotional sense, every culture has “evil men” who speak froward (perverse) things (2:12), and love to do evil and to pull others into their wicked ways (2:14). God’s wisdom, understanding and knowledge is what “preserves” us and “keeps” us (2:11) from these “ways of darkness” (2:13), and “the frowardness of the wicked” (2:14). Every culture also has “strange women,” women we refer to today as seductive, loose, or whorish, who seek to lure and allure men sexually. Again, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge is what “preserves” us and “keeps” us (2:11) from her enticements and entrapments.
>From a doctrinal or prophetic standpoint, the “evil man” refers to those in whom the “antichrist spirit” dwells, that is the personification of the very Devil himself. They are found in every culture, and yet will ultimately be represented in THE Antichrist (Satan in a human body – I John 2:18), THE “evil man”! The “strange woman” in a doctrinal or prophetic sense, refers to the harlotrous false religious systems of the world that seduce men (mankind) into her bed and hold them there (2:19).
The “evil man” and the “strange woman” are to be avoided in a devotional sense because they will make your life a living hell. The “evil man” and the “strange woman” are to be avoided in a doctrinal/prophetic sense because they will send you to a literal, eternal hell!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the SON OF DAVID; ISRAEL’S WISE KING – Prov. 1:1 (Matt. 927; 15:22; 20:30-31).
As the CREATOR WHO FOUNDED THE EARTH – Prov. 3:19 (Col. 1:16; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:2-3).
As the TEACHER OF WISDOM – Prov. 4:7, 11 (Col. 2:3).