A DETECTIVE’S SEARCH IN PROVERBS–PART 1
HAVE YOUR BIBLES READY FOR A TREASURE HUNT:
Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “wise guys”. In fact, there was a 1986 film starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo titled Wise Guys. the movie was described by Wikipedia as “A comedy revolving around two small-time mobsters from Newark, New Jersey.
On April 18th, 1986, Roger Ebert the film critic said this about the movie when it arrived on the Big Screen: “Wise Guys is an abundant movie, filled with ideas and gags and great characters. It never runs dry.”
The Internets “Your Dictionary” definition of Wise Guys is, “are people who are brashly and annoyingly conceited, knowing, etc.; smart aleck.”
WHO THEN ARE GOD’S ‘WISE GUYS’ AND WHAT’S A PROVERB? – A STUDY IN PROVERBS:
The Amplified Bible puts it this way:
“THE PROVERBS (truths, obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:” (Proverbs 1:1 AMP).
In verse one, Solomon begins to reveal the reason for these proverbs. “WISDOM” and “KNOWLEDGE” are two key words and are both similarly used in PROVERBS 1:7, 9:10.
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7).
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
I just began reading THE PROVERBS, not for the first time but as a devotional reading this past week. Although Solomon is credited with writing some 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32), the book of Proverbs contains only about 900. Consequently over the next few WORD DETECTIVE blogs, I will only be addressing a partial collection in the series.
The word “proverb” denotes “a description by the way of comparison.” Many people make the mistake that KNOWLEDGE is WISDOM; a person with several degrees, certificates of biblical studies, etc. And the reality is? Many may NOT have any practical sense at all and may not know how to use the knowledge he or she thinks they have.
THE ‘OPEN DOOR’ OF GOD’S WORD:
Over the doors of the school of Plato these words were written in Greek: “Let no one enter who is not a geometrician.”
But Solomon opens wide the doors of his proverbs with a special message of welcome to the unlearned, the simple, the foolish, the young, and even the ‘wise guys’:
“That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, Receive instruction in WISE dealing and the discipline of WISE thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth— The WISE also will  HEAR and  INCREASE IN LEARNING, and the person of understanding will  ACQUIRE SKILL and [4} ATTAIN TO SOUND COUNSEL [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly” (Proverbs 1:2-6 AMP).
Now I capitalized and numbered some key words in those five verses for emphasis; and for illustration of “Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?
THE 4 KEY WORDS:
1. HEAR or LISTEN.
2. INCREASE YOUR LEARNING.
3. ACQUIRING SKILL.
4. ATTAIN SOUND COUNSEL [even Pastors need Pastors].
“WISDOM” and “INSTRUCTION”:
“Hokmah” in the Hebrew is a significant term found in approximately 150 places with the dominant sense of “WISDOM.” WISDOM refers to knowledge coupled with inner quality that embodies the heart and life in conformity with purposes and character of God. hokmah has this meaning throughout most of its usage in a variety of contexts. However, in several paces it also has the alternative meaning “SKILL,” or “ABILITY,” and can be communicated to us by the Spirit of Yahweh; to particular individuals~ *(taken from the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words-Stephen Renn Editor). So the word “WISDOM” here in Proverbs 1 means “skill” and suggests a right use of knowledge.
The word means correction or chastisement. In the Greek version, the same word is used in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP:
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for INSTRUCTION, for REPROOF and CONVICTION of sin, for CORRECTION of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in RIGHTEOUSNESS (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (disciplined in righteousness).
“DISCERN and COMPREHEND” – (verse 2).
In the King James Bible, it says “to PERCEIVE the words of understanding.” In the Amplified version it reads “discern and comprehend…”
To perceive suggests the possibility to hear words of understanding and especially spiritual things. For it takes a special enlightenment of Holy Spirit for a man/woman to understand spiritual truth:
“Why do you misunderstand what I say? It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying. [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching]” (John 8:43 AMP).
In 1 Corinthians 2:14. the apostle Paul says that the natural man can understand the natural but cannot understand the supernatural.
So if your “SPIRITUAL WISDOM” is coming from another source, it’s NOT from God but from man.
AN “INTELLIGENCE” WHICH INSTRUCTS – (PROVERBS 1:3-4).
“WISE” or “WISDOM” mentioned here is a different word than verse 2. It is “intelligence” which instructs in PRUDENCE (verse 4); the understanding sense of a “wise guy”; one who is skilled in applying that knowledge to his/her life.
Justice is more commonly rendered “righteousness,” while “judgement” is putting wisdom into practice (verse 3).
Verse 4 says “that PRUDENCE may be given to the simple”. Who are the “SIMPLE”? They are the inexperienced or unlearned and not the mentally deficient. The philosophers excluded the young as unfit for their teachings and righteous principles of the time. But the WISEST of men stoops to the humblest–a type of the WISE teacher mentioned in Matthew 18:3-4; 19:14-15. So the older people have a duty to teach and the younger a duty to submissively learn. There is no other way to pass on knowledge.
“INTEGRITY” or “PRUDENCE” has to do then with rightness or uprightness. So the whole end of knowing wisdom, instruction and perceiving understanding is that one might practice holy living. FALSE RELIGION is almost always guilty of hypocrisy preaching and not practicing (Matthew 23:2-4).
True Wisdom ~ (verse 5).
“True WISDOM is never stationary but always progressive.” [Faussett]. God’s ‘wise guys’ never assume to have attained perfection of KNOWLEDGE; it’s the FOOL who thinks he has attained a plateau of learning beyond who no one can teach him or her any further.
When I was a sophomore in college, I decided that I no longer needed to carry a full load of classes. I had a good part-time job at a local grocery store that wanted me to become a FULL-TIME worker; a career! That meant more hours, more money and more toys! What more could a 20 yr old want in life. It was a “NO DUH” moment–or was it?
Eventually after three years of college, thinking that I was wise in the purest sense, I dropped out of school and made the grocery business my career instead of graduating with a Teachers Degree in Biology. That decision was made from a natural man, who was unwise in his thinking; for it lasted only for another two years.
We get the word sophomoric from the word sophomore: meaning characteristics of a sophomore; intellectually pretentious, juvenile; over-confident, immature. I was all of that when I was young and more! But none of my thinking was ever derived from the “TRUE WISDOM” of God. Are there sophomoric Christians in your life right now?
The ‘Wise Guys’ of God are submissive.
The proud and rebellious are fools and NOT wise guy’s. But how often do we all proudly refuse wise counsel from others? And how about the results of our actions; of the hearing and learning that is mentioned in Proverbs 1:5?
“That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles” (verse 6).
Anyone with workable ears can hear, but many do not understand what is heard. This takes WISDOM.
“INTERPRETATION” is a big word!
It means eloquent speech or a speech that needs explanation because it seems mysterious. The more we learn the more we need to learn. Life’s mysteries open up as we learn and to stop learning is… folly.
The Fear Of the Lord (verse 7).
I wrote an entire blog sometime ago discussing The Fear Of The Lord for many people have misunderstood its true meaning.
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge.”
Solomon’s text for this section of Proverbs One is: “Beginning” = “principal part” and without a proper reverence for God and no knowledge will profit much without it. “FEAR” = reverential trust and love; as a child has for its father.
To finish verse 7, Solomon refers to those who despise Wisdom, instruction, and discipline as “FOOLS.” In the Bible a fool isn’t someone who is mentally deficient but one who is in rebellion to God’s Word; the TRUTH, His Wisdom and not mans. One who lives as if there were no God at all:
“THE [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt and evil are they” (Psalm 53:1).
i.e., an unsaved person.
In Part 2 of the investigation into Proverbs and “Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?; I will continue the study with: “Are Not The Benefits Of Wisdom Worth the Effort?” If you want to look ahead to Proverbs 2, underlined in your Bible or jot down the “IF” s and the “THEN” s. Get out your spiritual magnifying glass!