And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before You in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward You. And You have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?” - 1 Kings 3:6-9
The book of Proverbs is by no means biographical, but since almost the entire collection is attributed to King Solomon, it’s fitting to remember that the wisdom compiled here was done in a place, in a time, and by a king whose heart was, initially at least, attuned to the LORD. Solomon’s father had secured the kingdom and subdued the nations around Israel, but this endowment could not guarantee his son’s success. Solomon’s desire for wisdom, and his understanding of its origin, would allow tribute and honor to flow toward Jerusalem in ways his father couldn’t have dreamed.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. This is the end of the introduction to chapter 1, and it may well be used as a conclusion to this book as well. Later on in the first chapter Solomon personifies wisdom, which “cries aloud in the street…” If one listens to this cry, he affirms in chapter 2, then wisdom will act as both guide and shield: “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path… discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech…”
Pay attention to this observation in the middle of chapter 3: The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. That clause “by wisdom” at the beginning of this thrusts the quest for wisdom beyond individual gain and protection, beyond simple advice: it is to connect with the means through which the universe was created.
Our verse for this week is James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Proverbs 1 through 3. Now let’s read it!
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.