The Memory verse for this week is Proverbs 9:10:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
The book of Proverbs is a genre of literature known as wisdom literature. Along with Job and Ecclesiastes, Proverbs looks at the world in a slightly different way than the historical books of the Bible or the prophetic books. In the wisdom books, the sages find information about God throughout the world of nature. Where God reveals himself directly to Moses and Israel in Exodus and he reveals himself in visions to the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, to the sages who write in Proverbs God often reveals himself in the created world and by observation of human behavior.
In Proverbs 6:6 he writes: “go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” An ant is a comparatively small and very weak creature when set alongside a human being, and yet, ants are industrious and hard working. They plan and prepare for the winter by working hard and gathering up their provisions in the summer time. There is wisdom in hard work and preparation. The wisdom writer uses this as a way to admonish the person who is lazy and refuses to do the hard work of preparing for winter. So the wisdom lesson here is “don’t be lazy, work hard to prepare in advance and you will be much less likely to suffer adversity.”
We could then apply this to other areas of life. For students this means, don’t wait until the night before your test to begin “cramming” for the test. Work hard at your studies each day in your preparation. Read your assignments, do your research. Then, when the harvest comes (the test) you will be successful because you worked hard and prepared. That’s wisdom applied to life and that’s the value of Proverbs.
Later in Proverbs 6 wisdom is applied to relationships and to marital faithfulness. He gives a stern warning against the sin of adultery. He compares adultery to scooping a fire into your lap and expecting not to get burned or trying to walk across hot coals without burning your feet. As Forrest Gump would say “sometimes things just don’t make no sense.” Thinking that you can play around with fire and not get burned is foolish… and thinking that you can cheat on your spouse or with someone else’s spouse and not get burned is just plain foolish. “A man who commits adultery has no sense.” Instead of the ant, the author uses the jealous husband as the example from nature “he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.”
One doesn’t have to look far to find wisdom. God has imbedded it in all of his creation and we just need to pay attention- whether it’s the wisdom of the ant in working hard to prepare for Winter, or the wisdom of not fooling around with someone else’s wife or husband, we need to pay attention to God’s wisdom that’s revealed all around us.
~ Jeff Fletcher