by John and Ruth Greene
“As a young boy just having learned to read, I discovered the Book of Proverbs. I was thrilled because it was relatively easy to understand and made so much sense. I was so excited by the idea of small snippets of wisdom that I wrote several pages of my very own proverbs modeled after the ones that I loved in Proverbs. Of course, this was the wisdom of a young boy, but Proverbs captured my imagination and began my forays into the world of art and design, as I designed my work to look just like the Bible pages that I read.” – John Greene
Proverbs covers a wide range of topics: youth and discipline, family life, self control, resisting temptation, immorality, business matters, words and the tongue, knowing your Heavenly Father, marriage, seeking truth and important truths about wealth and poverty. The Book of Proverbs is about affairs of the heart, the human heart. In this, we can learn that knowing YHWH is the key to wisdom.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 16:25, NKJV
The word “proverb” is translated from the Hebrew word ma?sha?l which means a parable or verse of wisdom. The reality for the reader today reveals a code of behavior and the discovery of hidden truth. Proverbs often uses contrasts to teach, just as much of scripture does. The Book of Proverbs is generally short and quick to the point. Even so, as you read in your Bible, one proverb is like a potato chip in that you find you can’t eat just one. Proverbs captures your mind so that you can sound truth into your heart. (“Spiritual Fruit & Renewing Your Mind“; “Seeking a New Spirit“)
“YHWH tears down the house of the proud, and He sets up the boundary of the widow. Evil thoughts are an abomination to YHWH, but pleasant words are clean. He who is greedy for gain, troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes lives. The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wrong pours out evil.” – Proverbs 15:25-28, ISR98
In the world of automatic thinking, tunnel vision and closed minds, disciples of the Messiah need the vision and perspective of YHWH’s wisdom. Plans fail for lack of counsel in the lives of men and women. Today, the Bible and the gift of the Holy Spirit, your Divine Counselor is exactly what you need. (John 15:26, 16:7; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11) Mankind has concluded that a ‘man is not an island,’ and in this sense, a timely word from other mature disciples has great benefit as well. (Proverbs 27:17; “Are You Rejecting YHWH’s Holy Spirit?“; “Testing for YHWH’s Spirit“; “Abiding in Trust “; “Abiding With YHWH in Quiet Places “)
The path of the upright isn’t always easy. Even so, the alternatives of the world cause problems that a wise and upright person never needs to face. (Proverbs 15:17-19) A disciple of the Messiah walks on a level road because YHWH’s road is built on a solid foundation of love. (Isaiah 26:7, 40:4, 42:16; Luke 3:5) The Book of Proverbs imparts wisdom for upright living, supporting you as you walk on YHWH’s path, an entrenchment of righteousness. (“YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “The Call of YHWH’s Watchman“; “Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“)
Not all of the proverbs are so brief. In the first nine chapters Solomon’s rich oratory champions the cause of wisdom as he addresses the youth of his nation, as if wisdom itself was speaking to them.
“My son, if you accept my words,
And treasure up my commands with you,
So that you make your ear attend to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as hidden treasures,
Then you would understand the fear of YHWH,
And find the knowledge of Elohim.
For YHWH gives wisdom;
Out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
And He treasures up stability for the straight,
A shield to those walking blamelessly,
To watch over the paths of right-ruling,
And the way of His kind ones He guards.
Then you would understand righteousness
And right-ruling, and straightness – every good path.
For wisdom would enter your heart,
And knowledge be pleasant to your being,
Discretion would guard you;
Understanding would watch over you,
To deliver you from the evil way,
From the man who speaks perversities,
Those who leave the paths of straightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice to do evil;
They delight in the perversities of evil;
Whose paths are crooked,
And they are perverted in their ways;” – Proverbs 2:1-15, ISR98
In the correct context, Proverbs isn’t promoting knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but the knowledge, the wisdom that belongs to YHWH. The wisdom of the Most High belongs to those that seek it. When you are faithful, His wisdom and understanding are a protection. Like much in life, His wisdom in you is a process, rather than a single event. That is why the Bible is. Learning it and applying it to you is a process of spiritual growth as you live it. Since the time of Yahshua [Jesus], the Holy Spirit has been the Counselor of those who love Him. He is a part of the growth process of sanctification in you. The opening of Proverbs contains vital advice to those that love YHWH and the sacrifice of His Son. (“YHWH’s Faithful: Victory in Spiritual Battle“; “Listening and Doing as a Disciple“)
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in.
If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause.
Let us swallow them alive like the grave,
And entirely, like those going down to the pit.
Let us find all precious goods,
Let us fill our houses with spoil.
Cast in your lot among us,
Let us all have one purse.’
My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;
For their feet run to evil,
And they hurry to shed blood.
For in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird.
But they lie in wait for their own blood,
They ambush their own lives.
Such are the ways of everyone greedy for gain;
It takes away the life of its owners.” – Proverbs 1:10-19, ISR98
How often does the world come after you with the expectation of tempting you, luring you into it’s realm of influence. It might come in the form of a certain person you’ve known or someone that you’ve never met. That enticement might come through the authority of man, through leaders or others that are jealous for your support for a cause or purpose. Unless you are walking hand in hand with the Most High, you might not understand yet. Know this: that a gray chasm between the knowledge of YHWH and the enticement of sin doesn’t really exist except in your own mind and through the delusion of the world that seeks to diminish its sin and the Judgment to come. This isn’t a bad thing unless you’re afraid of it. When you walk with the Most High you have nothing to fear. (“Cultivating YHWH’s Grace as You Seek Truth“; “The Role of Authority in Your Life“; “Disciples of Messiah & the Authority of Man“; “Understanding Sin“)