Proverbs (Week 1) – Part 2

As sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, we are being sanctified to rightly reflect God’s image into the world—as we were designed to do. Through the process of sanctification we’re learning everyday how to be refined and how to fulfill our calling, with one of the key instruments of this sanctification process being wisdom. Wisdom is a sharpening tool. Wisdom is a fire that forges strength into the steel we are made of. As we acquire wisdom, wisdom itself begins to shape us. This is why we need to learn wisdom.

Wisdom is a sharpening tool. Wisdom is a fire that forges strength into the steel we are made of. As we acquire wisdom, wisdom itself begins to shape us. Click To Tweet

Meekness

This is connected with another Biblical idea—the idea of meekness. Jesus said,  ”Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Why do the meek inherit the earth? Because this was God’s created place for them in the beginning. This doesn’t mean that if you practice meekness you will inherit the earth. It actually means that the earth belongs to the meek. Those who are being shaped and molded into meekness are the rulers of God’s design. 

I’ve defined meekness in the past as power under control. I’ve repeatedly given the image of a wild horse versus a tame horse. And every time I ask the same question, “which is stronger, the wild horse or the tame?” It’s a trick question because the level of strength doesn’t change. What changes is the fact that the power is now refined—it’s under control. This idea of power under control is the product of wisdom. This is the result of sanctification. 

If you’ve ever attempted to learn music you’ll know that you have to learn notes, scales, chord shapes, etc. You learn and practice all of this so that when you need the information it comes immediately—it’s second nature as we like to say. The purpose of wisdom is like continued education for any professional. You need to be able to access information without thinking. 

The purpose of wisdom is like continued education for any professional. You need to be able to access information without thinking. Click To Tweet

On a side note the reason we are so ill equipped in our relational responses is the same reason so many musicians can’t improvise. We simply don’t take the time to saturate ourselves in our craft. People neglect to saturate themselves in the wisdom of God and then wonder why they respond so poorly, or they attempt to remove all the negative things from their life. Proper training in wisdom will equip us with the right tools for any situation. 

Training in Wisdom

So back to the point, all of us need to be able to answer in the moment. Timing is a key factor in wisdom. I like this rough definition for wisdom, “wisdom is doing or saying the right thing at the right moment.” Wisdom knows the right tool for the right job. If we are trained, wisdom, sanctification, and meekness operate the same. When chaos or trouble arises, even when good times come we will be able to respond properly. These responses include verbal, physical, and even emotional responses. 

Training in these responses plays out in many ways, and we don’t have to go far in the book of proverbs to see an example. As a matter of fact chapter 1 shows that if we are trained in wisdom we can discern when people are enticing us with riches simply to take advantage of us or even worse to drag us down into the pit with them. If we have wisdom we will be able to discern these matters and respond accordingly. Again this is wisdom’s purpose—training in righteousness. 

On a side note wisdom is represented by all of Scripture, not just the proverbs. Paul told us that all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness. 

And all of this wisdom plays out in the fruit of the Spirit, or what Peter taught us in 2 Peter 1 when he said that we should be diligent to add self control to our faith. The point is that we learn wisdom, we add it to our faith, and then it becomes as automatic as the fruit that grows on a tree. 

Okay, so what is the end of all of this training? It’s back to the creation mandate. Through Jesus, we once again have access to God’s presence. And from His presence we are to go into all the world, subduing it for His purposes. This responsibility can be clearly seen within the Great Commission. 

Through Jesus, we once again have access to God’s presence. And from His presence we are to go into all the world, subduing it for His purposes. This responsibility can be clearly seen within the Great Commission. Click To Tweet

God has been communicating this responsibility since the dawn of time. Of course it’s been painted over with all of our gimmicky versions of the Gospel. Lies that fool us into thinking that all God wants is for each of us to feel good about ourselves and live happy lives. This false Gospel’s siren call to selfishness has lulled us into a place of utter ineffectiveness. Our enemy doesn’t need us to go about committing all kinds of moral evil to win, he just needs to render us impotent, lukewarm, etc. And the only antidote to his strategy is sanctification. 

The purpose of wisdom is sanctification and the purpose of the proverbs is to teach wisdom. Then wisdom’s fruit in our lives will be discernment, righteousness, understanding, equity, prudence, and more.

Authorship of Proverbs

Now that we’ve understood the purpose of proverbs, let’s deal with the book’s authorship. It’s very easy to stop with the first twenty-five chapters and conclude that these are only the proverbs of Solomon. After all, we read verses that say this repeatedly:

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:” – Proverbs‬ ‭1:1‬

“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.” – Proverbs‬ ‭10:1

“These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed.” – Proverbs‬ ‭25:1

These verses are clear that Solomon contributed a whole lot. However, there are many other contributors that have to be acknowledged and we’ll learn more about these contributors in the next post. But for now let me share an observation of Solomon’s writing. Solomon is a father, writing to his son. Included in his instruction Solomon says something invaluable—he tells his son not to forsake the teaching of his mother.

Women vs. Men in Proverbs

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;” – Proverbs‬ ‭1:8‬

Now, I’ll hit on this in a later week but the value of a mother is integral to God’s design. We see this clearly spelled out within wisdom literature. Solomon himself shows us that a key contribution to wisdom in the life of a child is the teaching of a mother.

Just a little food for thought as you delve into Proverbs throughout the week—the same proverbs that communicate the problems of foolishness (personified as a wayward woman) also personifies wisdom, not as a man, but as a virtuous woman. 

What’s my point? Contrary to popular belief the Proverbs aren’t giving us a framework for how to view women versus men—not with respect to their intellect, and not with respect to their contribution to family and society. Anyone who reads the text in a male vs. female way is unwittingly (or at least I hope so) reading their own modern or cultural framework into the Scripture—this is called eisegesis. This is how we “add” to the scripture—which is no good.

Contrary to popular belief the Proverbs aren’t giving us a framework for how to view women vs men—not with respect to their intellect & not with respect to their contribution to family and society. Click To Tweet

Let’s Talk

How has God’s wisdom been training you in sanctification. Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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