Proverbs 1:1-6 (NLT)
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. 2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. 3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. 4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. 5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance 6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
These words of Solomon start out the beginning of Proverbs as if Solomon is laying out a modern day action plan. He starts with a purpose to his proverbs and that purpose is to teach people wisdom, discipline, and gain understanding. He continues by pointing out how this purpose will impact their daily lives, they will become disciplined, successful, just, fair and one who does the right things. Then Solomon points out some additional benefits that those who listen and practice this wisdom will be able to provide insight and knowledge to others to guide others through life.
There is an expression used in counseling that says, “People can only do the best they know how to do.” It does not mean they are performing at their best; it does not mean they are exceeding above others; it does not mean they are not trying to do well. It just means they can only respond and act accordingly to the wisdom they have learned in life. If they have not grown in their wisdom, then they are limited in how well their best can become. A good example from the Bible is a story about Abraham where he tells his wife Sarah, “Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Instead of trusting in God, Abraham feared for his life and sought after a lie. Abraham had been a faithful follower of God. He had gone where God had sent him, but he still lacked wisdom to help him through the difficult trials. It was the best he knew how to do at the time. His lack of wisdom carried forward to his son Isaac. In Genesis 26:7-10 says, “When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," because he was afraid to say, "She is my wife." He thought, "The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful." When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, "She is really your wife! Why did you say, 'She is my sister'?" Isaac answered him, "Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her." Isaac was doing the best he knew how to do, because it was what his father had taught him. Neither had expanded their wisdom to understand how the Lord was watching after them. Abraham’s fear was passed on to Issac and Issac followed the wisdom of his father. Job said the following about wisdom, “God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”