Whatever Happened to Common Sense?

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 1

The Proverbs of Solomon will be the focus of our Thursday scripture readings and devotional commentaries for the next twenty-one weeks. Posted on my “Heart of a Shepherd” blog you will find a year of daily devotional commentaries based on the Book of Proverbs.

The preamble of Proverbs is Proverbs 1:1-4. Solomon expresses a five-fold goal for conveying his proverbs in writing in those four verses.

The first goal, “To know wisdom…” (1:2) – Wisdom carries a greater meaning than mere knowledge.   Wisdom implies the “skillful [right] use of knowledge”.  A man may be intellectually brilliant, but lack wisdom.

The second goal, “To know … instruction (1:2) – By definition, Biblical instruction implies both “reproof” and “chastisement” (discipline).  The word “instruction” in Proverbs 1:2 is translated “chasten” in Proverbs 13:24.  “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (13:24).  By implication, the primary purpose for a parent to chasten a child is instructive, not punitive.

Solomon’s third goal is “…to perceive [discern] the words of understanding” (1:2).  An application of this goal is to impart what we might call “common sense” (a sense that is, in my opinion, rare in our day).

The fourth goal for proverbs is “To receive [accept] the instruction of wisdom [disciplined instruction]justice [discerning between right and wrong], and judgment, and equity [integrity, justice… determining what is right and fair] (1:3).

To acquire wisdom, one must have a right attitude toward discipline and instruction (1:3).   A sociologist and pragmatist might question whom or what determines right or wrong; however, God the creator has weighed in on that debate with His Law and Commandments [“for by the law is the knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20].

Finally, the fifth goal Solomon cited for imparting his proverbs is, “To give subtilty [discernment] to the simple [silly; foolish], to the young man knowledge and discretion.” (1:4)

Remember, as we study the Book of Proverbs, Solomon’s primary object is the instruction of his son who would be king.  An oriental king was the supreme judge in judicial matters and there was no court of appeal after a king had passed judgment.  It was critical that Solomon’s son have an ability to discern between good and evil; to know what to say and what not to say; to know when to be silent and when to speak.

We are blessed to have the proverbs of Solomon for our instruction and meditations.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith