Proverbs 1:1-7 “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: To learn wisdom and moral instruction, and to discern wise counsel. To receive moral instruction in skillful living, in righteousness, justice, and equity. To impart shrewdness to the morally naive, a discerning plan to the young person. (Let the wise also hear and gain instruction, and let the discerning acquire guidance!) To discern the meaning of a proverb and a parable, the sayings of the wise and their riddles. Fearing the LORD is the beginning of discernment, but fools have despised wisdom and moral instruction.”
Solomon is uniquely qualified to provide wisdom for us:
2 Chronicles 1:7-10 “That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Tell me what I should give you.’ Solomon replied to God, ‘You demonstrated great loyalty to my father David and have made me king in his place. Now, LORD God, may your promise to my father David be realized, for you have made me king over a great nation as numerous as the dust of the earth. Now give me wisdom and discernment so I can effectively lead this nation. Otherwise no one is able to make judicial decisions for this great nation of yours.’”
And Solomon was prolific in his wisdom:
1 King 4:29-34 “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment; the breadth of his understanding was as infinite as the sand on the seashore. Solomon was wiser than all the men of the east and all the sages of Egypt. He was wiser than any man … He was famous in all the neighboring nations. He composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. He produced manuals on botany, describing every kind of plant, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on walls. He also produced manuals on biology, describing animals, birds, insects, and fish. People from all nations came to hear Solomon’s display of wisdom; they came from all the kings of the earth who heard about his wisdom.”
It is only fitting that the book of Proverbs give homage to Solomon, both because of his own wisdom, and also because of the number of passages in the book itself that are from him. A proverb proper is a short meaningful statement that presents a practical truth. While there are many of these statements in the book, there are also longer teaching sections (parables, sayings and riddles), particularly at the beginning. The main purpose of the book is to provide moral instruction, and there are two basic guidelines for us: (1) only the wise will learn, because only the wise want to learn, and (2) true wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. We could say that our initial relationship with God starts with a literal fear, because we need to understand what will happen to us if we don’t believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior! But both our initial and ongoing relationship with God needs to be characterized by a different kind of fear. If we aren’t in awe of God and don’t respect Him, then we won’t pay attention to what He has to say. We won’t trust. We won’t listen. We won’t obey. If we fear Him, then we’ll heed His Word!