Wisdom is VALUABLE! Solomon’s hoping we’re getting the idea by now – I think we are.
In Proverbs six Solomon describes the value of wisdom as it relates to poverty, dissension and immorality.
The value of wisdom in preserving from poverty (6: 1 – 11)
- The warning against foolish financial entanglements (1-5) More on these verses [here].
- The warning against laziness (6-11)
The value of wisdom in preserving from dissension (6: 12 – 19) (I have a story to tell about this one further down)
- Solomon uses the six – seven pattern here to make a strong point on the final item. (16-19)
- He uses this technique again in Proverbs 30:15-16, 18-19, 21-31. And you’ll find it in Job 5:19.
The value of wisdom in preserving from sexual immorality (6:20 – 7:27)
I borrowed these points today (lest you think they’re mine). They’re from Walvoord & Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary – Old Testament, © 1985 by SP Publications, ISBN 0-88207-813-5. This volume and its New Testament counterpart are worth the investment! You may be able to find used copies too, check Amazon.com or ABE Books (my favorite for used books).
Storytime: How God used Proverbs 6:16-19 to help me grow up.
I wasn’t yet twenty years old, but my opinions were as strong as that of an old man. I was critical of just about everyone and everything. (No wonder Brenda didn’t like me at first!) I could find a flaw in something before any of my peers, but in so doing, I didn’t enjoy life very much, and as a result my friends didn’t enjoy me as much as they should have.
We had “special lectures” each year at the Bible collage I attended. Classes were suspended for the week while an effective pastor-teacher in his own community would come teach the whole student body all at once. It was Bible Analysis for five straight days, dawn to dark. This week’s guest lecture was Pastor Wesley Phillips, who at the time was pastoring at Calvary Bible Church in Neenah, Wisconsin. He and my dad knew each other, and I’d met his wife and sons a few times, so while we weren’t close enough to be friends, exactly, it’s not like we were strangers or anything either. Pastor Phillips taught that week on 1 & 2 Timothy. I learned from him. Many things he said made me think; a couple of things unsettled me. Since we weren’t strangers, really, I asked if I could visit with him a few minutes and we met in the commons one afternoon. My questions came mostly from 1 Timothy 2, a passage that has sparked much conversation, debate and division in the church through the years. I asked my questions, he answered in his characteristic gentle way, and then, about the time I thought we were done, said “One more thing I’d like to show you.”
“Sure.” I said. I was grateful for the time he’d taken with me. He took me to Proverbs six, verse sixteen.
“See this list? Six are displeasing, the seventh is worse than all the others.” he said. “Read it for me, would you?”
We always had our Bibles with us on campus, it was a neat part of the campus culture, so I read it to him from my own bible.
“What’s that last one?”
“One who spreads strife among brothers.”
“Right you are. Now go back and read the other six. What is it… worse-than if you’ll pardon my poor grammar.” (I smiled, because his was excellent. He spoke very clearly, even in casual conversation).
I read back. “Oh-my.”
Pastor Phillips cautioned me that day. He didn’t give me a list of how-not-to’s that afternoon; maybe he knew he didn’t have to. “Be careful.” is about all he said. “You can do a lot of harm without much effort. When you do, the Lord is never pleased. Be careful, OK?” His warm and gentle smile reassured me that he cared.
I paid attention. I guess that day I did hear the instruction as from a father. I gained understanding. What I learned that day changed me.
Solomon knew what he was talking about. And Pastor Phillips knew what I needed to hear. I think the Spirit nudged him in that direction. He does that for us, you know.