Sermon on Proverbs
The book of Proverbs is a long and colourful fireside chat. It’s the words of a father to his son. Verse 1 introduces us to the father:
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel
Verse 8 addresses the son:
8 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
In fact Solomon keeps saying, over twenty times in this book, “My son, my son, my son.” The King is addressing the crown prince and saying, “Now boy, here’s what you need in life.”
When we read Proverbs we should be aware, we’re eavesdropping on a fireside chat. It’s not a transcript of a real conversation. It’s written in rich picture language and riddles and rhymes that need to be chewed over and slowly digested. But it’s advice from Solomon to his son the prince. And here’s what his advice boils down to: Watch out for the ladies. In particular there are two ladies you need to look out for.
There’s a lady called Wisdom – she is magnificent, she is heart-captivating, she is beautiful, she is more precious than rubies, she is everything you need. If you get her, you lack nothing. So whatever else you get in life, get her – get Wisdom – embrace her, marry her.
Then there’s another lady called Folly. She is loud and flashy and deceptive and seductive and deadly. She is the original femme fatale. If you get her you lose everything.
So avoid her, ignore her, resist her, don’t be seduced, don’t be ensnared by her.
So, my son, watch out for the ladies. Embrace Wisdom, shun Folly.
According to Proverbs, success in life is not ultimately a matter of the intellect. It’s not about having enough education. It’s not about your IQ. It’s not ultimately about having enough information to make wise choices.
And neither is success about the will – as though we just need to apply ourselves, be determined and resolved and just do it!. No, Wisdom and Folly are matters of the heart.
Solomon says to the prince in Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Dear Son – your heart is everything. What you LOVE will be a wellspring, it will flow out into every area of life.
Life’s not basically a matter of the mind, or a matter of the will. At the deepest level, life is about the heart. Our lives will be a success depending on what we love. Or rather on Who we love.
Because Wisdom is very definitely a Person. She is Lady Wisdom.
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