Proverbsby David Cook
I want to conclude this book on Proverbs, a remarkable book of wisdom, with a warning. Let's take a deeper look at Solomon, the son of David, the king of Israel who wrote most of Proverbs.
In the early chapters of 1 Kings, we get an insight into Solomon's administration, achievements, and especially his wisdom. God tells him: ″I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be″ (1 Kings 3:12). But in 11:1 we are told that ″King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women″. This was clearly contrary to God's instruction: ″You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods″ (v. 2).
Much of Solomon's God-given wisdom is recorded in the book of Proverbs. So how could he have gone so wrong?
Solomon's life is a warning to us. It is one thing to know and write about God's wisdom, and quite another to live by it, to maintain one's fear of the Lord in the midst of the pleasures and pressures of life. For Solomon, pride proved to be the biggest enemy.
How hard it must have been for Solomon to remain humble when he was surrounded by the adoration of so many seeking his counsel! The Queen of Sheba, for example, was one of many rulers impressed by Solomon's wisdom (10:6-9). It must have tempted him to take his wisdom for granted and believe that it was a natural talent rather than a gift of God.
There was also his wealth, as described in 1 Kings 4:20-28. Along with his wisdom, Solomon's wealth was given by God: ″I will give you what you have not asked for-both wealth and honour″ (3:13). But Solomon in his wealth forgot the Lord (see Proverbs 30:9).
To be wise includes knowing where one's strength-and limits-lies. It means acknowledging that our true sufficiency lies in God, that we need to depend totally on Him.
Power, wealth, and popularity are a powerful cocktail and fuel for human pride. Solomon had all three, and they turned out to be his downfall. He thought he knew better than God and allowed himself to be led by his pride. ″So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done″ (1 Kings 11:6).
There is another king, however, who remained humble and obedient despite having all power and wisdom (see Matthew 13:54; Colossians 2:3). There was no pride in the Lord Jesus, and His life was pure integrity.
To come to Christ is to embrace God's wisdom. To follow Christ is to live the truly wise life!
What gifts and talents have God given you? How can you use them for His glory while reminding yourself to rely completely on Him?
Read Proverbs 1:7 and 31:30 again. Reflect on these verses, memorise them, and make a fresh commitment to fear the Lord, for this is the beginning of wisdom.