Proverbs starts out with an important lesson from father to son. The father has much to say. There are many kinds of people his son is about to meet, many paths that his son might take. The father wishes to warn his son about the people whose paths lead to death. The ways of wisdom will preserve his son from death if his son finds them.
The first warning the father gives his son is against the wicked, the sinners. The father defines the wicked this way:
“They say, ‘Come with us, lest us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause… we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil,’” (Proverbs 1:11, 13 NKJV).
And why should the son not throw in his lot with wicked men? Because this is their end:
“But they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners,” (Proverbs 1:18-19 NKJV).
Those quick to shed innocent blood in violence will find that by violence their blood will be shed. A stolen fortune will claim the life of its holder in the end. This is not the future the father desires for his son.
Next, the father brings his son’s attention to a woman calling out where she is sure to be heard. Her name is Wisdom, and she petitions the simple to turn from their simplicity. Wisdom brings warning of what will happen at last if her rebuke is not heeded.
“Because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity,” (Proverbs 1:25-26 NKJV).
Beware of Wisdom scorned, for she will not rescue the scornful and the fool from the consequences of their actions.
“For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will dwell safely,” (Proverbs 1:32-33 NKJV).
Note the words Wisdom uses here. She does not call down curses on all who disagree with her. No, Wisdom says these things because she knows the consequence of the actions of men. She would have none of them perish. But perish they will if they continue in their folly, for Wisdom can save only those who heed her call.
The son now knows the results of foolish ways, but what of the proceeds of Wisdom? The father says if the son seeks Wisdom as the most precious treasure, the son will “find the knowledge of God, for the Lord gives Wisdom,” (Proverbs 2:5, 6 NKJV).
The Promise of Protection
Indeed, the Lord does not leave the upright empty-handed, for he becomes their shield and guards justice for them. The Lord delivers the upright from the paths of the wicked, with their deviousness, and from the immoral woman, who flatters but leads men to their deaths.
Wisdom is the one pursuit where one can be sure of the rewards.
“For the upright will dwell in the land… but the wicked will be cut off from the earth, and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it,” (Proverbs 2:21, 22 NKJV).
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