Digging Deeper into Proverbs #2
Sunday I didn’t provide an outline of the entire book of Proverbs. Here is one from Keil & Delitzsch:
1 / 1:1-6 Title
2 / 1:7-9:18 Introductory Discourses
3 / 10-22:16 1st Collection of Solomon’s Proverbs
4 / 22:17-24:22 1st Appendix to 1st Collection (Words to the wise)
5 / 24:23-34 2nd Appendix to the 1st Collection (Words of some wise men)
6 / 25-29 2nd Collection (Gathered by Hezekiah’s men)
7 / 30 1st Appendix to 2nd Collection (Words of Agur son of Makeh)
8 / 31:1-9 2nd Appendix to 2nd Collection (Words of King Lemuel)
9 / 31:10-21 3rd Appendix to 2nd Collection (Acrostic Ode)
Several things stand out.
1. Wise men seek the wisdom of others. Solomon didn’t compose all the proverbs in this book. He gleaned from others. Wise men do not consider themselves “THE” authority. They know better. They track down and obtain wisdom wherever they can. Wisdom recognizes wisdom in others and takes advantage of it. 1 Kings 4:32 notes Solomon “also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.”
We display arrogance when we refuse the wisdom of others. Some say they do not read commentaries or other Biblical authors – sticking only to the Bible. In the process, setting aside God’s wisdom poured out through others, and failing to build upon how the Spirit has gifted them, they rob themselves of the riches God has given to others for them.
2. The book provides a practical demonstration of how to view common grace. We do not reject everything non-Christians say merely because they are non-Christians. God is good to us through many sources. Yes, discernment is needed. But to discount all non-Believers as having nothing to contribute is both arrogant and foolish. It fails to account for God being at work in the rest of Creation. “God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts” may not be Scripture – but it is true! Solomon collects wisdom from others. King Hezekiah had his men gather wisdom for him. Agur son of Makeh was wise, and Solomon included his words – a man Scripture says nothing about, but that statement.
There is a story told of the “Old Scottish widow” who was terribly poor. Her landlord, a scoundrel of a man was always teasing and tormenting her about her religion. He thought her an old fool to love and trust God so when her circumstances were so bleak. One day, the landlord passed by her open window and heard the old woman praying for bread. She had none to eat and was in truly dire straits. The landlord thought he had her at last. Running to the market, he purchased a warm loaf of bread. Sneaking back up to her window, he ducked low and tossed the bread onto the bed where she was still kneeling in prayer. Startled by the crusty surprise, she grasped the reality of it immediately and began to praise God for answering her prayer so miraculously. Hearing her loud rejoicing the landlord knocked on the old woman’s door and asked what all the commotion was. With deep emotion she explained her plight and God’s amazing answer – when all of a sudden the landlord interrupted her revelry and revealed that he had heard her praying, and was in fact the true benefactor. “What do you think of your God now?” he exclaimed – hoping to shake her thoroughly. “Oh! She replied. My God is even greater than I gave Him credit for. For not only did He hear my prayer, He delivered the answer by the hand of the Devil himself!”
The wise will see God’s hand, even when the glove it is wearing is terribly soiled.
I like the outline of the book! I’m studying Proverbs right now and started a blog about it. I’m looking around the Internets to see what others are writing on the subject : )
It is a powerful and often neglected book – almost tossed off as just good advice, and not seen as revealing Christ.
Keep up the good work!