Thursday, January 17, 2019
Proverbs 1:1 – 5 1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 4for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— 5let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.
When Solomon introduces his book of wise sayings in the Bible, he sets forth the purpose and practical outcomes of wisdom. You will notice with a careful reading of today’s passage that all the “buddies” of wisdom we looked at yesterday are present at the very beginning of the book. Knowledge, understanding, discernment, and insight have all joined together with wisdom in a band of brothers that is set to accomplish two objectives – discipline and justice.
Look at verse three – for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.
The outcome of wisdom’s activity in our lives is predetermined. Those who are wise will live a disciplined life and their actions will be fair. But how does wisdom accomplish those outcomes?
First, becoming a disciplined person is a three-part process: instruction, warning, and correction. Those who are disciplined are those who have listened to instruction, heeded warnings about error, and been willing to be corrected when wrong.
Humility is at the top of the character chart for a wise person. The proud do not listen to instruction, nor do they heed warnings, nor do they accept correction. Humble hearts are the fertile soil into which wisdom can be planted and bear the fruit of discipline.
Second, the actions that proceed from the life of a disciplined person will be fair. Three words are used in the original Hebrew to define fairness in this passage – justice, judgment, and equity. Let’s define each one.
Justice means to be morally and legally right. It is translated most often in the Old Testament as righteousness. Wisdom always balances morality and the law. All human laws that are not based on God’s moral laws are unwise and will only lead to destruction. The same is true for our lives. The laws we choose to live by and choices we make must be morally in tune with the heart of God or they are unwise. We cannot call our choices right if they do not reflect the moral righteousness of God. True justice is always morally correct.
Judgment in this context is defined as a verdict. After all the evidence has been presented in a court of law, the judgment is handed down. If all the laws by which the case was heard are morally correct, then the judge has the responsibility to pronounce a moral judgment. In a wise person’s life every decision made, and every conclusion reached, will be just because they are based on the moral law of God.
The final word is equity, and literally means to be straight. This means we are to be consistent. All situations are treated with the same level of justice and judgment. No favoritism. No bigotry. Absolute impartiality.
In review, the balance that will exist in a wise person’s life is that they will be disciplined and fair. Discipline is only possible in a humble life that accepts instruction, warnings, and correction. Fairness is the product of moral rightness and will be reflected in the consistency of decisions and conclusions reached.
Our responsibility now is to make sure we are people of wisdom and that the qualities of discipline and justice are balanced.