Proverbs is a book of wisdom. In the first chapter, we find some essential warnings if we want to be wise: 1) Fear the Lord; 2) Listen to Your parents; 3) Don’t listen to foolish sinners and 4) Listen to the cry of wisdom. These are some of the most basic truths that all of us should heed, and, when we go astray, it is usually because we have neglected one of these areas.
Fear the Lord (v.7). This is our relationship with God. It is foundational to everything else in our lives. Basic respect, reverence, love and obedience to God undergirds everything else in our lives. Without it, nothing else really matters.
Listen to your parents (v.8-9). The next most fundamental piece of wisdom is to hear the instruction of our father and the law of our mother. Parents are supposed to be guiding and directing their children, and each of us would do well to listen to the wisdom of our parents. In most cases, doing so will bring great blessing to our lives.
Don’t listen to foolish sinners (v.10-19). After the Lord and parents, peers are the next great influence on us. This is specially true for young people, but true for older people as well. We all want our friends and those we are around to approve of us. But this desire for their approval puts us in a very vulnerable spot. Peers do not always call us to do right. Often there can be negative peer-pressure to join in things that may seem temporarily beneficial but are actually wrong, unwise and very destructive. Just as no bird would be dumb enough to get caught by a trap that he sees set, so we should see the various snares that will catch the wicked and avoid them. Unfortunately, many people continue on in their sin, full well knowing where it will lead and the pain it will cause.
Listen to the cry of wisdom (v.20-33). Instead of listening to the enticing calls of sin, we should tune our ear to the cries of wisdom. Wisdom is personified as calling for men to come and hear the truth that will set them free. She longs to help simple ones and scorners. But sadly, so many refuse and ignore wisdom. They set it at nought and then face the painful consequences of doing so.
So, the choice is ours in life and for today. Will we listen to the Lord and heed the wisdom that He offers? Or will we reject it and eventually face the consequences, regret, and guilt of our own foolishness? If we listen to God’s wisdom, then we will experience the blessing and rest it brings. And when we go astray, it is usually a failure in one of these basic relationships – our relationship with God, with our parents/wise counsellors, with friends or with God’s wisdom found in the Word of God.