Day 185: Proverbs 11-13; The Proverbs of Solomon

The end of yesterday’s reading began the section of Proverbs known as “Solomon’s Proverbs.”  This is a section marked by a train of wise statements, one or two verses long, that talk about the difference between wise living and foolish living.  Many people find this section to be kind of repetitive and dry.  Others would deem it as being the manual for moral living.  In some ways, this section displays very clearly the difference between making good choices and the results of repeated poor decisions.

Yet, there is more to today’s reading, and the next couple of days’ reading as well, because these chapters of wisdom, like all Scripture, cannot be read in a void.  We cannot look at the words of today, tomorrow, or even the rest of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes without remember the introduction section of Proverbs that we read the past couple of days.  Like I mentioned on July 1, some people think that this book is largely devoid of a focus on God and actually talks more about moral living.  However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  All of everything that we are reading today and will continue to read in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon fall under the opening verses of Proverbs 1, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

So everything today, all that we are reading today, may not speak directly to God or living for God, but it obviously speaks to the need for wisdom which finds its foundation in God alone.  Proverbs and all of wisdom literature, really all of Scripture isn’t about living the right way for its own sake.  Solomon would say that it is the fool that lives rightly for his own sake or seeks wisdom for his own gain, but it all falls under the fact that we live our lives before God.  The point of these proverbs is not simply to live in a moral way, the point is to honor God with our lives, with our choices, in our relationships, and in everything that we do, think, say, and influence.  Again, we can hear the  Biblical echoes of Deuteronomy 6, the well known Shema of Israel, loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  It is clear here and will continue to be clear in our continuing readings of proverbs, that Solomon is echoing and in many ways continuing this command, laying out clearly the many ways that we are to live our whole life in a way that is pleasing to God, keeping His way before us at all times.