The Limits of Proverbs

Series: Proverbs

by D. Marion Clark May 8, 2012 Scripture: Proverbs 1:1

Some of you may know that over three years, with the help of others, I wrote daily devotions through the book of Proverbs. I am bringing them back (though you can read all of them anytime at my DMC Resource site) as daily postings. I have updated them, writing the ones I had missed before.
Proverbs 1:1

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

This first verse is instructive. These proverbs are the results of Solomon's writings and his collection of ancient sayings. Consider this description of Solomon in 1 Kings 10:23: "Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind." We know this is the result of God answering his prayer for wisdom to govern his people. Because Solomon asked for wisdom, God granted wisdom and riches and fame.

Solomon became a success, but like many who do achieve it, success becomes its own seductress. He became famous not only for wisdom but for his lavished lifestyle. Though he will warn young men in his proverbs of the danger of the forbidden woman, he will fall in love and marry "many foreign women...from the nations concerning which the Lord has said...You shall not enter into marriage with them..." He built and maintained grand building projects but at the expense of reducing his people to slave-like labor, so that their hardship became the grounds for a rebellion that split the kingdom. Finally, his foreign wives "turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father" (1 Kings 11:4).

Let our first lesson in Proverbs be that it is not enough to hear wise sayings and to discipline ourselves to follow them. For we do not have the power to change our hearts, much less to remove them from the bondage of sin. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Let us cling to Christ; let us go daily to the mercy throne of God; let us pray for the Spirit to daily strengthen us and sanctify us. These proverbs give us direction; they reveal the wisdom of the path of life. But no self-effort can suffice to follow that path. It is Christ who must be our Entrance to the path and our constant Pillar of Cloud and Fire to lead us. And it is the Spirit who must enable us to walk obediently. Pray even now that, as you learn wisdom, God's Spirit will enable you to live what you learn.