1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
3 To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;
4 To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion…
This ancient book of wisdom begins by declaring its purpose. And a lofty one it is. Who wouldn’t want to know wisdom and instruction? To gain discernment? Who wouldn’t want instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity? Who, given the choice, would keep the gifts of prudence, knowledge and discretion from the naive?
Yet how much time do we spend pursuing these things? If the stated purpose of Proverbs had been amusement, sexual fulfillment, wealth creation or physical health – would this ancient book be more widely read today?
Much of what we really desire – happiness, contentment, security, fulfilling relationships, honestly earned wealth, longevity, the respect of our peers – is not easily obtained. How do we get these things? Through knowledge, discernment, wise behavior, right living, justice, equity, prudence and discretion. This is what Proverbs offers to anyone who will listen.
In a world abounding with techniques, this book offers something far deeper. Wisdom, self-discipline and virtue, these are the keys to life. Develop these traits and you will be able to stand and face whatever circumstances life brings your way.