Day 23 Proverbs 4 ... Life Advice

The happy days of Solomon's reign did not last. In a pointed editorial aside, the author of 1 Kings notes that after building the temple, Solomon spent twice as much time and energy on the construction of his own palace (7:1). He proved unable to control his extravagant appetite in any area: wealth, power, romance, political intrigue. He seemed obsessed with a desire to outdo anyone who had ever lived, and gradually hi devotion to God slipped away. First Kings gives this summation of Solomon's days, "So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done" (11:6).

Yet, although Solomon ultimately failed to please God, he did use his enormous talent for much good. In the arts, he created many fine works, among them several books of biblical literature. Inspired by God's supernatural gift of wisdom, he composed 1,005 songs and 3000 proverbs - many of which are collected in this book.

This representative chapter captures the pattern of the book of Proverbs: A wise old man, surrounded by eager young admirers, coyly unveils to them the secrets of his life. (A modern parallel: Millions of Americans will buy the latest how-to book by a famous sports figure or business executive - may it will help me achieve that same kind of success, they think.) Before revealing his secrets, however, the author of Proverbs wants to get one things straight. The wisdom he is teaching cannot be reduced to a series of "Don't do this; do that" rules. There is no formula for "one-minute wisdom"; true wisdom demands a lifelong quest. the rewards of such a life, however, will repay any sacrifice, "though it cost all you have."

As the author contrasts "the path of the righteous" with "the way of the wicked", one cannot help wondering how Solomon might have fared if he had consistently followed his own advice. Now, his time passing; he could only hope to convey that hard-bitten wisdom to future generations.

Point to Ponder: : Do people in modern times pursue "wisdom" with the same desire and energy that this chapter sets forth? Where do people in modern times pursue "wisdom"?