The things we learned from Proverbs

By Jeff Smith
Special to The PREVIEW
When our kids were small, part of our bedtime routine was to discuss one or two verses from the Bible’s book of wisdom, the Book of Proverbs. Later on, they made good choices, like when the Proverbs told my in-crowd daughter what a real friend was. Her real, lifelong friends came from the out crowd.
Their teenage years were so much easier on us all.
Some things I learned:
Both parents and kids want to be smart about life (Proverbs 1:4).
The Proverbs of Solomon are meant to be the best advice in the world (1Kings 3:12).
The Proverbs always bring up subjects worth talking about.
Proverbs are great for short attention spans.
A proverb has one meaning, but many uses.
A wise person uses meager assets well, such as knowledge, money, friends, power, time and strength.
The proverbs teach fair judgment. They compare wise ways with foolish ones, right actions to wrong, good to evil, and even degrees of good or degrees of evil.
They train our minds to use ethics and logic as well as faith. For instance, Proverbs 3:3 compares mercy and truth. This means I show mercy. Now tell me the truth.
They jump from one diverse subject to another, because life can throw more than one moral problem at us in a single moment.
The proverbs are not always true. This is OK. For instance, it says hard work leads to wealth (12:27), even though we can find the hard working poor and the lazy rich.
They are basic rules for good living, not blanket promises of a problem-free life.
Three thousand years ago, Solomon said a woman could have “virtue.” This was huge. The hero in the story is a lady, Lady Wisdom.
Being a wise person is the second step in a two-step process. Jesus said love the Lord, then love your neighbor (Matt 23:37-39). The world around us works better after we deal with the one above us.
Its theme is one of great hope, that we can manage the part of life we have control over.

This story was posted on April 27, 2018.