The book of Proverbs provides a treasure trove of wisdom. A collection of sayings primarily by Solomon, the son of David, but also of others, in order to preserve what had been made known by God and learned by mankind. The Hebrew word for wisdom is hokmah. It was used to describe the skill of craftsmen, sailors, singers, administrators, and counselors.* In the same way, a person who seeks to apply themselves to following God and to grow in their walk with Him would be considered one who possesses hokmah. A man growing in godly wisdom. Wisdom that requires an ongoing investment to know and apply God’s truth.
A couple of years ago, some men and I went through a study of the book of Proverbs using the Life Change Series by NavPress. The title was quite appropriate. If you’re not interested in your life changing, don’t pick up this study. Growing in wisdom will require change. No change, no growth. Just as a craftsman needs to study and learn to grow in being good at his craft, so does the spiritual man need to study and learn to grow in being a man who knows and walks with God.
The book of Proverbs does not equivocate when it comes to reinforcing the need for a man to study and apply his life to wisdom (hokmah). It takes focus and it takes work. The method for teaching wisdom is commonly put forward with a contrast to folly. What is right and what is wrong. Here is the choice, take this path if you desire wisdom. Seems simple, of course. No one desires folly, right? If only that were true!
The contrast between the wise man and the foolish man is joined by another. Enter the “simple” man. Proverbs chapter 9 provides an illustration of the battle that wisdom and folly wage in order to attract the attention of the “simple man.”
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.” NKJV
Proverbs 9: 4-6
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”; And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.” NKJV
Proverbs 9:16 – 18
Both wisdom and folly proclaim their invitation to the simple man, verse 4 and verse 16. Wisdom and folly broadcast their messages from the highest point in the city in an effort to get their word out. They prepare ahead of time in order to reach those who are simple. They know that the simple man has a choice to make. Which way will he turn? That choice faces every man. Will he follow the path that God has provided or will he turn to folly and the ways of the world?
The wise man is the one who prepares, who studies the word of God to know and to walk in obedience to His ways. He moves from being the simple man to being the wise man. A wise man who will teach his sons and daughters the distinction between wisdom and folly. Like their father before them, our children too will begin in the way of the simple. The wise and faithful father will instruct and guide his children regarding the voices of wisdom and folly. Proverbs is a good place to spend considerable time. His children will be blessed.
*Life Change Series – Proverbs, p. 9
"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19