Proverbs 1:1-7 (New Living Translation)
These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Have you ever made a decision that you later regretted? Have you ever done something you wish you hadn’t? Or not done something that you wish you had? Said something that should never have been said? Have you ever thoroughly messed up? Have you ever looked back and shook your head in dismay at your own actions?
(Uh oh. Am I alone in this?)
In our faith history there was a king named Solomon, who had a remarkably acute ability to look at a situation, to comprehend the available options, and to choose the best path. Earlier in his life, God had come to this king in a dream, offering to give him whatever he wished. Solomon asked this of God: “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:9).
Ah! Wisdom from God! How wonderful! If only we had a record of Solomon’s collected sayings to help guide us…
Oh… wait! Actually, we do have access to many of Solomon’s “words of wisdom.” The book of Proverbs is filled with insights that can be directly applied to our lives, many of which are from King Solomon. So, we’re going to spend a few days exploring this wonderful book that is almost at the center of our Bible.
In today’s reading, Proverbs opens with its “purpose statement.” Purpose statements are all the rage right now, with companies and individuals working hard to condense into one declarative sentence their focus and goals.
This is the way The Message paraphrase explains why Proverbs was written: “so we’ll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it’s going; a manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair; to teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality” (Proverbs 1:2-4).
Sounds like a pretty good purpose, doesn’t it?
If you were to write a one sentence “purpose statement” for your life, what would it be?