“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?” (Proverbs 22:17-21).
True wisdom comes from a correct view of the Lord, which can only be found in the Bible. Solomon tells us to apply ourselves in seeking wisdom so that our trust may be in the Lord. The more we seek to know truth through His word, the wiser we become. This leads to a greater dependency upon the Lord.
Solomon also says that we are to know the truth so that we may answer to others. Having knowledge of the Scriptures gives us confidence to share our faith with the world. Later in the story, Peter is going to say “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Our hope is found in Jesus Christ, and the truth is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Solomon says today that even “a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16) because we can run to the Lord for restoration:
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9)
- “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it” (Philippians 1:6)
- “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10)
Although Christians will stumble, we are not defined by our stumbling. We are defined as saints because Jesus’ bloodshed pays the price for our sins – “So then you are no longer strangers or aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
Therefore, Solomon tells us, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18). We aren’t to envy unrepentant sinners who appear to flourish in this world. We are to fear God by submitting our lives to Christ and walking in the ways of the Lord, trusting and depending upon Him since we know there is much more in store for us than what this world has to offer. Everything that our human eyes can see will one day be gone, but there is an eternal home awaiting those whose hope is in Christ.
The Lord gave us His word so that we may know Him and walk in freedom, not fear, just as Jesus will later say- “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciple, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Tomorrow we read the Song of Solomon, so keep reading. (Proverbs 22:17-24:34)