Many people appreciate the wisdom that can be found in the Bible. Over thousands of years, this ultimate book on life has taught billions of people how to live their lives and how to improve their lives as well.
When it comes to finding wisdom in the Bible, no book has so much to offer as the book of Proverbs. Written by Solomon, the Israelite king whose wisdom was renowned all over the ancient world, this book is packed with life lessons and insights that are still valuable today. In this blog post, we’ve listed a number of the most valuable insights that you can still apply to your life.
“A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.”
There are two takeaways from this quote. First, notice how the wise man became so wise. Through hearing. This means that he listened to others, and probably listened a lot more than he spoke. His wisdom was gathered over the years by being open to other ideas and through listening to what people had to say. And now that he’s wise, he hasn’t changed a bit. He will hear and increase learning. Wisdom isn’t a set trait, it’s an evolving principle.
The second takeaway is that he will attain wise counsel. You might think that the moment you’ve reached the point that you’re considered wise is the moment you can do things alone. But wisdom also comes through knowing you can’t do everything alone. Wise people seek the advice of others, precisely because they’re wise.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.
God may be known for making us rest (that’s why people go to church on Sundays, right?), but He values work. Even in paradise, Adam and Eve had jobs to do. This proverb is one of the remarkable ways in which the Bible shows us just how well God knows life. The key part of the wisdom here is in the word “prowler”, which literally means “a person who goes stealthily about with some unlawful intention”.
The text shows that laziness isn’t a force that you easily recognize. The author points out that poverty sneaks up on you when you start to sleep a little. It’s the mentality of cutting corners, not doing your best work, and telling yourself that a small extra break is okay. It will lead you to poverty so slowly that you won’t recognize it until the force of your need hits you in the face like an armed man.
A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones. (NIV)
Some people say the key to happiness is having low (or no) expectations. Proverbs knows what’s really up. It’s being happy with what you have that makes the difference between how you feel. The difference between a heart at peace and the rotten bones is envy; wanting the possessions, experiences, or success of someone else.
This means that when you’re envious, you’ll never get the heart at peace. You’ll be restless, looking for happiness by looking to others, and not find your own ways to success or peace. The wisdom found in this verse tells you that happiness (a heart at peace) can be found by knowing yourself, working towards your own success, and being content and thankful for what you have instead of looking at what others have.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
This seems to be a no-brainer at first. Of course people are happier when the wicked are not in power. But think about what this means. First of all, it’s not a call for victimhood. There’s a danger in thinking that you are powerless against your ruler. By celebrating righteousness in others and spreading righteousness in the world, you increase the chance that those will also become the ones in power.
Second, it’s a call to be righteous. We’re all in authority of something. If we subject to the idea that only the rulers of the country are in charge, we’re missing out on our own authority. We all have the authority over something, and we should be empowered and righteous in that.
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. (NIV)
One core principle to finish strong. Just as we’ve seen in the first quote, being open to instructions and a willingness to listen are the keys to wisdom. Although wisdom in itself can be quite a reward, Proverbs also promises prosperity. This doesn’t necessarily mean earthly riches, and Proverbs won’t promise you millions if you’d only donate all the right places, but it understands one principle: to prosper, you need to listen and take advice.
Also, prosperity isn’t all. It’s not a coincidence that the verse ends with the phrase “blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord”. The two go together. If you’re not submitted to the Lord, and not trust His ways, your prosperity will most likely falter. To be (and feel) blessed, submitting to God’s ways is a necessity.