Today’s Reading: Proverbs 1:1 – 4:27
Today begins an 8 day run through the first 24 chapters of Proverbs. Admittedly, these days are going to remind me the value of a non-chronological reading plan. In other Bible reading plans you would get one or two proverbs to read each day. That is a nice way to spread them out through out the year. Bits of wisdom a bit at a time. With my reading plan for this year I will get overwhelmed with great wisdom all at once. It will be extremely hard which proverb to pick each day to focus on. I don’t know how many succinct proverbs there are in the Book of Proverbs, but I am guessing that it easily over 300.
Today, choice was hard. My first inclination was to head to Proverbs 3:5-6. These two verses were one of the first scripture memory verses I ever learned 29 years ago.
Proverbs 3:5 – 6 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
They are great verses and they have meant a lot to me over the years. If you know me and my attitude God’s peace, you can see how big a role those verses played in my development.
In preparation for this post I did some research on fortune cookies. Here are some tidbits I learned:
- Fortune cookies were invented in America within the last 125 years.
- Mainland Chinese do not recognize them as something Chinese.
- The inventor, or first producers in the US were actually Japanese.
- Originally, the cookies were referred to as fortune tea cakes with a Japanese tie. But as WWII started, they became Chinese Fortune Cookies.
- There are approximately 3 billion cookies manufactured each year, mainly consumed in US. (though I have seen them in the Netherlands).
- The fortunes are written today and are not collected Chinese proverbs. Here is an article about a man who writes them for the largest producer in the world.
- There is a company selling Bible verse fortune cookies here.
Now we know that the fortunes or proverbs in a fortune cookie are not true sage advice. They are just trite things written by some guy in the back room of a cookie manufacturer. Sure, they are fun to read after a good meal of Chinese food, but they don’t hold true wisdom. The Book of Proverbs, mainly written by Solomon, holds true wisdom for us.
Thankfully for us, Solomon begins his Book of Proverbs with a very explicit explanation of the purpose of Proverbs…
Proverbs 1:1 – 7 (NLT)
The Purpose of Proverbs
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
I tried to summarize the above verses, but I can’t. I can say this – the proverbs teach us a many good things, but most of all they teach us that the appropriate knowledge and understanding of who the Lord is, is the base of all knowledge.
As we read through the proverbs of Solomon, we will be confronted with our own desire to seek wisdom or despise it.