It is “Proverbs Time” at the Pearl house. There are no television shows or video games to compete for the moment. The kids are excited. It is going to be fun. Everyone gets to share their views. Daddy is likely to tell some interesting story. The kids are all seated, some upside down, others lounging like it was nap time, some on the edge of their seats, but everybody is ready with an open Bible—the one easy for children to read and memorize, the one God preserved—the King James, Authorized Version.
Following is a brief commentary to aid you in guiding the family in Proverbs Time.
The chapter is addressed to “My son.” A father speaks to his son on matters that are critical.
Note that the first five verses are one sentence describing eight things a young man can do to gain understanding of what it means to fear God and thereby gain knowledge of God.
Ask your children to underline the eight things and then discuss them one by one.
1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Understanding is more than knowledge; it is seeing the connection, the balance, discerning the temporal from the eternal. People without understanding ask, or demand, “Why God?” They experience confusion and uncertainty, and lack direction and discernment. They make foolish mistakes and chase rabbits that lead to blind alleys. They are caught up in false doctrine and adopt futile causes.
Note the action (proactiveness) in the eight things:
Understanding, knowledge, and the fear of God are not easily achieved and do not come quickly. It takes a lifestyle of passionately pursuing truth and knowledge.
The following four verses offer assurance that God is quite ready to impart wisdom (knowledge and understanding).
6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
The words from God’s mouth (Bible) are the source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
God lays up, has a store house of wisdom, just waiting to be poured out on the righteous.
He is a buckler, the belt on which one hangs his weapons, meaning he is the weapon of defense to those who walk as they should.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
This passage indicates that a byproduct of wisdom is that God preserves the saint in matters that have to do with judgment and equity. That would include legal matters—contracts, courts, etc.
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
Back to understanding: “Then” indicates that the process described above in verses 1–5, followed by God supporting the saint with his judgment, will result in understanding three things:
Have your children discuss ways they have observed God in his righteousness, judgment, and equity.
The remainder of the chapter, verses 10–22, gives examples of how wisdom, knowledge, and understanding will deliver the young man from evil men and strange women.
10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Ask your children, “Where does wisdom reside; in the mind or in the heart?”
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
When knowledge is pleasant to one’s soul—that is, when one comes to love the contemplation of true knowledge, judgment, and equity—discretion will be the fruit, and it will preserve and keep you.
Look up discretion in an English dictionary.
12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
The discretion and knowledge residing in the heart will deliver you from evil men.
Look up the word froward. Or you can observe the Bible’s definition found in the expansion of the concept in verses 13–15. It is the perfect definition. The Bible always defines its own words.
Ask the children for examples of another child speaking froward things.
The five things in verses 13-15 define frowardness. Froward is a beautiful word that has fallen out of common usage. It is made of two words: fro, as in from, and ward, as in direction. It is to turn back from, as in stubborn, rebellious, and constantly disobedient. Note the first description in verse 13 is to leave (turn back from) the paths (ward, direction) of uprightness.
13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:
Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and fear of God will deliver the young man from strange women. Discuss the description of the strange woman. This is invaluable to the boys and men in the family.
16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
The result of avoiding evil men and strange women is found in verses 20–21.
20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
Here is the flip side. Two different paths; two different results.
22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.