Proverbs 31:1-2 “THE WORDS of Lemuel king of Massa, which his mother taught him:
What, my son? What, son of my womb? What [shall I advise you], son of my vows and dedication to God?” (AMP)
This is an interesting start to the chapter. Lemuel’s mother is about to begin a speech, a lecture to her son and is musing about what to teach him; what wisdom to share with him. Many times women are disregarded in the church and society and given no authority simply because they are woman. They are pushed aside if unmarried because they are perceived to have no covering and therefore no value or anything worthy to offer. Many leadership structures in churches and even in society include only men but the women are expected to serve and be available when needed but have no authority or do not hold positions of authority. In sharp contrast to what we experience in society today we now have Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, listening intently to what his mother is about to teach him and the profound wisdom she shares with him. He then values what she says so highly that he records it.
If we go back to the very beginning of the Book of Proverbs we find some deep verses on heeding a mother’s instruction.
Proverbs 1:1-9 1 THE PROVERBS (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,
3 Receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity,
4 That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth—
5 The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]—
6 That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles.
7 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father; reject not nor forsake the teaching of your mother.
9 For they are a [victor’s] chaplet (garland) of grace upon your head and chains and pendants [of gold worn by kings] for your neck. (AMP)
Wisdom is personified (has a capital letter) in verse two and throughout the book of Proverbs. Solomon originally wrote it this way as he understood that the wisdom he was referring to was not just worldly wisdom but the Wisdom of God which is His design for living and a prophecy of Jesus Christ to come. In 1 Corinthians 1:24 Paul calls Jesus the Wisdom and God. In 1 Colossians 2:3 he puts it like this, “In Him (Jesus) all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden.” (AMP)
Reading the book of Proverbs with this knowledge, that wisdom is the Wisdom of God which is Jesus Christ, just opens up the wonderful power of this book.
In Proverbs 1 Solomon talks about the purpose of the Book of Proverbs. It is so that people, all people, ordinary people, may be able to receive instruction with the ultimate goal of being able to steer one’s course rightly. Wisdom leads to maturity which is what we are aiming for as sons and daughters of God. Verse five says that “the wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel.” Verses seven and eight then give us the two keys to gaining wisdom, acquiring skills and where sound counsel comes from; reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and hearing the instruction of one’s father and heading the teaching of one’s mother. If a mother can teach her son and teach Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, then woman most definitely have something of value to say; something worth listening to, following and even writing down for generations to come.
A lot of emphasis is put on women being married and having children and in many ways unmarried women or those without children feel inferior or second rate. This is not at all the case in God’s Kingdom. Proverbs 31 talks about a woman whose husband values her and whose children sing her praises. This does not discount unmarried or childless women in the slightest.
If we look back at Proverbs 1, it makes no mention of being wise if you’re a mother or are married. The capacity to have wisdom is completely unconnected to gender, age, race, social standing or wealth. Proverbs 1:7 simply says, “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]…” Wisdom and knowledge are only connected to one’s heart attitude towards God. If a person reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord then she is on the road to gaining knowledge and wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 is the direction to the starting point of the road to knowledge and wisdom. Proverbs 2 is the roadmap.
Proverbs 2:1-5 1 My son, if you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you,
2 Making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom and inclining and directing your heart and mind to understanding [applying all your powers to the quest for it];
3 Yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek [Wisdom] as for silver and search for skillful and godly Wisdom as for hidden treasures,
5 Then you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God. (AMP)
Proverbs 1:7s direction is to reverently and worshipfully fear God. The above passage expounds that beautifully.
Step 1: Receive the words you are given by your father. This maybe your natural father or another person who father’s or mother’s you spiritually. It is anyone who you value and speaks positively into your life.
Step 2: “treasure up their commandments within you” I think this is a most beautiful way to express what we should do with the commandments we are given. Treasure them up. Treasure them, hold them in high esteem, value them and then store them in your heart so that they are always there guiding your life. They are a knowledge bank that is accessible at any moment.
Step 3: Cry out, raise your voice. Philippians 4:6 says we are to make our wants known to God. Cry out to Him, raise your voice and express your desire to gain knowledge, be skillful and grow in wisdom.
Step 4: Seek and search. Once you have cried out to God keep your eyes and ears open, continue to seek and to search. Read the Word, study books, take a course, choose a passage of do an in depth word study.
Once you have done the above the promise is that you will then understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:6-7 6 For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him) (AMP)
Verse seven is echoed in Colossians 2:3 where Paul says all the treasures of wisdom are stored up and hidden in Jesus Christ.
Finding God’s Wisdom is a game of Hide ‘n Seek but one that we can win. God tell us in Psalm 37:4 that He will give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him. He tells us in Proverbs 2 to seek Wisdom which means that by doing so I am delighting myself in Him. He then tells me how to go about acquiring it. He bolsters me in verse six by saying that He will give it to me along with knowledge and understanding. And then He tells me that he hides it away and he stores it up for the righteous. Skillful and Godly Wisdom is hidden away. I need to search it out but I already know that I will find it. What a fantastic game!
There is one final condition though; sound and godly Wisdom are stored up for the righteous.