The “Wisdom Literature”
For reading & meditation: Proverbs 5:15-23
“For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.” (v.21)
We have just a few more important general points to make concerning Proverbs before settling down to focus on our theme – the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Proverbs is often referred to as being part of the “Wisdom Literature” – those books which are associated with a class of people called “wise men” or “sages,” an important group in the life of ancient Israel. The Old Testament consists of three sections – the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings – answering to the three groups of leaders outlined in Jeremiah 18:18: “… for the teaching of the law by the priest will not be lost, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets.” Included within the category of the Writings are the Wisdom books – Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. While the prophets and the priests dealt with the religious life of Israel, the wise men were called upon to give advice about more philosophical matters. They made the point that the world was designed for wisdom and those who followed wisdom would find that the world was made for them. The book of Proverbs, which was largely written by Solomon, is crammed with the best advice it is possible to get and it is a tragedy that it is not part of our secular education system. But perhaps the greater tragedy is the fact that in some parts of the Christian Church (though not all) Proverbs is an unexplored book. Any church that does not encourage its people, especially its youth, to dig into the book of Proverbs is doing them a major disservice.
Gracious Father, help me develop a love and regard for Your Wisdom Literature. Grant that these days of searching and exploring may result in a new understanding of what wisdom is all about and that new evidence of Your wisdom may be seen in my life. Amen.
For further study:
1. What does Paul say is found in wisdom?
2. What did Daniel give thanks for?