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Blog - Proverbs 1:3

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For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.

Proverbs 1:3

"To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;" (Pro 1:3)


In this verse, Solomon continues giving his purpose for writing the book of Proverbs. His primary goal in penning this collection of wise, pithy sayings was for the reader "to know wisdom and instruction" (Pro 1:2). But, in order for a man to know wisdom he must first "receive the instruction of wisdom" (Pro 1:3). To receive is "to take in one's hand, or into one's possession (something held out or offered by another); to take delivery of (a thing) from another, either for oneself or for a third party. To take from another by hearing or listening; to attend, listen, or give heed to" (OED).

That the proverbs were written so that a child of God can receive the instruction of wisdom implies a few things. Firstly, it tells us that the instruction of wisdom is available for the taking. Secondly, it lets us know that for a man to acquire the instruction of wisdom he must first desire it and be willing to accept it from another who is prepared to impart it to him. Thirdly, for the instruction of wisdom to be received the recipient must exert mental effort by listening, attending, and giving heed to what he is being taught.

The instruction of wisdom is not the only thing that the reader is encouraged to receive, but also the instruction of justice, judgment, and equity.

Justice is "the quality of being (morally) just or righteous; the principle of just dealing; the exhibition of this quality or principle in action; just conduct; integrity, rectitude" (OED). Justice is an integral ingredient for a happy and tranquil life, both personal and societal. Many people clamor for justice in the courts, but they themselves are not just and righteous in their personal lives. Is it any wonder that justice has been turned on its head in the United States when judgment has not first begun in the house of God (1Pe 4:17)? If God's people would judge themselves, they would not be judged by being given leaders who pervert justice (1Co 11:31).

Justice will not be found in a society devoid of wisdom. By wisdom kings are supposed to reign and princes decree justice (Pro 8:15), which is why the instruction of wisdom must be first received, and justice will follow.

The next thing to be received is judgment which is "the action of trying a cause in a court of justice; trial" (OED). Judgment and justice go hand-in-hand. These two virtues are essential in a good leader, as the Lord told David, "he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (2Sa 23:3). God chose to "bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" because He knew him, "that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment" (Gen 18:19). Every father would do well to follow Abraham's example. David, one of Israel's greatest kings, "reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people" (2Sa 8:15). God made Solomon king for the same purpose (1Ki 10:9). O that leaders today would rule in the fear of God and do justice and judgment! But men can't expect their leaders to execute justice and judgment if they themselves live morally reprehensible lives. Some men reason that getting religious will make up for their lack of principle and integrity, but the scripture says that "to do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice" (Pro 21:3).

And lastly, equity is defined as "the quality of being equal or fair; fairness, impartiality; evenhanded dealing" (OED). Even children have a sense of fairness, at least when it comes to how they are treated. A common chorus in every home with young children is "that's not fair!" While nearly all men know that they should be treated fairly, and can quickly recognize when they have not been dealt with equitably, many of them have a memory lapse when it comes to their dealing rightly with others. Hence the importance of reading the book of Proverbs, to "receive the instruction of...equity" (Pro 1:3).


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For the previous blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 1:2.
For the next blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 1:4.

For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.