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The Beginning of Moral Knowledge, Proverbs 1 Continued

A Bible sitting open on a table to the Book of Proverbs

In this post, we are going to finish verse seven, and we will go faster than we have been. I went over fearing the Lord last time, which is the path to wisdom, but the second part of the verse also deserves some attention.  

In the book of Proverbs, we will discover four groups of people and their characteristics. The first of these groups is the fool. Fools are characterized by moral folly not because they have some sort of impairment beyond sin to their ability to do right from wrong but because they are always looking for the “easy” path. A modern example is a person who is looking for the get-rich-quick schemes or shortcuts in life that are the opposite of wisdom.  

We will find that fools lack understanding and common sense as we progress. They do not store up knowledge and avoid putting in the necessary work to do things the right way. Because of this, they fail to attain salvation and wisdom. They refuse correction and are incapable of rational thinking. They are arrogant, talk loosely, meaning they do not control what they say, and are disagreeable and like to cause arguments. They are stubborn. Fools may have intellectual knowledge, but they are foolish to the ways of God. 


Proverbs 1:7 NET - Fearing the LORD is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The following verses talk about obeying our parents' instructions.

Proverbs 1:8-9 NET - Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father, and do not forsake the teaching from your mother. For they will be like an elegant garland on your head, and like pendants around your neck.

Not all of us had parents who followed God or gave us good advice. Don't worry if yours didn't. 

The point is to learn what the Bible teaches us and to change the things we have been taught that do not align with God's word and the truth. Our job is to find the foolish things within our minds and hearts and work to replace them with the truths and genuine joys of leading a life that follows the paths of wisdom. We do this through prayer, study, and fellowship with other Christians.

We could go through all of the Bible 100 times, but we might see something different that pops out at us each time. The Bible is meant to be read and reread often, which is especially true of this book. This book deals a lot with attitudes and mindsets that we allow to dictate our actions. 

Unjust Riches

Proverbs 1:10-19 NET: My child, if sinners try to entice you, do not consent! If they say, "Come with us! We will lie in wait to shed blood; we will ambush an innocent person capriciously. We will swallow them alive like Sheol, those full of vigor like those going down to the Pit. We will seize all kinds of precious wealth; we will fill our houses with plunder. Join with us! We will all share equally in what we steal." My child, do not go down their way, withhold yourself from their path; for they are eager to inflict harm, and they hasten to shed blood. Surely it is futile to spread a net in plain sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood, they ambush their own lives! Such are the ways of all who gain profit unjustly; it takes away the life of those who obtain it!


Contemporary Examples of Foolishness


These verses are very relevant today; they could apply to modern-day gangs. While we all know that groups like these are dangerous and destructive, many of our youth are enticed by this behavior. However, there are also other scenarios in which these verses could apply. The list is, unfortunately, very large. Here are a few contemporary examples of foolishness that align with these verses from Proverbs 1:10-19:

1.    Participating in Scams and Fraud

2.    Engaging in Vandalism for Thrill

3.    Joining a Shoplifting Spree

4.    Getting Involved in Illegal Street Racing

5.    Investing in Ponzi Schemes

6.    Selling Illegal Substances

7.    Engaging in Cyberbullying and Crimes

8.    Looting During Protests

While this list is not comprehensive, these examples highlight the importance of resisting peer pressure and the temptation to gain easily through unethical means. Proverbs 1:10-19 teaches that such paths lead to destruction and that wisdom lies in avoiding these snares and seeking righteous and ethical actions.


The Call of Wisdom


The next set of verses is the call of wisdom. In Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a woman calling out to those who will listen. In Chapter 1, we are introduced to her as she warns against disregarding her call. Wisdom comes to people in the market, in the hustle and bustle of life. The language used for her call is one of urgency. Just like the warning above, it is as if wisdom is calling out to the people before they, too, fly into the net that their sin leads them into. Wisdom begins with salvation.


Who does Wisdom address? She speaks to three categories: the simple, the scorners, and the fools. We all fall under at least one of these three examples. That may seem harsh, but it is accurate, especially looking back at who we were before we surrendered our lives to God.


The simple are naive people who believe without examination, making them gullible and easily misled. They are constantly seeking happiness, often at others' expense.


Scorners, on the other hand, believe they know everything and scoff at what is truly important. You could easily picture a scorner screwing up their face in detest. These people sneer at God and at Christianity.


Fools are ignorant of truth because they are dull and stubborn, lacking the spiritual desire to seek and find God's wisdom. Their problem isn't a lack of intelligence or education but rather a lack of interest in seeking eternal knowledge. Fools enjoy their foolishness but are unaware of how irrational they genuinely are. Their outlook is purely materialistic and humanistic, with disdain for knowledge that does not edify them and no regard for eternally important things.


People have the freedom to choose their path in life, and our lives are largely shaped by our choices. A person who becomes a fool does so because of their own mistakes and not because of destiny (verses 30-31). Wisdom mocks the calamity of a foolish person (verse 26), not because she lacks compassion but because it is absurd to choose folly.


Proverbs 1:20-33 NET - Wisdom calls out in the street, she shouts loudly in the plazas; at the head of the noisy streets she calls, in the entrances of the gates in the city she utters her words: "How long will you simpletons love naiveté? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If only you will respond to my rebuke, then I will pour out my thoughts to you and I will make my words known to you. However, because I called but you refused to listen, because I stretched out my hand but no one paid attention, because you neglected all my advice, and did not comply with my rebuke, so I myself will laugh when disaster strikes you, I will mock when what you dread comes, when what you dread comes like a whirlwind, and disaster strikes you like a devastating storm, when distressing trouble comes on you. Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will diligently seek me, but they will not find me. Because they hated moral knowledge, and did not choose to fear the LORD, they did not comply with my advice, they spurned all my rebuke. Therefore they will eat from the fruit of their way, and they will be stuffed full of their own counsel. For the waywardness of the simpletons will kill them, and the careless ease of fools will destroy them. But the one who listens to me will live in security, and will be at ease from the dread of harm.


There will come a time when repentance is no longer an option, and we see here just such a time. I have heard people say that they will believe in God when they are standing before him or maybe on their deathbeds, but by then, it is far too late to repent of your sins, and your fate will be sealed by your own choices. Assuming you will have time to repent when your end comes is incredibly foolish and naive.


Are you willing to be tested and reproved by the Lord?


Making the right choices is not always easy, as it sometimes requires us to step outside our comfort zone and confront difficult situations. However, the actual test of our character lies in our ability to distinguish between right and wrong and act accordingly, even when it may not bring immediate enjoyment or satisfaction. This is where wisdom comes into play, as it allows us to see beyond our immediate desires and consider the long-term consequences of our actions. By consistently doing what is right, we can cultivate a sense of integrity and trustworthiness, both within ourselves and in the eyes of others. Choosing the right path may not always be the easiest or most popular option. But it is the one that will lead us toward a fulfilling and meaningful life.


The Bible doesn't promise us a life free of troubles if we follow God; in many instances, it is the opposite because we are challenging the world around us. To the fool, scoffer, and the simple, our ideas of how to live and our choices are incomprehensible. Living a life dedicated to God will cause anger from the simple, ridicule from the scoffer, and the fool will call us foolish.

However, the two most focused in these verses are the fool and the simple. When we disregard the guidance and knowledge that wisdom provides, we may feel a sense of self-assurance and contentment in the short term. However, our actions will inevitably catch up with us, and we will face the consequences of our choices. In this context, the metaphor of fruit conveys that our actions and choices will yield results that align with the seeds we have sown. Those who choose to ignore wise counsel will not only have to bear the consequences of their actions but will also be forced to face the bitter taste of their own life in the end.


[Galatians 6:7-10 NET] Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.


"The simple's" actions are referred to as wayward, and they are characterized by their self-centered and unjust behavior. They are unpredictable and often engage in impulsive actions driven by the pursuit of their own happiness and self-aggrandizement. However, their inability to control these impulses often leads to their downfall and eventual destruction.

In the previous verses, the term "fool" was used to describe a specific type of person. However, by examining the call for wisdom and the consequences of not listening to her. We can gain a deeper understanding of their character. Fools are individuals who possess a careless attitude towards life. This carelessness often leads them down a path of destruction, as they ignore their actions and make mistakes that result in harm and damage to themselves and others. Although it may seem appealing to live a life of ease, the life of a fool is based on a false sense of comfort that will eventually crumble and lead to ruin.

It's fascinating that the existence a fool yearns for has already been assured to us, provided we adhere to wisdom. The life she invites us to embrace promises security in Christ and liberation from fear.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the fear of the consequences of your actions? Dread makes us restless, anxious, and unable to experience peace. Living in constant fear is a life riddled with worry and anxiety.

Often, we breeze through Proverbs and think that's good advice, but are we honestly willing to change our behavior? Do you resemble anything mentioned in the first Chapter of Proverbs? The first time I read it, I could see the foolish person in myself and was horrified to realize it.

I will leave you with some verses corresponding with Proverbs 1, and I hope you find your devotional reading and Bible study more fulfilling with them.

Fear of the Lord:

Job 28:26-28 NET - When he imposed a limit for the rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and assessed its value; he established it and examined it closely. And he said to mankind, 'The fear of the LORD - that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding."

Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 NET - The words of the sages are like prods, and the collected sayings are like firmly fixed nails; they are given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. There is no end to the making of many books, and much study is exhausting to the body. Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Romans 1:28-32 NET - And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. Although they fully know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

Sinners, Foolish, Simple, and Scorners

Psalm 1:1-6 NET - How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the LORD's commands; he meditates on his commands day and night. He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts. Not so with the wicked! Instead they are like wind-driven chaff. For this reason the wicked cannot withstand judgment, nor can sinners join the assembly of the godly. Certainly the LORD guards the way of the godly, but the way of the wicked ends in destruction.

Romans 16:17-19 NET - Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them! For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive. Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.

Jeremiah 5:23-29 NET - But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned aside and gone their own way. They do not say to themselves, "Let us revere the LORD our God. It is he who gives us the autumn rains and the spring rains at the proper time. It is he who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest." Your misdeeds have stopped these things from coming. Your sins have deprived you of my bounty.' "Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people. They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. They set deadly traps to catch people. Like a cage filled with the birds that have been caught, their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit. That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful. That is how they have grown fat and sleek. There is no limit to the evil things they do. They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it. They do not defend the rights of the poor. I will certainly punish them for doing such things!" says the LORD. "I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this!

Romans 3:9-20 NET - What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, just as it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one." "Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

1 Timothy 6:3-11 NET - If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in controversies and verbal disputes. This gives rise to envy, dissension, slanders, evil suspicions, and constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making a profit. Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that. Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains. But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NET - Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, "I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." Therefore "come out from their midst, and be separate," says the Lord, "and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the All-Powerful Lord.


Colossians 2:2-4 NET - My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable.

Matthew 13:53-54 NET - Now when Jesus finished these parables, he moved on from there. Then he came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, "Where did this man get such wisdom and miraculous powers?

Acts 7:9-10 NET - The patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. But God was with him, and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.

Romans 11:33 NET - Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!

1 Corinthians 1:18-19 NET - For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent."

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 NET - Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence. He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Ephesians 1:17-19 NET - I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him, - since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened - so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength.





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About Me

My journey is guided by a deep faith in Christ. I am passionate about using Christian principles to help individuals find healing, hope, and purpose in their lives. Inspired by 2 Timothy 3:16-17, I believe in the transformative power of God's Word and its ability to guide us in teaching, reproof, correction, and righteousness, equipping us for every good work.

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