Many years ago – before I had children – I would frequent a Chinese restaurant every week. I loved their buffet of choice foods and decadent desserts. The atmosphere was relaxing and the service was exceptional. It was a delight to be a regular at this restaurant. One of my favourite parts of the meal was cracking open my fortune cookie and reading the slip of paper tucked inside. It was always a thrill to read the Chinese proverb for that week and mull it over while I finished my tea. I found the wisdom to be profound and usually applicable to my life.
After I had children and moved away from that city, I seldom found occasion to return to that restaurant. However, in recent years I was not only delighted but also actually surprised to find that my very own Bible held a whole book dedicated particularly to nuggets of wisdom – the book of Proverbs. Go figure. This book was written primarily by Solomon in the tenth century BC. The Bible tells us that God asked Solomon what he would most want in life when he was king, and Solomon responded, “wisdom”. With this, God blessed him and Solomon became the wisest man in the entire world. He wrote this book to capture the snippet s of wisdom and observations about life that affect daily living. This book became a teaching tool of the Israelites. I particularly like that the majority of the Proverbs relate to every day life and cover topics ranging from sexual immorality to friendship and even money.
In studying the Proverbs, my study leader suggested that I read one verse for each day of the month. For example, on January 1st I would read Chapter 1, Verse 1. And on March 8th, I would read Chapter 3 (for the third month), Verse 8 (for the 8th day). This way, I could really sink my teeth into the book and spend some time chewing on the wisdom offered on that day.
Proverbs is found in the Old Testament and starts with the purpose and theme of the book, followed by exhortations to embrace wisdom. I have underlined many verses of wisdom in my Bible. Some of my favourites include Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” And Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”