The book of Proverbs can be very useful to its readers when in need of wisdom or helpful insight. Everyday people are forced to make life choices—good or bad. The book of Proverbs covers various issues and topics that can be found useful when making any decision. Whether it is an issue of marriage, sexuality, wealth, poverty, guarding the tongue, dealing with emotions, or many more, Proverbs paints a vivid picture of what both the right path and the wrong path have in store. The book of Proverbs “presents a vivid contrast between the life of wisdom and the life of folly” (Hindson and Yates 263). Proverbs is God’s manual to His people on how to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Throughout the book of Proverbs, readers will see the words diligence and laziness multiple times. These words correspond with the contrast between wisdom and folly because diligence is the result of wisdom and laziness is the result of folly.
Towards the beginning of the book of Proverbs one verse in particular tells its readers clearly where the root of gaining wisdom and diligence is at: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (New International Version, Prov. 1.7). All wisdom comes from fearing the Lord. This type of fear is not a fear of terror but rather a fear of awe and reverence. By having a respect for God, His children should want to please Him, which would result in considering the outcome in every decision being made. When people make wise choices it results in diligence, peace of mind, wealth (literally or spiritually), and gaining more knowledge. In contrast, foolish decisions bring about destruction, fear, laziness, and much more.
Throughout Proverbs readers will repeatedly see warnings against laziness and rewards for diligence: “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Prov. 12.24). There is a theme throughout Proverbs repeatedly stating the benefits of diligence and the consequences of laziness. These principles tie into wisdom and folly because when being wise, people will be wise with their time and are on the path to be continually growing in themselves and in the Lord. The reward in being diligent is an overflow of blessings “The blessings of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it” (Prov. 10.22). When being foolish people do not recognize the preciousness of time. In being selfish, they do not understand that their lack of action affects others…or they do not seem to care. When not walking with God and depending on our own abilities and understanding, people will miss out on the rewards of diligence. “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe” (Prov. 28.26).
When reading the book of Proverbs, readers will find the book to be overflowing with wise instructions on how to live a life that glorifies God. Big or small, Proverbs offers many wise words and teachings for every situation people walk through in life. Whatever circumstance someone is going through the book of Proverbs gives helpful insight on how to wisely navigate life. Throughout the book of Proverbs readers will see a pattern of the rewards that diligence reaps and the natural consequences one must face when being lazy. This compares to the contrast between wisdom and folly in that when being wise in all one does, there will be a multitude of blessings and rewards. “…Get wisdom, discipline and understanding” (Prov. 23.23b). Just like when being lazy, when one is foolish there will be some unpleasant consequences in hopes that a lesson will be learned the next time around. “A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless” (Prov. 14.16).
Hindson, Ed, and Gary, Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, n.d. Print.
New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d. Print.