Proverbs 2023 Bible Study (Storm Proof)

Proverbs 1:1-7, Starts With God


We are starting today a short series of lessons called Storm Proof. The tag line is: Preparing for life’s difficulties before they happen. This is the essence of the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs has the purpose of preparing you for life’s hardships before the hardships happen. We understand this concept. Every year we prepare for hurricanes before they happen. At the beginning of June we are told to make sure we have batteries, water, and other supplies so that we are ready for the storm. Why are we told to make preparations before the storm comes? If you have been a person who hasn’t prepared before the storm, you know the reason why. You cannot get prepared once the storm comes. The supplies are not available. It is too late to get what you need. This is when the panic sets in because the time to prepare has past. Jesus taught the same idea in the Sermon on the Mount.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:24–27 NIV)

God has no interest in us being unprepared to face the hardships and suffering that come in life. Jesus told us that the rain and the winds of life are going to beat on our lives. God does not want our lives to be destroyed by sin or suffering. So the book of Proverbs is given to us so that we can have the wisdom we need a good life. We will talk about this further in a moment. If you are unfamiliar with the book of Proverbs, I would like you to notice that the proverbs do not actually start until chapter 10. Chapters 10-29 are the actual one line proverbs. The first nine chapters are speeches telling us why we need to read and listen to the proverbs. I think it says much about human nature that nine chapters are needed to encourage us to seek God’s wisdom and listen to his teachings. But let’s read the introduction which sets forward the purpose of the proverbs and the purpose of the book.

1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,

3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;

4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—

5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,

6 to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. (Proverbs 1:1–6 ESV)

The Purpose

Notice the proclaimed purpose: to know wisdom and instruction. To understand the insights of the wise. To gain instruction in wise dealings and prudent behavior. To know how to do what is right, just, and fair. We often define wisdom as simply knowledge. But you will notice that this is not how the scriptures depict wisdom. When we read about wisdom we should think about skillful living. A full definition for wisdom is this: living skillfully, insightfully, and successfully before God in this world.

The Usefulness

Then Solomon tells us who these proverbs of wisdom are useful for. Look again at verses 4-6. In verse 4 he starts with the simple or inexperienced. This word will teach prudence and shrewdness for those who are inexperienced. The picture is that those who are still impressionable (usually the younger) need this so that they can have the skill to see life rightly. Further, this word will teach the young knowledge and discretion. The younger people need the messages in this book to prepare them for life. It will give them the ability to discern life properly.

Now does this book have nothing for the older and the wise? Look at verse 5. The wise person can listen and increase their learning. Please think about this. There is no limit to the knowledge and wisdom that God can give to you for life. There is not a cap. There is never a point where you can say, “I have all the wisdom I need.” The rest of verse 5 says that even those who are discerning can obtain more guidance for life. The wise can become even more skillful for life. So you do not age out of needing to storm proof your life. You do not cap out and no longer need wisdom to storm proof your life. These words help the young and the old. These words help the spiritually immature and the spiritually mature. It does not matter where you are in life or how old you are or how much wisdom you presently possess, these words are for you. Everyone needs to storm proof their lives.

How To Start

So where is wisdom? How do we start? Look at Proverbs 1:7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The first step to storm proof our lives is to fear the Lord. The start point to live skillfully and wisely is to fear the Lord.

I want us to think about this idea for a moment. Where does the modern person turn for instruction, guidance, discipline, insights, knowledge, moral judgment, and discernment? Where are you supposed to go to have all of these things? Are we to turn to social media to obtain these skills? Is TikTok the place for wisdom and insights? I thought I would look to the most popular magazines sold in the United States and see what wisdom is presented as you check out at the grocery store. Here are some of the titles on the leading magazines this month:

“Astrology says this is when you’re gonna to fall hard.”

“No matter your starting point, we’ve got inspo for ya.”

“How to succeed in 2023: Proven ways to think bigger and act bolder.”

“Get gorgeous, feel fabulous!”

We should quickly see the shallowness of what the world offers for self-help, self-care, and life guidance. Where will wisdom be found? Where will life skill be found? The fear of the Lord is the starting place for skillful, insightful, and successful living before God in the world.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. I want us to think about the impact of this truth. Our view of God and our knowledge of him is the foundation for all your logic and reasoning. How we look at the world and how we look at our lives are directly colored by our view of God and what we know of him. All of us view the world in a certain way with a certain lens. I want us to think about all the lenses we have been given in our lives. Our parents tried to teach us the right way. But how do we know what they taught was the right way? Our schools tried to teach us the right way. But how do we know what they taught was the right way? Our friends tried to teach us the right way. But how do we know what they said was the right way? How do we know what is the right way? The world has myriads of contradictory points of view. So which way is right and which should we listen to?

God is telling us that seeing rightly only comes from fearing the Lord. God is saying that if we do not know him that we cannot know anything about life correctly. We are going to be able see the world but we will not be able to put it together correctly. We lack the wisdom and instructions needed to put the pieces together so that it makes sense.

Let me illustrate this idea. Many popular movies show living in an alternate reality. You believe that you are in a particular reality. But then someone opens your eyes and you realize that you are not looking at the world correctly. You were not seeing all that there was to see. You discarded the things that did not make sense to you. But then someone comes along and shows you that how you looked at the world was upside down. You watch a movie where a kid thinks he sees dead people. But the end of the movie shows actually the kid was the dead person and everyone else was alive. Now you have to rewatch the movie because it changes everything about how you understand what was happening. All of the pieces fit differently now. This is what God is saying to us. You think you are seeing life properly and you are seeing things in a particular way. But until God is the central foundation, you are putting the pieces of the puzzle together incorrectly.

This is why those who are outside of Christ and do not know God think we are living backward. It is also why we look at the people in the world and think they are living backward. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. With God, you are given the wisdom to look at the world rightly and with insight. Without God, you do not have the right lens to look at what is right. We are looking at life through a different reality. This is why Jesus said the world will hate us. They are not doing to understand us. None of this makes any sense. It cannot make any sense. Faith appears irrational from where they are. If you were told at the start of the movie that the kid is dead, you would not believe it and would not make any sense. You are told this at the end of the movie and you go, “Oh, now I see.”

The Fear of the Lord

This is the idea regarding the fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge. The fear of the Lord does not merely refer to having a reverence and fear for the Lord. Rather, when the scriptures speak about the fear of the Lord they are referring to a reverence and fear of the Lord that leads to submission to him.

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12–13 ESV)

The fear of the Lord is to listen to God in life. Jesus is described as delighting in the fear of the Lord which meant that he lived his life listening to God and doing what he said (cf. Isaiah 11:2-3). The fear of the Lord is not merely being a Christian. This is important to point out because there are Christians who do not see life correctly. Seeing life rightly comes from listening to the Lord and trusting what he says. We are trusting that our lens for looking at life is broken and we need to look at the world the way he says.


What God is trying to tell us in many places in the scriptures is that skillful living, insightful living, and successfully living before God in the world ONLY comes from knowing and trusting God.

I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2–3 CSB)

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:21–24 NIV)

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6–7 ESV)

Notice the three points from those scriptures. First, all knowledge and wisdom are in Christ. Second, the world through its wisdom will not know God or his wisdom. Third, the wisdom of God that we possess will not match the wisdom of the world. They are not compatible. If we do not believe these three things, then we will continue to watch the movie of our lives and the movie of the world in the wrong way. When life does not start with God, then it is impossible to see life correctly. Therefore, it will be impossible to move through life correctly. We will not have the skill, insight, or success before God in the world that we desire to have. Storm proofing our lives means starting with knowing and trusting the Lord.

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