Pearls are made by mollusks, such as oysters. The most valuable pearls are found in the wild, but they are extremely rare. If you found an oyster, the chances of finding a pearl in it would be very slim. But people have found a way to farm pearls from pearl oysters. When I was a kid, my parents bought some of these pearl oysters—and it was guaranteed that every oyster had a pearl in it. We would pop that oyster shell open and look around, and we would always find a pearl.
You have at your disposal something far more valuable than farm-raised pearls. The book of Proverbs is a spiritual treasure trove— and every proverb in it is like a pearl oyster: There is always a pearl! All you have to do is crack it open.
Most of the proverbs were written by King Solomon. Solomon had asked for wisdom from God and received it (1 Kings 3:5-12). These are the proverbs he wrote based on what God gave him! (Proverbs 1:1).
God ensured this book was preserved for you. He wants you to know wisdom, to gain understanding, to grow in intelligence, to acquire skill, to be trained in righteousness and justice (verses 2-3). He specifically wants it to teach “the young man knowledge and discretion” (verse 4). Yes, Proverbs will make you wise beyond your years!
God wants to give you these lessons as early in your life as possible. If you apply them when you’re young, you’ll avoid a lot of mistakes that can leave permanent scars on your life. Experience may be an effective teacher, but it isn’t necessarily the best teacher; sometimes experience comes at a high cost. Though God forgives sin, He doesn’t always remove the consequences of our bad choices. The book of Proverbs offers wisdom in a way that has no side effects.
Lange’s Commentary calls Proverbs the Old Testament’s “chief storehouse of moral instruction and of practical wisdom.” If you want to live a godly life, study Proverbs regularly. Dig to find the wisdom that will help guide your daily decisions. Continually remind yourself of these bits of wisdom.
“I did not have the privilege of growing up in God’s Church, as you do,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong to young people. “I was brought up from childhood in a Protestant church and in a boys’ Sunday school class. But we had an older young man as teacher, and instead of following the usual church lessons, we went through the book of Proverbs again and again. This continued until I was 18, when I dropped out of church attendance.” At age 18, Mr. Armstrong stopped attending this worldly church. But not before getting this education in the book of Proverbs!
“We boys were so interested in the book of Proverbs that when we finished the book, we began it all over again, as the years went by,” he continued. “I’m sure, now, that God was guiding in this. It helped prepare me to become Christ’s apostle, to raise up God’s true Church for our time, so you teenagers could be brought up in God’s Church” (emphasis added). The Proverbs helped prepare him to become an apostle and raise up God’s Church! “[K]eep on studying in the book of Proverbs,” he admonished (“A Timeless Message to Teenagers,” Good News, December 1979).
Solomon highlights a key to being able to understand this wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). This is a deep respect for God and what He says. You need the same attitude Solomon had: looking to God for wisdom. Have enough humility to know that you need God and His instruction. Respect Him enough that you’ll do what He says when He teaches you. This is the starting point!
You cannot even understand the Proverbs if you don’t have that attitude and that determination to apply them. But having this mind-set lays the foundation for making use of these proverbs in your life.
Proverbs covers a lot of ground. It talks about friendship, time management, work ethic, business and economics, physical health, mental health, nature, agriculture and more. It can teach you how to get ahead in your job, earn more money, get a better position—God’s way. It shows how to be respected in the right way, how to have peace of mind, how to cultivate friends and avoid arguments, how to escape accidents; how to say the right thing at the right time, how to avoid putting your foot in your mouth, how to have a happy marriage and rear successful children. With just about any problem in your life, Proverbs can probably help you.
These proverbs are timeless. They are based on a deep understanding of human nature, which is the same today as when they were written. That is why they are as relevant today as ever. They apply to all of us, of every age and every station in life. They are universal.
This book reveals our duties and responsibilities. It gets very detailed about how we should conduct ourselves, even what we should think. It is rooted in the world of the practical, daily decisions—what you say and do. It conveys solid good sense.
To get these benefits, though, you have to spend time with them (verse 5). They aren’t always easy to understand, but if you study and think about them—if you do some digging— you’ll find a pearl in every one!