Solomon begins his address to his son by pleading for him to pay attention. At least a dozen times in the book, the word “hear” is an imperative, i.e., a command. It is used as such twice in the first chapter. It’s also used three other times in the first chapter just as a regular verb. There is also a clear connection between hearing and obeying. This is also what Jesus meant when he said, “let those who have ears to hear, hear.” Both Solomon and Jesus want us to hear and heed their instructions on how to live a healthy, happy and holy life. Many verses throughout this book point out the benefits of following God’s directions in life.

But we must always remember that Proverbs are not promises. They are general truths that apply to everyone in life in a very extensive manner, but they are not promises that can be applied to everyone in a very specific manner. God sometimes chooses to test us, like He did Job, by allowing circumstances to go against our life choices. Notice these examples: “A friend loves at all times,” but we’ve all experienced arguments, disagreements and disappointments with those we’ve felt were our friends. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” In most cases it surely does, but Jesus was nailed to a cross in spite of His soft answers and we might expect the same from the world at times. There are many promises regarding long life for obedience (3:2, 22; 4:10, 22; 8:35; 9:11; 10:27; 12:28; 13:14; 14:27; 19:23; 21:21; 22:4) and these will work out accordingly most of the time. Yet, there are many times when the good die young or disease has struck a godly person while the ungodly and rebellious live long and apparently happy lives. Proverbs tells us that the righteous man is “rescued from troubles.” But a quick look through the bible tells us that this isn’t always the case. There have been millions of martyrs for the faith and every believer has his or her share of troubles in life. Asaph, in Psalm 73, points out that good doesn’t always come to the good, and bad doesn’t always come to the bad, but the godly will have an ultimate reward in eternity.

The Book of Proverbs is all about producing a satisfying life in the here and now. It say’s little if anything at all about eternity. God calls out to us to live wise and skillful lives so that our lives will glorify him no matter what circumstances come our way. It’s all about trusting God to have our best interest foremost in mind regardless of the circumstances. It’s not the length or the quality of life that we have that matters most, it’s the depth of life and the breadth of our faith that God will evaluate. Proverbs is a call for us all to launch out into the deep and to take life to its fullest and trust God for the results.

“But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” Proverbs 1:33