Proverbs 1:6

Proverbs 1:5-6 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings."



Verses five and six make up the first proverb in Solomon’s amazing book of wisdom.  Together, the verses challenge the reader to keep reading.  Together, the verses motivate the listener to keep listening.  They paint the picture of a wise person intentionally spending time with the wise in order to become wise.  The reader contemplating abandoning the Book of Proverbs is forced to look at the canvas these two verses paint and see not only the wise man among the wise but the reader will also see the back of foolish man in the corner of the canvas walking away from the wise.  This proverb suggests that the failure to be persistent in the schoolroom of the wise makes the foolish more foolish.

Appropriate for this first proverb, we can explain its teaching by using the first letter of the alphabet in the form of the acronym, AAA.
A wise man will Attend the words of the wise.
A wise man will be Attentive to the words of the wise.
As a result, a wise man will Attain understanding of the words of the wise.

And appropriate for this first proverb, we can sum up its teaching by using the first letter of the alphabet in one word, APPETITE.

Because he is hungry for wisdom, a wise man will Attend the words of the wise.
Because he is hungry for wisdom, a wise man will be Attentive to the words of the wise.
Because he is hungry for wisdom, a wise man will Attain understanding of the words of the wise.

The difference between the wise and the foolish is not brain power; it is will power.  Intelligence doesn’t make the wise person wise - appetite makes the wise person wise.  A lack of intelligence doesn’t make the foolish person foolish - a lack of appetite makes the foolish person foolish.  Appetite is the deciding factor of all men.  Appetite drives us.  Our actions are typically born out of our hunger.  If we have an appetite for money, then we will choose activity that will make us money.  If we have an appetite for fame, then we will choose activity that will get us attention.  If we have an appetite for mischief, then we will choose activity that will get us in trouble. 

The greater the hunger we have for something, the greater the activity we choose.  For example, a life-threatening hunger for food can propel us to personal accomplishment we previously thought impossible.  A life-threatening hunger for food can also move us to personal moral compromise that we previously thought impossible.  The point being, the greater the appetite for something, the greater the activity we’ll choose to obtain that something. 

The truth is the same regarding wisdom, justice, judgment and equity.  The same principle applies to virtue and goodness.  The greater our appetite for wisdom, the greater our activity will be in pursuit of wisdom.  If we have no appetite for wisdom, then we will have no interest in attending church services where the Scriptures are taught.  If we have no appetite for wisdom, then we will have no interest in reading the “holy scriptures, which are able to make us WISE unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15).  If we have no appetite for wisdom, then we will have no interest in meeting with a counselor, pastor or elder. 

Furthermore, if we have no appetite for wisdom, then we will have no interest in being attentive to the preaching of God’s word when our parent or spouse makes us come to church.  If we have no appetite for wisdom, then we will have no interest in being attentive to the whisper of God when we feel obligated to read the word of God.  As a result, this lack of appetite for wisdom will prevent such a person from ever attaining understanding of wisdom.

It is a spiritual law of the Bible that the hungry get fed.  God has the ability and desire to fill us all with wisdom and understanding but He only fills those who possess an appetite worthy of His wisdom and understanding.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  In His holy sermon on the mount, Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”  In Luke 1, Mary said of God, “He hath filled the hungry with good things.”  The Psalmist in the 107th Psalm penned these words: “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

How hungry are we for wisdom?

What kind of an appetite do we have for wise counsel?

The hungriest souls are in attendance whenever and wherever the wise are speaking.

The hungriest souls are attentive to the wise whenever and wherever they are speaking.

The hungriest souls keep listening in order to keep learning.

The hungriest souls keep reading in order to keep gleaning.

The hungriest souls are not satisfied until they understand a proverb.

The hungriest souls are not satisfied until they understand the interpretation of the proverb.

The hungriest souls are not satisfied until they understand the words of the wise.

The hungriest souls are not satisfied until they understand the dark sayings of the wise.

This healthy appetite propels the hungry to a state of wisdom; it elevates them to a place of enlightenment.  Such was the case with the Apostles and their Wise Teacher.  Jesus Christ taught things that were hard to understand.  Their Wise Leader spoke to them dark sayings.  When Jesus spoke to them about His resurrection, Mark said “they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean” (Mark 9:10).  It was not uncommon for the disciples to approach their Teacher after publicly presenting a parable and request of Him explanation and clarification.  They did so regarding spirituality & hygiene in Matthew 15, prophecy in Matthew 17, marriage in Mark 10, the sower & the seed in Luke 8 and regarding the blind in John 9.  They attended His teaching in the Gospels because they had an appetite for truth and for wisdom. They were attentive to His teaching in the Gospels because they had an appetite for truth and for wisdom.  They eventually attained His teaching in the Book of Acts because of their holy appetite

A pastor can gauge the potential success or failure of his flock simply by Apparent Appetite.  Hungry sheep will readily and happily follow their shepherd to green pastures.  Thirsty sheep will readily and happily follow their shepherd beside still waters.  Absent sheep however, are not hungry sheep.  Distracted sheep are not hungry sheep.  Resistant sheep are not hungry sheep.  It is forever the pastor’s prayer that the flock of God be hungry for the wisdom of God’s word because then and only then can he effectively feed them (1 Peter 5:2).

A parent too can gauge the potential success or failure of his child simply by Apparent Appetite.  Hungry children will ask the questions, “Why” and “How.”  Hungry children will stop playing in order to start listening.  Hungry children will not be content with generic answers or simple responses. Parents, here is one of the greatest gauges to the spiritual potential of your child:

Suggest they read a proverb a day.

If they seem unsatisfied with their lack of understanding after reading, then they possess the potential to become wise because they possess an appetite for an understanding of the proverbs; for an understanding of the interpretation.

If they seem satisfied with their lack of understanding, then they possess the potential to become foolish because they have no appetite to learn wisdom and the interpretation of dark sayings.  The young man or woman who is content with not knowing the meaning of wise sayings but will put forth incredible amounts of time and effort knowing the ins & outs of video games or football games does not evidence potential for wisdom.  In such a case, it must be the urgent prayer of that parent for their child to develop an APPETITE for wisdom.

How hungry are we for wisdom?

What kind of an appetite do we have for wise counsel?

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