Surprisingly, the Bible occasionally challenges its readers in more ways than one to go out and prove or validate its wisdom. Ranging from illustrations, clear-cut analogies, and many times even appeals to our own reason, its insistence on seeking validation cannot and should not be ignored. I agree that it is much easier and seemingly less complicated to sit back and rest on the premise that every word in the Bible is true and every principle works. God said it, period! However, you cannot ignore the fact that the same Bible contains a number of books and texts that seem to compel us to ‘prove the word’ of the Lord. One such installment is the book of Proverbs.
Scholars have argued [God knows why] over the authorship of the book of Proverbs, with some suggesting that the mentioning of such people as ‘Agur’ and ‘Lemuel’ could mean that they contributed to it. But largely, the book of Proverbs is attributed to King Solomon, considered to be one of the wisest men in those days. He still holds this laurel to this very date [and he still gets my vote]. Many of Kings Solomon’s Proverbs are now common maxims and quotes for both Christians and non-Christians. They are the foundations of many success and motivational books and literature that lines up on our shelves today.
As you begin to dig into this intriguing 20th book of the Bible, you will surely begin to see just how applicable and relevant it is to our generation as it was back then. As old as they may be, most of the proverbs, if not all them, could as well have been written by any of the great writers of our time. Without deviating any further from the point I am making, we all need to corroborate or validate any philosophy, tenet, instruction, guidelines, and wisdom before we can apply it. Proof of efficacy will usually go a long way in ensuring the application of any wisdom is embraced. What are the odds you will heed to any advice given to you if you cannot ‘see’ the fruits of its application [or non-application]?
The title of this article is actually a portion of one such verse that compels you to prove for yourself the fact that a lazy and an unwise man will not have food to eat during the unproductive months of the year. He urges you to work hard when you can and stack up on the reserves because the dry seasons WILL come. Solomon seems to say, “Oh, you don’t believe me? Then go and study the ant and see for yourself!” [Proverbs 6:6]. Other times he attacks our reasoning to accomplish the same intention of imprinting wisdom in us. He does this by throwing a question which instantly evokes our reasoning and consequently, validation. “Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not get burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared?” He queries elsewhere. These are just samples of many more calls to ‘prove the word’ contained in the book.
I implore you to take the wisdom contained in this book and even test and validate it. With every page beaming with practical wisdom for everyday living, I guarantee you that you cannot come away from the book of Proverbs without being challenged, enlightened, admonished, and even inspired. Written by the one person who had ‘seen it all’, there is arguably no better platform for the validation of some of the Bible lessons and wisdom that you and I have gathered over the years – hardly sufficient thus far. After all, it is King Solomon who said the now universally popular maxim ‘nothing new under the sun’.
I believe the book of Proverbs was among other things, a precise target for the rational minds that seek a rational basis for the Christian faith. In recent times, we have a branch of theology [apologetics] dedicated to provide this. If you in any way are moved [or removed] by proof or facts, this is the book that you should ‘write upon your heart’ and ‘bind around your neck’, as Solomon suggests elsewhere in the book. Some of the chapters might need a little more effort in understanding them while it may also be arduous to find application of others in your own life. But consider that Jesus also gave the suggestion that God’s word [wisdom] will many times appear opaque or bland to the simple, uninitiated, and the ungodly. It is only revealed to those who genuinely seek Him and seek to be wise.
So, go on …. Go to the ant!!