While in high school, I was on the basketball team. Don’t be impressed. It was our church’s team and up to that point they never cut anyone from the team. I was the first (as far as I know) who was nearly cut from the team, but that’s another story.
Recently, one of my teammates reminded me of a half-time “family” chat we had. Our team was playing poorly, so one of the assistant coaches was reaming out the guys. “You aren’t diving for the loose ball! Your free throws stink because you won’t bend your knees! You guys have just got to beat them. They are an inferior team, and besides all that, their socks don’t even match!!”
Yes, mark it down in the annals of our team’s basketball history. Our coach wanted us to beat the team with unmatching socks. Those involved in sports are familiar with the pep talk. It is intended to be very motivating.
Proverbs 1 is your pep talk, but it’s not about winning a basketball game. No, this pep talk is about living the good life. Much like our coaches, Solomon is very persuasive. He breaks everything down in two poems. The first poem is from the father figure you will see a few more times. He says, “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Proverbs 1:10). There will be people who will tempt you to veer from the path of wisdom, but the father tells his son, “It won’t end pretty.” They think they are taking from the unsuspecting, but they are actually the unsuspecting and their lives will be taken tragically.
Then there is a beautiful poem where wisdom is personified as a woman calling to those willing to listen. The facts are presented: Only fools despise wisdom and instruction. See how persuasive he is? It would be like looking at a seven-year-old and asking them, “You don’t want to be a dummy do you? Of course you don’t! So listen to the words of wisdom.”
How do you access this wisdom? Through the humility of fearing the Lord. Many prominent figures in Scripture bear the description of an excellent spirit, wise behavior, prosperous. At the core of everyone of those people’s lives is this one trait: they assimilated the ways of God as their own in order to enjoy the good life.