Solomon’s proverbs begin with a telling chapter on the need “to know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in …” (verses 2,3). It is a most appropriate message for all those who are in awe of God, “let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance” (verse 5) writes Solomon. Verse 7 states a vital principle, “the fear (awe) of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”. How important it is to be in awe of the mightiness of the Creator, and to be aware of His all-seeing presence.

Solomon asks two “How long?” questions! First he says, “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?” (verse 22). ‘Simple’ has the sense of failing to understand the meaning of life. Solomon later makes the point, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (22:3). Solomon’s second question is, “How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” This knowledge is “the knowledge of God”. The first 5 verses of chapter 2 describe the difficulty of acquiring “the knowledge of God”. These are most challenging verses and we need to read and meditate on them.

Solomon describes the scoffers’ state of mind in words redolent of today. “I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, … you have ignored all my counsel …” (verses 24,25). So “How long” will God allow this to continue? It reminds us of the words of Jesus, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” (Matthew 17:17).

God causes Solomon to write, “because you have ignored all my counsel I also will laugh at your calamity … when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come … then they will call upon me, but I will not answer” (verses 25-28).

Finally, the last verse tells us, “but whosoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster”. Let us listen, let us read and pay close attention, hiding God’s word in our hearts – Psalm 119:10-16.