While traveling through Israel, following behind a Hebrew tour guide who had walked this road many times, we were anxious to see where he was taking us. The road was unfamiliar to us, but he knew it like the back of his hand. We walked with him, followed, and listened to his instruction. As we went, we had to trust where and how he was leading us. Sometimes the walking led us to shade and water, and when you are in the 120-degree Middle East desert, nothing is more refreshing.
Once in a while, he would walk on paths that made us frustrated or nervous. We were confused and were not given much explanation. At other times, the road led us to the most amazing sights or ruins that were being excavated. Occasionally, he led us right up to enemy territory, where we stood inches away from a border, looking out to tanks and military watching our every move.
Solomon is leading and guiding us in a similar way through these chapters of Proverbs. It feels like we are on a walking tour with a guide who knows his way around the back roads, has lived more life than we have, and has learned some lessons the hard way. Though we may be confused by where he is going or think there seems to be no rhyme or reason to his sayings, he is leading us to see God and know wisdom in a new way.
There are parts of these lessons that seem to speak to the simple and mundane parts of life, while others speak to deeper things like death and destruction. Some of these proverbs from the wise, old sage are direct and repetitive, while others are refreshing and encouraging. With others, you may have to dig for meaning and understanding. Either way, stay close, keep your notebook out, and keep a mirror out, too, for self-reflection.