Wisdom For Living: Proverbs 1:8-19
Living in a culture preoccupied with how others perceive each other often results in a “follow the leader” mentality. Often, we are most likely to follow someone who is popular, outspoken, good looking, or eloquent in speech without assessing where those individuals are leading. In fact, we often take simple advice because someone perceived as being “in the know” told us to do so. For example, it can be assumed that shampoo companies drastically increased profits by adding directions to their bottles that said “lather, rinse, and repeat.” Those who follow the directions may assume this is what is required to get ones hair clean when it may only be a way to put more dimes in the company’s pocket. More concerning is the amount of youth that write off their parents and God’s wise advice for their peers poor advice. As I witness this happening all around, I am led to ponder if we do this in our spiritual lives as well.
The compiler of Proverbs, King Solomon, warns about “following the crowd” and its associated dangers in Proverbs 1:8-19. Solomon notes that good, wise parental instruction can bring a child honor, distinction, and wisdom (1:8-9). It is not in following the crowds that one gains these rewards, but in following sound wisdom. Wise parents teach what has been expressed throughout the Bible. First, verses 10-13 teach us that getting mixed in with the wrong crowd has consequences. As you read, notice the ambiguity in reason for the evil that is done by the “wrong crowd.” Solomon warns that engagement with the wrong peer group can bring severe consequences. Solomon also teaches parents to explain to their children the dangers of throwing away their inheritance (1:14-19). Youth often want to jump in together but fail to realize it was not true friendship that drove the request but the desire to accumulate what belonged to the newcomer. Finally, Solomon warns about allowing others to “use” you in your youth (1:17). These peers cast a wide net and choose anyone who is willing to join their cause.
Parents, are you teaching your children to choose friends wisely, protect their inheritance, and refuse to be used for evil?