The book of Proverbs was written to impart God’s wisdom to His saints. It is not a book of moralisms; it is God’s input on many, if not most, facets of life. Following the proverbs is to be following God’s will so as to serve Jesus Christ.
As such, the Christian puts himself in peril to neglect it.
Moreover, it is an exceedingly important way to learn, remember, and utilize truth. Most proverbs are portable, packaged, and pictured principles. A great chunk of life, analyzed by the Lord for us, is squeezed into a small package called a proverb. The principle is illustrated, in many cases, so that it becomes concrete enough to understand, remember, and implement. Your task is to find and unpack those that you need at the moment, and use them. The picture illustrating the principle will help you do so.
I call proverbs portable truth because, being small enough to grasp quickly, and memorize easily, they can be carried in the heart for use whenever necessary. In 22:18 the writer urges,
keep them within you, and . . . on your lips to use.
They are useful to keep you from sin and to help you handle difficult situations. They are easy to remember, as I said. Take for example, Proverbs 26:16
The sluggard dips his hand into the bowl; he is too lazy to return it to his mouth.
This humorous picture makes its point without any elaboration. Moreover, whenever you think of laziness, having read this proverb, the picture will probably leap into your mind as it does in mine. The principle is, of course, that you ought not begin something that, because of your laziness, you don’t complete. How often in our churches could the proverb be used to describe (or awaken) people who are too lazy to finish a task!
On the other hand, there is the picture in Proverbs 17:14 that tells you when to quit something you ought not be doing in the first place. Check it out.
Why not read a chapter a day in Proverbs each month (it lends itself to such a program), determined to find and remember at least one portable truth from each chapter. In months when you have more proverbs than days, double up at the end—it won’t take that much more time!