In the opening part of this minor series, instruction played the major role in Solomon’s discussion of wisdom—along with understanding and knowledge. Wisdom is transcendent and must come from previous generations, which is why Solomon stressed the need for “children” to listen to the instruction of their “fathers.”
Wisdom, understanding and knowledge must come through instruction. But without truth, all virtues fall apart.
THE BUILDING BLOCK OF SOLOMON’S WISDOM
Truth is mentioned nine times in Proverbs and once in Ecclesiastes, and Solomon expressed the absolute necessity of truth in everything when he wrote in Proverbs 23:23 to “Buy the truth and sell it not.” Prior he wrote in Proverbs 3:3, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.”
In order for wisdom or understanding or knowledge to be of any affect, it must be grounded in truth; otherwise, those spoken words are merely words with no real meaning. They fall flat, and if followed by the hearer, will lead only to destruction. As mentioned in the previous post, Solomon warns against listening to wrong instruction (Proverbs 19:27), which causes one to “err from the words of knowledge.” This type of instruction can easily be labeled as false instruction, or lies, regardless of their pure intention.
TRUTH ORIGINATES FROM THE SAME FOUNDATION AS INSTRUCTION
As Solomon referenced his father, David, at the beginning of Ecclesiastes, he also referenced him in the dream when speaking to God. “Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth…” (1 Kings 3:6).
It should be understood that truth stems from the same place as instruction. It is generational. And why is that important? Consider what instruction is:
Instruction is steeped in historical data. Instruction has been to the proving ground and is based solely on empirical evidence. Empirical evidence is based solely on truth. Instruction, in order for it to be useful, must be true. In order for it to be true, it must be tried. In order for it to be tried and true, it must suffer under the mighty hand of experience and outcome.
This following graph provides a simple demonstration of the order of things:
There are always trials and errors in business, technology, relationships, and science, but right instruction is built upon true foundational principles. We have been in existence for thousands of years, and there are these foundational principles of natural law that cannot be broken because they are true. Despite individuals or groups suggesting people find their own truth, it simply does not work that way.
As Winston Churchill once said, “When you push out nature, it will return at the gallop.” When you fight against nature, you fight against truth; that’s a fight that cannot be won because you ultimately are not fighting anything but yourself.
When you read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, you will find that what Solomon has written is simply true. Human nature and life in general simply work along certain principles. Learning these principles and applying them is imperative to obtaining what Solomon is most known for: wisdom.