The Homestake Mine in Lead, S.D. — the most famous gold mine in the United States — has yielded fantastic wealth. Since 1877, more than 1,000 tons of the most-sought-after, highly prized metal on earth have come from this mine. Have you ever dreamed about owning a gold mine like this? What would you do if you were told about a major deposit of gold nearby — just waiting to be discovered? Chances are you'd spend your entire savings as well as countless hours searching for it! Believe it or not, you have a gold mine that's just waiting to be discovered!
Could you be fabulously wealthy — and not even know it? (Photo by Hal Finch)
But it's not filled with this precious yellow metal. It's a gold mine of wisdom and common sense written by the wisest man who ever lived. That gold mine is the book of Proverbs! It contains priceless wisdom that shows us how to live successful, happy lives — how to have and enjoy good health, a challenging career, a beautiful marriage and happy children. It also gives us keys to building meaningful and lasting friendships. Before reading further, be sure to get your Bible, a pen or pencil and some paper so you can read and write out the Bible verses that answer the questions asked in this study. 1. Who wrote the book of Proverbs? Proverbs 1:1. Who was Solomon? Same verse and I Kings 2:12. Was he the wisest of all men? I Kings 4:30-34. How did Solomon obtain this wisdom? I Kings 3:5-13, 4:29. After Solomon became king of Israel, God appeared to him in a dream and asked him what he wanted most. God granted Solomon his wish and gave him the greatest wisdom and understanding of any man on earth! 2. To whom did Solomon write the book of Proverbs? Proverbs 1:1-4. Does he repeatedly show that the book is primarily intended for young people? Proverbs 1:8, 2:1, 3:1, 11, 21, 4:1. 3. Why is the book of Proverbs addressed to young people? Proverbs 1:33, 2:1-12, especially verses 10-12,3:2-4. Solomon recognized the vital importance of the proper teaching a young person needs before going out to face the world on his or her own. He recorded his God-given wisdom so that we all might learn to lead happy and productive lives. 4. Are true wisdom, knowledge and understanding more valuable than material possessions — than even silver, gold and precious stones? Proverbs 3:13-18, 8:10-11. Few people have ever had both wisdom and riches. Solomon did, and he realized that wisdom was his most valuable possession! 5. Solomon often spoke about the company one keeps. Does he caution us to choose our friends carefully? Proverbs 22:24-25, 24:1. What further advice does he give about our association with others? Proverbs 24:21-22, 20:19, 14:7. People tend to imitate the traits, attitudes and values of those with whom they associate. This is why Solomon cautions us about associating with those who would cause us to compromise God's standards of morality, quality and excellence. 6. Will one who associates with wise men become wise himself? Proverbs 13:20. Is a good friend one who sharpens our wits and helps us to grow? Proverbs 27:17. We can be positively influenced by friends who are known for their wisdom and good judgment — those who are striving to do what's right and who are truly concerned for our welfare. On the other hand, we can be negatively influenced by those who do not have high standards of conduct and who seem to be concerned only about themselves. 7. What advice does Solomon have for building meaningful "and lasting friendships? Proverbs 18:24. Does a real friend show love and concern for others and try his best to avoid offending them? Proverbs 17:17, 18:19. The way to have friends is to show yourself friendly, going out of your way to encourage, help and serve others. 8. Solomon also has much to say about the end results of one's actions. Will a person ultimately pay the consequences of improper conduct? Proverbs 6:12-15. Will a wicked person's devices ultimately boomerang to ensnare him? Proverbs 5:21-23. 9. But will a person who walks uprightly reap blessings from God? Proverbs 3:33-35, 11:27. There is a cause for every effect! Decisions and actions of today can lead to success and happiness, or to frustration and heartache in time to come. Solomon shows that we reap what we sow, whether good or bad. Now let's notice what Solomon tells us about the value of correction and discipline. 10. Will a really wise person appreciate correction and instruction? Proverbs 9:8-9, 12:1, 13:18. How will wise parents deal with their children? Proverbs 3:12, 22:6, 29:17. And will a wise child heed his or her parents' correction and instruction? Proverbs 13:1, 15:5. Though correction is often hard to take, it is for our own good" There are many people, including our parents, relatives and teachers, who are older, wiser and know more than we do. It is definitely to our advantage to heed their instruction and correction. 11. Why is it so important to listen to advice and take correction? Proverbs 14:12. Before making important decisions, is it wise to seek advice and counsel? Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 12:15, 19:20. Sometimes what we think is a good decision is not necessarily the best course of action. That is why advice from our parents, teachers and elders is so important. In many cases they have gone through similar experiences and are more than willing to give us the guidance we need to make the right decisions. They want to help us avoid making mistakes that could prove costly. 12. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find people who are diligent in their work. Does Solomon show that diligent effort will always prove its worth? Proverbs 10:4-5, 13:4. 13. Who will become the leaders directing the rest of the workers? Proverbs 12:24. And what will be the fate of the slothful or lazy? Same verse. "The slothful will be put to forced labor" is how the Revised Standard Version renders this verse. Those who work diligently and with zeal will be recognized. They will eventually be given higher pay and greater responsibility because they have be come valuable assets to their employers! If you are working at a summer job or already have steady employment, be the kind of employee who increases production. When the time comes for raises and promotions, this is the person who will be remembered. 14. Though hard work will lead to financial security, what should such a blessed person's altitude be toward money? Proverbs 11:28. Is it important to know how to use financial resources correctly? Proverbs 3:9-10, 21:26, 28:27. Does Solomon advise us to beware of deficit spending? Proverbs 22:7. As we have seen from this brief study. each proverb condenses the meaning and power of thousands of words into just a few short and simple sentences. But we have only scratched the surface of this God-inspired gold mine of wisdom! So be sure to continue studying the book of Proverbs. (Using a modern translation will be helpful.) Think about each proverb and how you can apply the principles you learn to your daily life. Talk about these principles with your parents, remembering that" iron sharpens iron." Remember — now is the time to tap the priceless wisdom that will help you have a long, successful, happy and rewarding life!