Imagine that you just graduated from a Masters’ degree program and received a promotion at work as a result, and someone asked you, ‘What does it matter?’ with reference to your graduation and promotion. You might be taken back by the brashness of their question but you’re a polite person so you respond by saying, ‘Well, it helped to equip me to do my job better and now, as a result of taking a position of greater responsibility, I take home more money to benefit my family.’ You think you hit their underhanded, off-speed, softball pitch of a question out of the park. But they don’t. Unmoved, they unleash a series of existential questions with more than hint of nihilism to boot: ‘So what? What does it really matter if you do your job a little better and bring home a little more money? So you make someone’s day potentially a wee bit brighter? Eventually darkness will set in and your ‘momentary brightness’ will be eclipsed and forgotten by the pain of life’s tragedies. And what exactly does a little bit more money do for your family? Add a little bit more activity, entertainment, and comfort to your fleeting life? You won’t even remember 1% of it when you’re on your deathbed and neither will those you spent that time with.’ It’s at this point you realize why this person doesn’t have many friends. He lacks a filter but he is asking questions that demand an answer. In the final analysis, what profit is there in wisdom – whether it be intellectual or moral?
As the Book of Judges opens there are two things that are immediately noticeable to the reader: (1) Joshua has died and so life without Joshua begins for the children of Israel, and (2), the children of Israel get off to a good start.
Joshua had led the people into the Promised Land and to many wonderful victories but now the nation was in a position where they needed to collectively rely upon God because the presence of an intercessor like a Moses or Joshua wasn’t there.
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1 ESV)
One of the things that I love about reading through the Book of Proverbs is how readily applicable so many texts are. If, on a given day, you happen to wonder “What can I, as a new creation in Christ, do right now to please my Father who is in Heaven?” Simply open to the Book of Proverbs, read through some of the chapters, and you’re sure to find some immediate instruction. If you happened to begin reading at chapter ten the immediate application you would have is – make your father and mother glad.