Mentors in Scripture

Every time I read the opening chapters of the book of Proverbs, I cannot help but notice how often Solomon addresses his wisdom to “my son.” I count 19 times in the first 8 chapters where Solomon refers to the hearer or reader of his words as “son” or “sons.”

What a fantastic resource the book of proverbs can be to a young man who is growing up, or has grown up, without a father in his life. What a rich source of fatherly guidance.

For that matter, the book of proverbs is a wonderful resource for all of us, young or old, male or female, whether we had two parents in the home or not. After all, the Bible tells us, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men… and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.” (1 Kings 4:29-31)

Even if you had the most wise and loving parents in the universe, there is still more wisdom for you to find in the book of Proverbs. Even if your friends are the best examples of godly living that anyone could imagine, they are still imperfect humans who may sometimes lack the perfect knowledge revealed in scripture.

Let Solomon be a mentor to you through the book of Proverbs.

Of course, the reason why Solomon was so wise was because he got his wisdom from God. The words recorded in the book of Proverbs are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). When we open the Bible to learn, we are literally being taught by God. Jesus Himself said so in John 6:45, “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”

We all need someone wiser than us to help us to learn and grow in life. Think of a classic mentor-trainee relationship such as Daniel and Mr. Miyagi in “Karate Kid.” That is what God offers to be for us. In John 13:13 Jesus said “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” In Luke 6:40 He said, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”

Will you allow God to be your teacher? Will you submit yourself to His instructions, even when you do not understand them, knowing that He can help you to become more like Him?

And will you spend time with the mentors that God has appointed throughout history to teach us various lessons, both through listening to their wisdom and through observing their mistakes?

There is much to learn from the words and actions of men and women like Adam, Eve, Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, Moses, Zipporah, Miriam, Joshua, Rahab, Deborah, Gideon, Jael, Sampson, Naomi, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David, Abigail, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, Mordecai, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jonah, John the Baptist, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the sister or Martha, Anna the Prophetess, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Paul, Silas, Pheobe, Priscilla and Aquilla, Lydia, Dorcas, Barnabas, Timothy, and Titus. And that is just to name a few!

The Bible is full of father figures, mother figures, big brother and sister figures, and friends to help you learn and grow. Hebrews 12:1 describes them as a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us and cheering us on in our walk of faith.

Avail yourself to their guidance and support through God’s word.

Wisdom is Calling

In the first chapter of the book of Proverbs, beginning in verse twenty, wisdom is personified:

“Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.’”

When someone is standing out in a busy square shouting and calling out while people bustle all around and go about their own business, our typical response is to ignore them and go about our own business as well.

As a matter of fact, amid the “noisy streets,” as Solomon describes them here in the Book of Proverbs, it is surprisingly easy to tune out such a crier. Especially if you live in a big city and you see the same person out preaching or protesting every day, it could be easy to tune them out so thoroughly that you cease to even notice them.

The urgency of wisdom contrasts sharply here with the mundane business of those around her who are totally unconcerned.

Maybe we are guilty of tuning out wisdom as well. Maybe we have known what we ought to do and failed to do it for so long that foolishness has become our default. Wisdom does not even cross our minds anymore. Her cries blend right in with all the other noise.

Perhaps we just do not have time to sit down with Wisdom, while the world rushes by all around us, and listen intently to her appeal.

There may come a time when we have ignored her for so long that irreparable damage has been done.

“Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
And you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof;
I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.
They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof.
So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices.”

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