A few notes about the nature of proverbs before we begin the study. First, we must understand that proverbs are not always absolute. By which I mean that these are neither absolute statements of truth, nor are they commands for how we must live our lives in every instance--they are proverbs. They are general guidelines for how to, in general, lead the most productive lives we can. They are not true in every instance nor for every individual.
For example, Prov. 2:11-12 "discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech." I wonder what Job would have thought of that passage? He wasn't delivered from evil.
Or 3:16, which is speaking of wisdom when it says "Long life is in her right hand and in her left are riches and honor." I wonder what the Apostle James thought of that as he died a young, poor man in the service of God.
So these aren't absolutely true in every instance, but in general they are true. Likewise they are not commands. I think that a lot of times sober, serious Christians make the mistake of reading Proverbs as commands because it is "Bible". It is the Bible, but it is a collection of Proverbs, some of which are mutually exclusive. Most famously 26:4-5 the first of which says "Do not answer a fool" and the second of which says, "Answer a fool". You cannot obey vs. 4 without disobeying vs 5. And vice-versa. So these cannot be commands, but rather are general statements of truth. It takes a bit of wisdom to know when each applies. Taking some time to muse upon these general statements of how to, in general, have the best life possible will help us in each specific problem we have as we move forward in our lives for God.
As most all of us know, after you get to chapter 10 the book of Proverbs seems to be randomly filled with 1-2 verse long proverbs which don't have anything to do with the verse before it or the one after it. It is a bunch of random, wise statements. However, there are several topics which are discussed over and over. I picked six topics and scanned through Proverbs listing all the verses that dealt with each of those six topics. So, at that point, I had everything Proverbs taught about each topic. I was able to preach seven sermons on those six topics. Those seven sermons will become the next seven posts from me on this blog.