Christianity is much more about our relationship/fellowship with God than it is what we DO for God.
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my heart to you and make my thoughts known to you.” – Wisdom
The wisdom of the Old Covenant was based upon people’s works to show them that they were incapable of living a righteous life on their own; their sin got in the way. THEY NEEDED A SAVIOR. It was true then and it’s true for us now.
I’ve always struggled to see how verses 24-31 reflected the heart of God. They seem rather petty, “I in turn will laugh..I will mock…they will call to me but I will not answer…” Then I realized that this way of thinking was in line with the Old Covenant. Even by living according to wisdom, they could not live a righteous life. It took faith in the Lord’s grace, that He would grant to them His favor regardless of how well they were living–or in spite of how they were living.
The New Covenant, based upon Christ’s love for us and His sacrifice in our place, puts this passage into perspective. The writer of Hebrews states for us,
“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Heb. 10:4
Paul tells us in Galatians that Christ fulfilled the law and offers us God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice,
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Therefore, 20 I [consider myself to] have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Proverbs 1:32 is still applicable: For the waywardness of the simple [a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil] will kill them, and the complacency of fools [those who know the right thing to do, but won’t do it] will destroy them [because sin destroys us–that’s why God hates it]; while verse 33 must be read with New Covenant eyes: but whoever listens to me [we listen to the Holy Spirit] will live in safety [our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit] and be at ease [concerning earning salvation], without fear of harm [eternal separation from God].
The best way to interpret the Old Testament is in light of the New Testament. The Levitical law was given to Moses and the Israelites, a special person and a special people. It was designed to show that NO ONE, even God’s chosen people, can be saved by their works. If we become conscious of our sin and our separation of God, then the Old Covenant has done its job. In the words of Jesus,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17
We read Proverbs because Solomon was the wisest man on earth, but we read Proverbs through the lens of the New Testament, the Law of Love and a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
As you read, listen. He is speaking to you through His words. His Spirit will help you apply them to your life.