Category Archives: Wisdom

Source of All Royalty

Proverbs 8:15-16

“By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.”

The Apostle Paul wrote about earthly authorities in Romans 13: 1-2 (NIV):

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Wisdom Reigns

It is a fact that kings, princes, nobles and judges are not always viewed favorably by their subjects. Queen Elizabeth II is a notable exception. Incredibly she has served, rather than ruled, the United Kingdom for sixty years. At the age of eighty-six she is still faithfully serving her country, and working harder than many of her much younger subjects. Even Britons who are not Royalists cannot deny that the Queen has served her country well and with great wisdom.

The Faith of a Queen

One thing that is very evident in the Queen’s life is her faith, which she sometimes mentions in her yearly broadcast to the nation on Christmas Day. Towards the end of her Christmas 2011 speech the Queen said the following:

Queen Elizabeth II“Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: ‘Fear not’, they urged, ‘we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.’

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Savior, with the power to forgive.

Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.

In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there’s a prayer:

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.”

Words of wisdom such as these can only originate from the Source of all wisdom. If only such faith and wisdom was found in kings, queens, presidents, and prime ministers throughout the world. If only such faith and wisdom was found in us.

 

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How Soon We Forget

Proverbs 8:14

“Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.”

Loss of Context

What has happened to Western society?

It used to be that younger generations listened to those who had gone before to learn from their wisdom. Previous generations have been through almost everything later generations endure, so they have an understanding of life that later generations do not.

Granted, the rapid growth and expanse of use of technology and information have made our world a completely different place than it was even 20 years ago, but though the context may be different we still go through similar circumstances.

Because of all of our new technology and understanding of how things work, it is generally assumed we know better today than in yesteryear.

However, Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

The context changes, but the circumstances remain the same.

Strength in Wisdom

It is baffling that, as a culture, we have largely left our past behind us. We do not seek the wisdom previous generations have gained.

This is baffling simply for the fact that, as today’s verse says, we get strength from wisdom.

It is easier to make decisions with a better understanding of what could happen.

It is easier to take the next step with a better understanding of what has happened before.

It is easier to help others with a better understanding of how people react.

It is easier to live when you do not have to worry about all of the variables, because others have explained some of them to you!

It should be apparent by now that the best source of wisdom and understanding, the best source of knowing how to move through life, is walking with Jesus Christ, living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Who better to seek advice from than the One who knows it all?

Great Lord, strengthen us in You. Give us Your wisdom, and help us to live it out every day. Help us to not forget to listen to those around us and especially to You.


The Interpreter

Proverbs 8:12

“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.”

Hand-in-Hand

We cannot escape that wisdom is always paired with something else, whether it be called understanding, knowledge, discretion, or prudence.

Wisdom does not work unless it is put into practice. What does wisdom look like in practice?

It is not getting ahead of yourself, rather knowing your limitations.

It is not leaping before you look, rather knowing the right path … unless God has called you to step forward in faith.

It is not saying whatever is on your mind, rather knowing the time and place and how to speak your mind.

Witty Inventions/Discretion

Other translations also say “I possess knowledge and discretion.” Like James said, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2) I still work on knowing when to share what I have learned, but the real task has been learning when it is okay to offend and when it is just offensive to speak. Clearly, I am not yet perfect!

I personally like the phrase “find out knowledge of witty inventions.” I like to turn a phrase and reveal hidden meanings.

For example, the Christmas carol “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is one of my favorites, because it shares the gospel and has a great tune.

However, two years ago I learned the original meanings of most of the words expressed in the title and first line of the song. The title in modern English would actually be “God Keep You Strong, Great Men”.

Another example are political elections. Politicians on every side attempt to convince you to vote for them, and they most often use facts and data in ways outside of their original context. It takes discernment to find the truth in their inventive interpretations. It also takes discernment to be that politician and properly use facts and data.

Wisdom helps us discover truth and understanding in places we might not otherwise.

Wisdom can show us how interpret what is being said and done, and wisdom can show us how to present ourselves in word and deed.

Finding True Wisdom

Prudence and knowledge should lead us to realize that, as we are, we are unable to control ourselves, in word, deed or thought.

Wisdom should then lead us to realize that God, as revealed through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit, is the only way to find control and freedom.

Our Wisdom and Truth, reveal Yourself to us ever more. Help us to see past the lower and false wisdom of this world and see Your truth. Teach us understanding, discretion, and prudence. Make us more like You!


No Comparison

Proverbs 8:10-11 

“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Can’t Buy Me Love

I was only a tiny tike when the Beatles made girls scream and cry like someone was burning them with a hot iron. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even born when their music hit American shores. But the first thing that came to mind as I read these verses for today was a song that the Beatles recorded back in 1964, Can’t Buy Me Love.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The song talks about money and all the things it can buy; everything, that is, except love. Love has to be given freely, or else it’s something else (like discussed in chapter 7). True love cannot be bought with even the most valuable stones or purest gold.

On the other hand, it is reported that after the Beatles became superstars, Paul McCartney thought it might have been better to rename Can’t Buy Me Love. When looking back on all the pleasures that money did bring he said, “It should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love.’ ” I guess if one’s definition of love is based on the world’s wisdom, anything’s for sale.

No Comparison

In verse eleven we read, “all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to [wisdom].” No matter how shiny or fulfilling, nothing compares. No matter how expensive, rare, or desirable, nothing compares to the value of wisdom.

Money can buy a lot of things, including a Proverbs 7 kind of “love.” The finest gold can open doors. Silver can put a house over your head. Rubies can even inspire others to stand in awe as you strut by. Yet, none of these can compare to wisdom.

We need to be careful what we seek in life. The things that seem most attractive may be things that fade away with time, or even lose value.  “Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.” – Ecclesiastes 7:12 NLT


God’s Words vs. Man’s Words

Proverbs 8:8-9

“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”
Man’s Words

All one would have to do is look at the average text message or Facebook rant to figure out the difference between the words of God and the words of man.

For one thing, every word of God is pure, as pure as silver refined seven times (Ps. 12:6). The average text message is about as pure as water in a ditch – next to a barn yard.

And what about knowledge? God’s words are plain to those who want to hear, and completely factual in all things. The average Facebook post has about as much objective truth as the National Enquirer.

So, why is it that we continually seek man’s wisdom, instead of the Lord’s? There is more than enough wisdom to be had if only we would ask (James 1:5) and do His will (Ps. 25:14). King David said, “I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts” (Ps. 119:100).

God’s Words

Unlike the foolish, prideful, arrogant words of men, the Wisdom of God is trustworthy and plain. Unlike the wisdom of men which is limited to knowledge gained from a finite perspective, the Wisdom of God is unlimited, infinite, and enjoys an omniscient perspective.

You can select any number of works from off the shelf of your nearest Books-a-Billion, each one written by the wisest of worldly philosophers, but they will all sound similar. It matters not if the book was written by Plato, Socrates, Hume, Samuel Clemens, or Oprah and Dr. Phil – it’s all human opinion.

But pick of God’s Word and you will find something totally different. You will find wisdom inspired by the Holy One. You will find hope, life, and joy.

More importantly, you will find Truth.

A Prayer

OH, Lord Jesus! How much we need your wisdom to guide us in these troubling days! We need not the shifting wisdom of men. We need more than the unpredictable advice of our emotions. We need the pure words from your mouth. Give liberally and don’t hold back. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.


The Fool’s Antidote

Proverbs 8:6-7

“Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”

Fool’s Wisdom

Reading Proverbs 7 it would be easy to think that Solomon was obsessed with seduction and adultery. If there was an element of obsession it existed because Solomon knew that the unfaithfulness of men and women towards each other always had/has devastating results. While it would be wise to avoid such temptation, human beings have an incredible capacity for justifying acts of folly, even persuading themselves that they have made wise choices when they have not.

Wisdom SHOUTS

Solomon follows his warnings about such fool’s wisdom with a reminder at the start of Proverbs 8 that wisdom shouts out to humanity. If it is true that wisdom cries out from high places, from alongside the paths, and at the gates of the city (Proverbs 8:1-2) then it would be sensible to stop and listen (Proverbs 8:3-5). Too many of us live out our lives with no time to seek out the high places. The speed of life leaves no time for us to pause and discover that wisdom has a voice. Unfortunately this means that we are as foolish as the adulterer. Any justification for living life recklessly at speed is foolishness. We need to slow down and listen.

Excellent Things

If you want to learn about excellent rather than foolish things there is no need to sign up for a seminar. All you need is a Bible and a little time. The Bible is full of excellent things, especially wisdom for life. The Bible offers wisdom as an antidote to folly. Wisdom is not a hidden or a costly antidote. God speaks only truth. He cannot lie. God hates wicked things and foolishness so much that He took time to provide the Perfect Antidote. An Antidote rooted in love. God also paid the price meaning that the Antidote is free. What could be more excellent than that?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3: 16-17 NIV)


Wisdom’s Call

Proverbs 8:3-5

“She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”

 The Call To All

Romans 1:18-20 (NIV) reminds us:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Wisdom cries out from … EVERYWHERE!

God wants all people to hear draw near. That is why it says “and my voice is to the sons of man.” That means every single person who has ever lived and will live.

Yet we are a foolhardy and stubborn race. Paul says soon after in the above passage that even though people knew God, they still created their own gods out of wood, stone, and metal.

Answering the Call

Stop giving in to foolishness. Turn to God. Turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the true Wisdom of God as revealed through the Holy Spirit.

The last part of today’s passage is to find wisdom and understanding. As has been said numerous times in the previous seven chapters and our commentary, and will be said many more times in later passages, only a fool denies God and Wisdom.

Sometimes the ways of the godly seem foolish to this world (see 1 Corinthians chapters one through three), but ask any who have followed God for years. It is better with better returns promised.

Great Lord, help us to overcome this world and its claim to wisdom. Help us see through the noise and the clutter and find You, Your Wisdom and understanding.