Tag Archives: Understanding

The Hard Way

Proverbs 13:15

“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” KJV
“A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.” NLT

 A Hard Life

Every now and then you may encounter people with a look that older than than their age. You may meet a man who is only in his thirties, but looks like he over sixty. A young woman may cross your path that is wrinkled, bent over, and haggard, only to find out that she is 28 years way too old.

What makes people look like they are much older than their chronological age? Hard lives. Lifestyles bent on destruction.

To be fair, there are others that you may see who have been through a lot of pain and suffering due to circumstances beyond their control. These, too, may look older than they actually are. Life has been hard on them. But for many, what they have endured has been the result of a transgressor’s path, and that’s a hard road.

Good Sense

A person that exhibits good sense (“understanding”) is typically a person who takes better care of himself. Good sense says, “Hey, maybe staying up late every night partying until the sun comes up is a bad idea.” Good sense says, “You know, taking that drug might be harmful, not to mention addictive.

Someone with understanding and good sense is also somebody others respect and trust. For example, this type of man or woman is the one who gets the job or promotion. He or she is the one who gets awards and bonuses. They are also the ones who have lower life insurance premiums and rarely have to pay large down payments to purchase anything on credit.

However, the transgressor is the one who nobody really trusts closing the store at night. He’s the one who always calls in sick on Monday morning. Life insurance companies consider him a “high risk” and deny him coverage. And when it comes to buying a house or new car, all he can do is rent.

Advice for the Road

Let me give you some advice. If you are planning on traveling down the “hard road” of life, plan on things never going your way. But don’t think you can blame all of your woes on those with more than you, because they have “understanding;” they can see through your schemes.

Don’t blame the government. Don’t blame the church people. Don’t blame your boss (if you can keep one). Don’t blame anyone for the path that you have chosen.

Also, if you are planning to live a life that transgresses God’s word (His law), don’t blame Him when things don’t go the way you plan. He warned you.

So, when you find yourself living in a run-down motel, remember, Wisdom has been crying out, “You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding” (Proverbs 8:5 NLT).

When you won’t listen to Wisdom, your way will be hard.

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My Pride Says I’m Right

Proverbs 13:10

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised [is] wisdom.”

I know I’m right

Have you ever listened to a parent talking with a teenager? It can be fun, to say the least.

You see, a teenager has “seen it all” and “knows about everything” now that they have lived on this earth as long as they have. A teenager “understands what the world is all about” and is “always in perfect control” of his or her life.

But you know, a parent has been through “everything” that a teenager is going through, “knows all about everything” going on, and how to solve every situation.

A parent “has to control” the family and everything that affects them; a teen thinks he can handle things himself.

Both sides know and can.

Not Listening

The problem that always comes in is that, sorry, teenager, you have not been around as long as your parents, and they have been through a lot more than you may ever know.

The problem that always comes in is that, sorry, parent, teens actually do go through different circumstances and know more than you may realize.

In other words, the reason so many fights break out between parents and teens is that both know everything going on and think they can control it. This usually includes not hearing what the other is saying, because each side is so sure that the other does not understand as much as they think.

And usually they are both right.

And usually they are both wrong.

Wisdom

Just like in any relationship – from parents and children to friends to spouses to complete strangers – contention arises because we fail to listen.

The wise choice is … wait for it … TO LISTEN!

Much contention, fights, and hatred could be avoided if we would just listen to each other, hear each side. Then, find your common ground and dialogue.

If you can not do it, get another person to help, but be willing to hear that person tell you that you are wrong (Matthew 18:15-17). Pride will tell you to fight it.

If you listen to pride, go back to the beginning of this little devotional.

Lord, teach us humility, even though it may hurt to get to it. Give us a heart to listen and hear and to admit when we are wrong. Give us the wisdom to listen to others and know when it is okay to speak (James 1:19)


Holy Fear

Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

This has been said many times over and over on Proverbial Thought, but if we don’t fear the Lord we will never truly understand or gain true wisdom…Period – end of story!

We can search and study all we want but Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10 simply say that the “FEAR OF THE LORD is the beginning of wisdom”. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10 are the bookends for Proverbs 1-9. They proclaim the theme that Solomon is working so desperately to get across to everyone – obtain wisdom and understanding.

FEAR

Simply put – to fear the Lord means to respect Him (God) so much that we obey His will and seek to honor His name. The word “fear” in the phrase “fear of the Lord” comes from the Hebrew word YIRAH, and it means “to be in awe of” (1 Kings 3:28), and “to have respect for” (Lev. 19:3).

The Benefits of Fearing the Lord

Not only should we fear the Lord in order to obey Him and honor His name, but when we do fear the Lord, the Bible tells us that there are extra benefits when we do:

  • Deuteronomy 6:2 – enjoy long life
  • Psalm 25:14 – The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
  • Psalm 34:7 – the angel of the LORD encamps around them & delivers them.
  • Psalm 103:13 – the LORD has compassion on those who fear him
  • Psalm 115:11 – the LORD— he is their help and shield
  • Psalm 128:1 – Blessed are all who fear the LORD
  • Psalm 147:11 – the LORD delights in those who fear him
  • Proverbs 10:27 – adds length to life
  • Proverbs 14:26 – He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.
  • Proverbs 16:6 – through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil
  • Proverbs 28:14 – Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD

Oswald Chambers once said,

“The remarkable thing about fearing God is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”

Solomon is again reiterating to us that we must obtain wisdom and knowledge in our lives and the first thing we must do it fear the Lord.

God dwells in light and holiness,
In splendor and in might;
And godly fear of His great power
Can help us do what’s right. —D. De Haan

Fear God, and you’ll have nothing else to fear.

Lord, help us to fear you enough in our lives that we do not want to do anything that displeases you. Help us to live our lives in such a way that we will stand in awe and honor your name each and every day. Lord, may our fear for you drive us to love you more and devote our whole heart and lives to You!


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!


Come Into My Parlor

Proverbs 7:12 

“Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.”

Lieth In Wait

I can visualize the following event just like it happened yesterday even though it took place some 31 years ago. I was 7 years old and my parents and brother lived in a two story house right outside of Chattanooga, TN. Our den was located in the basement while all of our bedrooms were upstairs. The evening was coming to an end and so we started to gather up our belongings to take them upstairs. As we began cleaning, I noticed that my father was no where to be found. I didn’t give it another thought and continued to help my mom and brother.

With arms full of blankets and pillows, I made my way up the stairs and started down our hallway. Because this happened during the winter time, it was already dark outside and my arms were full so I could not turn the hallway lights on. I walked about ten feet down the hallway and stopped in my tracks. There was something that was telling me that I should not go any further and that my best bet would be to turn around slowly and go back. I quickly exited the hallway and run to find my mom who was still downstairs.

My mother began to laugh when I told her what just happened.

She explained to me that she was pretty sure that my father was hiding in one of the rooms just waiting for me to walk by so he could scare me (there was never a dull moment in the Sneed household). Sure enough, when I returned upstairs and turned on all of the lights, my father was laying on his stomach on the floor just “lying in wait”.

Her Prey

Solomon is explaining to us that the “strange women” is lying in wait for this man to come by and just like the spider, she is ready to pounce on her prey. She is out on the street, but she is lurking around each corner just waiting for her victim to arrive.

The Take-Away

How many times have we seen it or heard about it? How many times have we seen homes broken up and children being torn apart by a man that has gone off and had an affair?

In today’s society, the “strange women” is ever so prevalent in JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING! The TV, internet, radio, smartphones – she is everywhere and if we are not grounded in the Word of God, we are doomed to fall. That is why Solomon was again telling his son to make sure and keep his commandments!

Men, we must guard ourselves against sin each and every day. We must keep God’s commandments and do our best to obtain wisdom and understanding, so that we can live!

Lord, help us to guard our hearts and minds against anything evil that comes our way. Help us to always be on the lookout for things that are not according to Your Word. Help us to always seek your face each and every day!


Pay Attention!

Proverbs 5:1-2

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.”

Many parents have tried for just about ever to get through to their children. If our  attention begins to wander, they would yell at us “Pay attention!” If we started doing things against their wishes, we might hear them announce “Listen to me!” If we mouthed off to them, they would scold “Watch your mouth!” Solomon is doing basically the same thing.

PAY ATTENTION!

This passage essentially starts with Solomon saying, “Pay attention to the wisdom I have shared with you!” He knows how easily we can be distracted by the pretty, fun, and new things in this world. He sternly warns his son (and God, therefore, warns us) to pay attention to wisdom of those who have come before.

Listen to me!

He continues, “Listen to what I have learned.” If only Solomon’s children had listened to him! It was the actions of his children which led to the split in the Kingdom of Israel.

God calls us to listen to His word and His people. There is wisdom and experience there. All we have to do is listen (and act on what we hear). We can know how to interact with God and others.

Watch your mouth!

“This way you will know when to bite your tongue and when to speak.” James told us, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” (James 3:2, NIV) With the wisdom of God and the understanding gained from those with experience, we can learn when and how to control what we say and how we act.

The most perfect example, naturally, was our Lord Jesus Christ. He always seemed to have just the right thing to say, but he also knew when to be silent, such as when on trial for His life (Matthew 26:57-68).

The Perfect Man

Has has been said time and again on this blog and through Proverbs, seek wisdom and understanding. This is achieved through knowing Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man who makes all things perfect in His time.

Allow Him to make you perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Listen to your teachers, pastors, and other church leaders. Read your Bible. Pray to God daily, every moment as you are able. Allow His love and grace to change you, to move through you and into others. Seek true wisdom and understanding with every fiber of your being.

Abba, Father, Lord, Savior, and Friend, give us You and grow that passion for You, that we may know You, Your wisdom and understanding, and love. Grow in us a passion to show that love, and give us the wisdom to know when and how to share it the most effectively.