Tag Archives: Wisdom

The Pure Word

Proverbs 30:5-6.
 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (KJV).

God’s Word is Trustworthy:

I love the Bible for so many different reasons. It is the Word of God. It’s a love letter from God to us. It gives us wisdom for living life. It provides joy, peace, hope and comfort. It teaches us how to know God. It shows us how to find freedom from sin, guilt and shame. But I also love the Bible because it is trustworthy. Agur, son of Jakeh tells us that every word of God is pure. There are no lies, mistakes or errors in the Bible. You can trust it! God is faithful, and you can count on Him to fulfill His promises.

Agur tells us that God’s Word is a shield to those who trust Him. A shield is a defensive weapon to protect you from the attacks of an enemy. We know that faith comes by hearing God’s Word, and the Bible also tells us that faith is a shield that will quench all of the fiery darts of our enemy. So when we trust God and His Word, He protects us from the enemy. Just like an umbrella will protect you from getting wet on a rainy day, so God’s Word will protect you from the devil.

Don’t Add To His Words:

Not only is the Bible pure, but God’s Word is also perfect and complete. The Bible has given us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness. In the Bible, we discover how to be saved, and also how to live a life that brings God honour and glory. Therefore, we don’t need anything more than the Bible. There are many different religions that try to add to the wisdom of the Bible. Some churches add their traditions, confessions and creeds and make them out to be as important as the Bible, though they are imperfect. False religions – such as the Mormons – have added more books to the Holy Scriptures, but they are all untrue man-made teachings.

In this Proverb, Agur gives a strong warning to those who would add to the Bible: If you add to God’s Word, God will rebuke and correct you, and you will be found out to be a liar. Let this be a strong warning to anyone who would presume to teach or proclaim something in the name of the Lord that God has not spoken!

The Challenge to the Preacher or Teacher:

This Scripture is a sobering challenge to every preacher or teacher of God’s Word. James, the brother of Jesus, echoes this thought in James 3:1: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

Preacher! Trust the Bible. God’s Word has the power to transform people’s lives. We don’t need to add the wisdom of man – Oprah, Doctor Phil, or the latest self-help teachings! Even though the Bible was written over two thousand years ago, it is still relevant, living and powerful. As you minister the Word of God, it will heal the brokenhearted, comfort those who are mourning, and set the captives free. Amen!

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Knowing the Holy One

Proverbs 30:1-3

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. (KJV)
The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal: Surely I am more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. (NASB)

Stupid and Brutish

We, as a people, the human race, are stupid and brutish.

We like to follow our own passions. We do not like being told what to do. Sometimes we only want to be told what to do. We like having control.

We think we can be God or at least His control.

We like this so much that we start arguments, fights, battles, and wars.

We like this so much we nailed our God to the cross to kill Him.

His Wisdom and Understanding

God knew this of us before He even created ANYTHING, yet He made it all and us all just the same.

When we had Jesus beaten and nailed to a cross to die, it was already a part of His plan. He knew we are stupid and brutish, that we do not have understanding or real wisdom, and so He redeemed our stupidity and brutishness through this act of love and grace.

Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God, and only by understanding this is truth can we have knowledge of the Holy One.

With this knowledge we must turn from our sinful desires to be changed in thought, speech, and action to be like Jesus Christ, God in flesh.

Wise Lord, give us the wisdom to see Your truth. By Your power teach us repentance of our stupid and brutish ways. Help us to hear Your calling through the cross of Christ!


God’s Favour

Proverbs 29:26.
 “Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.” (KJV).

The Ruler’s Favour:

It seems like everybody is seeking the favour of a ruler. I’m sure Solomon – who wrote this Proverb – saw this often in his role as the King of the people of Israel. People would come before the King to ask a favour of him for themselves, for their family, or their community.

To seek the ruler’s favour means that people want an audience with a leader to gain some sort of advantage or blessing. This can be in many different realms: It could refer to politics where someone wants the favour of a government ruler; to education where someone wants the favour of a teacher; to the family where a child wants the favour of a parent; or to sports where an athlete wants the favour of their coach. For whatever reason, they think that if they can have an audience with their ruler or leader, they can get what they want.

The Lord’s Judgment:

In contrast to this, Solomon says that we would do much better off if we were to seek favour (justice or judgment) from the Lord instead, because ultimately, all favour, promotion and blessing comes from Him anyway. Earlier in Proverbs, Solomon taught us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (21:1). This truth reminds us that God is the sovereign Lord over everything, and that all judgment ultimately comes from Him.

This morning at church, we kicked off our new year with our youth leading worship. One of the songs they sang was, “Blessed be Your Name.” In this song, written by Matt Redman, he declares, “You give and take away, you give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.” This is a great reminder to us that the best thing we can do is trust God to give us what He thinks is best for us, and to praise Him whether the sun is shining down on us, it’s a rainy, cloudy day.

Lord, help us to remember that you are ultimately in control, and that you are good, and that you have good plans for our lives. Help us to lift up our eyes to You, the Lord, the one from whom our help comes. Help us to live lives that bring you honour and glory, in everything we say and do. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.


Wise Parenting

Originally published on Dec. 25, 2013

Proverbs 29:17.

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (KJV).
“Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.” (NLT). 

Foolish Parenting:

There is an unfortunate parenting model that has emerged in recent days that has proved to be detrimental to the well-being of children. The philosophy says that a parent should become best friends with their child. Included in this idea is the belief that the parent should give their son or daughter the freedom to explore the world around them without any kind of boundaries, rules or restrictions. If you’ll forgive my lack of political correctness here, these are some of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard!

I know of a couple who decided that they wanted to be their kids’ buddies instead of their parents. They literally let their children get away with anything. No rules. No boundaries. No consequences. I watched them with great concern when their children were younger, and at one point, I said to my wife Liza, “If they don’t start disciplining their children, then when they become teenagers, their daughter is going to get pregnant, and both of them are going to end up ruining their lives with drugs and alcohol. Fast-forward several years: Both of these children ended up become sexually promiscuous, the teenage daughter got pregnant multiple times, their son got his girlfriend pregnant, and both of them had issues with drugs and alcohol. And the sad thing is that this story gets repeated over and over again in the lives of many parents and children.

Wise Parenting:

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says that if a parent will correct or discipline their child, the resulting benefit to the parent will be happiness and peace of mind. When my wife and I started having children, we made the decision to parent them according to the principles in the Bible. “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24, NLT).

Because we love our children, we knew we had to parent them, and parenting them included rules and boundaries, discipline and negative consequences for their actions. Today, we have four children ages 11-17, and we are so thankful to the Lord that they are Christ-like, obedient children who are kind, loving and respectful. We don’t worry what our children are going to do when we’re not around because we trust that we have trained them up in the way that they should go, and we know that they won’t depart from it. Does this mean that our children are perfect? Of course not. But they are good, and their mom and I have happiness and peace of mind.

I want to issue this challenge to all of the parents reading this today: Your children don’t need a buddy. They have lots of friends. But they do need a parent. Someone to give them boundaries and guidelines to help them learn to live right. Train them in the way that they should go, and God’s Word promises that when they grow old, they will not depart from it. Amen!

Family Group Hug

From left to right: Austin (13), Tori (15), Caleb (17), my wife Liza, myself, and Hannah (11).


Trapped or Rejoicing?

Proverbs 29:6.

“In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.” (KJV).
“Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.” (NLT). 

Of Monkeys and Bananas:

When I was a youth pastor in Surrey, BC, I hosted True Love Waits teenage abstinence seminars for young people. Over the course of several years (from 1999-2004), we saw around 900 teenagers and young adults make pledges to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. In one such event, we invited Dave Koop, the lead pastor of Coastal Church in Vancouver, to speak at the opening session of the weekend event. To this day, I’ve never forgotten this powerful story.

In Africa, they have an interesting method of capturing monkeys in their jungles. They will take a container with a narrow opening in it, and place a banana (or some other sort of sweet-smelling fruit or nuts), and place it in the bottom of the container. Then the hunters hide in the bushes and wait for the monkeys. When the monkey comes to check out the container, he reaches in his little monkey hands and grasps the banana. However, when he goes to take out his hand, which is now closed in a fist around the fruit, he can no longer get it out of the container. Out jump the hunters and club the monkey to death.

The sad part of the story is that at any time, the monkey could drop the banana and take its hand out of the container, but it won’t. And the result is it is trapped. And then it dies.This is Solomon’s Proverb in action: Evil people are trapped by sin.” Sin is a trap that is very difficult to get out of – on our own.

The Joy of Freedom:

Thank God though for the second part of that verse: “but the righteous escape, shouting for joy!” Even though sin is a trap that is difficult for us to escape, the Bible teaches us that Jesus came to save His people from their sins. In the very first sermon Jesus ever preached, He quoted the prophet Isaiah and said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.” (Luke 4:18). Jesus wants to set us free – not only from the guilt and penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin.

My favourite Christian author, the 19th century Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, told this story that illustrates today’s Proverb well: I remember my old friend, Dr. Alexander Fletcher say to the children that when men came out of prison, they praised him who had set them free. He said that he was going down the Old Bailey one day and he saw a boy standing on his head, turning cartwheels, dancing and jumping about in all manner of ways, and he said to the boy, “What are you doing? You seem to be tremendously happy.” And the boy replied, “Ah, old gentleman, if you had been locked up six months and had just got out, you would be happy, too!”

If you are a Christian, then Jesus has set you free from the trap of sin. Our response? Rejoice!

cartwheel


Wisdom over Harlots

Proverbs 29:3

Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,     but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. (NIV)

The second half of today’s verse probably does not need much explanation.

Getting prostitutes is not the best way to spend money.

For starters, they can be expensive up front. If they are not expensive up front, and even if they are, they could be even more expensive later.

You may need to also pay for:

  • Divorce
  • Counseling
  • Medical needs
  • Medication for said needs
  • Reputation
  • and much, much more!

Your wealth could be squandered very quickly with prostitutes.

A Happy Father

Wisdom is always the better choice.

It could make you rich, if you are wise with money, but there is no guarantee of that.

It will usually keep you out of trouble (though wicked people often find a way to bring you trouble!)

It is probably true with most parents, but I know when I made wise decisions those were the times my father was the most proud of me.

The satisfaction I think we should all strive for, though, is higher than that.

Solomon became king of Israel at a very young age, and God gave him the chance to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom.

How did God respond? 1 Kings 3:10 tells us:

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

How amazing would it be to know our Heavenly Father, the God, Creator, and Savior of all creation, was happy with us?

Heavenly Father, give your servants discerning hearts to govern our lives and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours, but You?


Beyond Criticism

Proverbs 29:1 

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery. (NLT)

Following the Rules

Few of us enjoy being criticized, told off, corrected or reproved. What is important, however, is the manner in which we react when faced with criticism or reproof. Take the Pharisees, for instance. These were a group of people who wrote the book on criticism. They had so many rules, you would have thought that they would have walked around heads hung in shame, given the impossibility of compliance.  But they didn’t. They walked around heads held high, proud in the fact that they were rule keepers, not rule breakers. And in their pride they criticized everyone who did not reach their high standards of perfection.

Valid Criticism

What the Pharisees considered perfection was a falsehood, a lie. Jesus was an exposer of lies. When He came to the attention of the Pharisees they invested heavily in using their laws and rules to bring Him down. But they failed miserably because their criticism had no validity. And while the Pharisees were experts at dishing out criticism, they were unable to accept being under the spotlight and told that they were wrong.

Freedom

You could argue that it is simpler to live without rules. That is what infuriated the Pharisees about Jesus. He didn’t just break the rules, He lived as if there were no rules. The problem was that they had become blind to reality through their obsession with a legalistic approach for the one thing that could have brought them freedom, and life. God didn’t send Jesus to earth to write a new book of rules, but to show God’s true character to humanity. Jesus came because humanity had it wrong and has still got it wrong. God does not sit up in heaven criticizing us, but loving us. And if we can truly surrender to that Love then we will find freedom from criticism, and freedom from criticizing.

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” (Matthew 15:10-13 NLT)