Tag Archives: Wisdom

Trip Planner

Proverbs 4:5-6

“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.”

 Get a Travel Agent

Today I had conversation with a co-worker about going to Disney World. Even though she was an adult, this was going to be her first time visiting the park, and she was very excited. But once she got to hear me share my experiences, she got even more excited. She really had no idea what to expect.

One bit of advice I gave her, however, was “get a travel agent.” When I explained to her how a good travel agent could help her get better deals, make more use of her time, etc., she was so grateful. She even said, “I have got to tell my sister what you just told me . . . she needs to know this.”

I can only imagine the advice Solomon was giving his son in verse five had the same imperative. Instead of a travel agent, Solomon said, “Get wisdom, get understanding…” Of all the time savers, money savers, and life savers, wisdom and understanding can’t be beat. Like a good travel agent, Wisdom will direct your paths (Prov. 3:6).

Love Her

No, not the travel agent; I am referring to wisdom. Solomon said to first “get wisdom,” then later “love her.”

The word translated “love” is a word that could be used in describing one’s feelings for another human being (Gen. 24:67), truth and peace (Zec. 8:19), or a good steak (Gen. 27:9). But in this passage it is used of wisdom.

Interestingly, according to one Hebrew lexicon*, one meaning of the original word was “to desire, to breathe after anything.” How much better off would we be if we sought wisdom and understanding in the same way? Do we love wisdom so much that we chase after it; breathe deeply and longingly at the mention of it; desire it as much as the very air we breathe to live?

Do you know what it is like to love someone so much it takes away your breath? Get wisdom, and love her even more.

*http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H157&t=KJV&page=1

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Father Knows Best

Proverbs 4:1-2

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.”

Father Knows Best?

Mark Twain may have disagreed with Proverbs 4:1-2. He is widely quoted as having made the following statement:

‘When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.’

Few children willingly listen to a parent. I certainly didn’t, but my generation did not have any choice. Solomon obviously did take note of his father’s instruction and experience. Unlike Solomon, King David did not grow up in the opulent surroundings of a palace. He spent his early years in the fields and on the hills, where the instruction of his own father would have been supplemented by the hands-on experience he describes to Saul prior to his encounter with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:32-51).

The Most Important Thing

The most important thing that David could have taught Solomon from all his experience was to trust God. Trust/faith in God enabled David to fight bears and lions, to defeat Goliath, to manage Saul and his moods, to survive being on the run from the vengeful Saul, and to become a king who generally exhibited wisdom.

Before he died David again demonstrated great wisdom through the instructions he gave to Solomon from his deathbed (1 Kings 2:1-9). It is interesting that David says to Solomon; “Thou art a wise man.”

Wisdom in Action

The fact that Solomon had learned from David is evident in the words of 1 Kings 3:3: ‘And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father.’ It may have been the wisdom passed on by David that led Solomon to answer in the way that he did when God appeared to him in a dream and asked; “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT)

Solomon answers God by acknowledging his inadequacy for the task ahead. Instead of putting in an order for fame and wealth, Solomon asks for an understanding heart, i.e. wisdom. It is evident that Solomon had listened intelligently to his father, and that he had already sought to be a man of knowledge and understanding. What an example! I wonder how I would have answered such a question from God when I was Solomon’s age?


Inheriting Glory

Proverbs 3:35

“The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”

There are two ways to look at this proverb.

Earthly implications

The first way is to understand that those who are wise have a good name, may have prosperity in some way, and will be respected. Fools will find that they lose everything, are disgraced, and have trust-issues.

However, since there is ample evidence that the opposite can be true, especially in this upside-down world, let us look at the other meaning of this verse.

Eternal implications

As Psalms 14:1 and 53:1 both mention, the fool believes and says that there is no God. The only hope he has is in this world; after this life, all he can expect is destruction.

As for those who pursue Wisdom, there is the promise of eternal life with God. All we have to do is come to Christ with the faith of a child. Jesus said:

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” – Mark 10:14-5 KJV

We have to believe God is who He says He is; otherwise, we are doomed. However, when we live a life of wisdom by following Christ, we are promised glory.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. … And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans 8:14, 17 KJV

Gracious God, guide us in full wisdom that we may not only inherit the chance to live with You in glory, but that we may have a good name on this earth that You might be glorified through us.


Couch Talk

Proverbs 3:31-32

“Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”

Preface

Let me preface what I am about to write by saying that it is pleasure to study verses of Scripture which would normally be overlooked in casual reading. When I first selected this passage, I only did so based on the calendar. Only when it came time to write did it become clear there was much more to these verses that met the eye.

I can only scratch the surface, today. However, I would challenge each reader, as with the other texts, to study them for yourself. The greatest riches of heaven are not usually handed over, they are wrestled from the Word. Dig, my friends, and you will be amazed at what you find.

The Oppressor

Solomon recognized that there is always the temptation to envy those in power. If honest, few would deny that they, at some point, secretly wished they could be ruler of the world. And in most cases, the wish would not be to become the most benevolent ruler in history, but a dictator.

But we should ask ourselves, what is it about the “oppressor” that we want? Power? Influence? Riches? Fame? The ability to manipulate others in order to have things our way? Why would anyone who seeks God’s will want those things?

Froward

The “froward” man could also be called “wicked” (NLT), “devious” (ESV), or “perverse” (NIV). The word here describes a man who turns away from God to do his own thing. This type of man, the oppressor, or “man of violence” (ESV), the Lord abhors. Again, why would a God-follower want to be like him?

Do you want to be happy? “Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful,” says King David (Psalm 1:1). Don’t choose the ways of the oppressor if you want to experience joy and peace.

What is it, then, that Solomon offers as an option? What can the righteous experience that the wicked cannot?

His Secret

The word translated “secret” (verse 32) comes from a word that means a couch cushion, or a triclinium (see Gesenius’s Lexicon). What is that, you ask? A triclinium was a three-sided couch on which the Greeks and Romans reclined when sharing a meal, or conducting casual conversation. It was a place symbolic of friendship, family, and intimacy. God is sickened by the perverse man, but the righteous is accepted at His personal table.

Don’t be like the man who turns from God; but be like the man who runs to Him. The result may not be the aquisition of wealth, power, and fame; but something far, far more valuable: secret, private communion with the Lord. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty” – Psalm 91:1

What on earth could compare to hearing God say, “Come here, son, recline next to me. I want to share some things with you; things meant only for you, and no one else.” The “righteous” have that privilege, not the “oppressor.”

Dear Lord, keep me focused on you, not the things of others. I long to hear you speak in a still, small voice, “Come close, my child, I have a secret for you.” Cover me in the shadow of your wings.


Be Neighborly

Proverbs 3:29

“Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.”

Neighbors

Some neighbors can be the worst examples of humanity. They know how to push your buttons, make you angry, even make your dog bark. Some neighbors have trees that were intentionally bred to shed their leaves when the wind blows in your direction. They’re evil. They even look at you through their windows.

Then again, there are other neighbors who respect your privacy. They watch your house when you’re gone, bring you breakfast in bed, and loan you tools, never expecting to see them again. They’re great. You envy them.

Unless you are one of the few who still live in the wilderness and and drive five miles to collect your mail, you probably have neighbors. And if your neighbors have been around a few generations, they’re not going anywhere, so why be mean to them?

What goes around…

You have probably heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around.” It’s not karma, or fate; it’s common sense. It is a statement born out of experience. When you treat your neighbor poorly, it will come back and bite you in the cul-de-sac.

That is the wisdom to be found in this verse.

When it is obvious your neighbor is settled and “dwelleth securely,” the best thing to do is make friends, or at least keep from being enemies. Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

You never know.

The neighbor you’re trying to run off today may become your in-laws, tomorrow. Solomon had a lot of experience with in-laws (but that’s another story).

Lord, help me to be mindful of the needs of my neighbors. You have put me here next to these people for a reason. May I be a witness and a shining example of what it means to be a neighbor. After all, it was You who said “love your neighbor as yourself.” 


Focus!

Proverbs 3:21-23

“My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”

 

If we trust and obey, God will direct our path (Proverbs 3:6) into the blessings He has planned for us. We have seen over the past several days the different ways that God will bless us if we search and find wisdom and understanding. Today is no exception.

Stay Focused

Have you ever met one of those people who right in the middle of doing something, they remember that they have to do something else?  They drop the first to attend to the second. They then are working on the second when a third items comes to mind and then the second is dropped so the work can begin on item number three. Ever met someone like that? Well, if you have not – let me introduce myself to you! This is so me! I have to purposefully make myself stay focused or I will get side-tracked by other things.

As people born with a sinful nature, we have this same tendency. This is what Solomon is telling us, don’t take your eyes off wisdom and discretion. Stay focused and don’t wander off on things that don’t matter and won’t bring you blessings.

Prone to Wander

In keeping our eyes on wisdom, God has promised us that not only will HE gives us His providential care (walk in thy way safely) but that He will also not cause our feet to stumble.

In 1757, Robert Robinson wrote the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and one of the last stanzas in the song says the following:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

A prayer for my life is that I would constantly – and purposefully – keep my eyes focused on God. That I would not wander and take my eyes off of Him. When I do, that is when I will stumble and fall.


Good to Repeat

Proverbs 3:18

“She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

I feel like I keep repeating myself, but it seems that that is a good thing. How many times did God tell the Israelites to repent? How many times did John the Baptist and Jesus tell people to repent? How many times did Jesus say “follow me”?

Answer in all cases: A lot.

Humans seem to need a lot of repeating to hear and then retain truth, to retain wisdom. Yet, the question remains …

How do we lay hold of wisdom?

Is it not interesting how God has told us in the Bible?

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:7

“To him that overcometh …”

How do we overcome?

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Jesus is the one who has overcome troubles, trials, pain, sin, and death. Only in Him can we overcome.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:5

Get wisdom, the Wisdom of God – Jesus Christ. Daily seek out the Lord, and you will overcome this world. Then will you have the tree of life. Then will you find happiness and joy.

Dear Lord, give us more of You. Help us to seek You and take hold daily that we might have life, that we may have You. Give us a passion for You.