In search of Wisdom
Greetings precious people, I do hope that you are doing well today and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s article I would like to begin a new study entitled ‘In search of Wisdom’. We will be using the Book of Proverbs as our text.
Before we look at this book of wisdom, lets first understand what wisdom is. Webster’s dictionary defines wisdom as the quality of being wise; the power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action based on knowledge, experience, and understanding; good judgment.
There are great efforts being put forth today to gain knowledge with much success. We have increased in knowledge over the past few years than in any other time in history. Our knowledge of space, science, health, the medical field, etc. has increased exponentially. Yet ironically, we are lacking greatly when it comes to wisdom. There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is having the information and the facts, where wisdom is making the right decisions with that knowledge and using knowledge correctly.
Solomon who was king of Israel and believed to be both the wealthiest and wisest man that ever lived, wrote the Book of Proverbs. He has a great deal to say about wisdom and the benefit of having and using it in daily living.
The opposite of wisdom is foolishness and as we look at the decisions many are making today, it is easy to see the dire need we have of wisdom. The foolish decisions people are making today concerning their finances are bringing many into increasing debt. The foolish decisions people are making about sex and marriage are ruining many lives and bringing much heartache. Think of the foolish decisions people are making concerning the use of drugs and alcohol and the devastation that is caused every year as a result. We could easily go on and on but I think you get the picture. The Book of Proverbs covers all of these subjects and much more.
Lets begin with the first chapter of Proverbs. Proverbs 1:1-6, “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion-- A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.”
Notice what the first item that Solomon gives as being important, to know wisdom. This is coupled with instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, and equity. I have come to realize that I need all of this if I am going to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and of any value and purpose.
It should be understood that there are two kinds of wisdom that the Word of God, the Bible speaks of. There is the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. These two wisdoms are brought into contrast in James 3:13-18, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
The Apostle Paul also contrasts these two types of wisdom in his letter to the church at Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 3:18-21 Paul says, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness"; and again, "The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." Therefore let no one boast in men.”
And in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 we read, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD."
The wisdom of the world is a product of the heart of man. Decisions based on feelings, emotions, and sensuality will only lead to sorrow, misery, and ultimately destruction. Godly wisdom is not based on any of these, rather upon perfect knowledge, understanding, and discretion, which comes form God.
The wonderful thing about this wisdom is that God desires to give it to all that will ask. In James 1:5-8 we read, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
There are two qualifications for any that would receive Godly wisdom from above. First, as stated in the previous verses, you must ask in faith. Faith first in the Lord Jesus Christ and secondly faith in believing that He will give to you the wisdom that you ask for.
The second qualification is you must be teachable; willing to be instructed by God, for it is through instruction that this wisdom comes. Solomon addresses this in the following verses, Proverbs 1:7-9, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.”
I wonder dear one; do you realize your need for the wisdom that God gives? What wisdom are you relying upon to make the decisions that you face each day? Compare the wisdom that you are relying on with the verses that have been mentioned and honestly evaluate which wisdom it is that you are relying upon. If you find that you are relying upon the wisdom of the world, I encourage you to repent, forsake this wisdom and turn with all your heart to Jesus Christ who gives to all that ask of Him.
I also want to encourage you to begin to read the Book of Proverbs. I guarantee that if you read a chapter of Proverbs a day for a few months, you will be greatly blessed and gain much practical wisdom for your daily living.
Next time we will continue our study on wisdom and the Book of Proverbs. Until then may the Lord richly bless you beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site to read all previous articles at www.calvarychapel.org/alpine/index.htm
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine