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. By the time you read this article, I will be on my way to China and Inner Mongolia to teach groups of pastors and Christian workers how to study and teach the Bible inductively. I do hope that you take a moment and pray for me and the dear brothers and sisters that I will be ministering to in China.
Over the past few weeks we have been studying the subject of wisdom. There are basically two types of wisdom. There is the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. The wisdom of the world is foolishness and leads to destruction. The wisdom of God is the ability of taking knowledge and using it correctly, which leads to life. We have been using the Book of Proverbs as our text for these studies and will continue to do so today.
Today we will be looking at Proverbs 3 to glean the jewels of wisdom from it. Proverbs 3 reads like a letter written to a son from a father that loves his son very much and wants to prevent his son from making many foolish decisions that will only cause great sorrow and hurt. Unfortunately, this kind of loving conversation is not heard too often in homes in our countries today, for the simple reasons that in many homes there is no father present, and in the homes where the father (real or stepfather) is present, there is little to no communication that takes place between son and father. Statistics show that the average time spent together between son and father is 3-5 minutes a day. It should be no wonder with statistics like these that our country is in the mess that it is today.
In Proverbs 3:1-4 we read, “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.”
The focus of the first four verses is knowing and obeying the Word of God. The Psalmist would say this about the value of having God’s Word to lead and guide us. In Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The person who rejects God’s Word and refuses to live by it is in darkness and a fool.
The blessings of living by God’s Word are many and varied. Some are mentioned in our text, that of length of days and peace along with favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather be around someone that is doing what is right, being merciful and honest rather than someone that is unkind, wicked and a liar?
Solomon goes on to say in Proverbs 3:5-10, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
It is all-important to realize the significance to which Solomon begins this section with ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart’. To obey the Lord in this day and any day for that matter, is to go against the norm and has never been popular with the multitude. The world is living in rebellion against God and hates it when anyone decides to do otherwise. For the person that would choose to walk in the light of God’s Word calls for faith, trust in God and what He has said in His Word the Bible.
The very character of God commands our trusting Him with all of our heart. There is no one or nothing more worthy of our trust than God Almighty for He has promised us in His Word to take care of us and meet all of our needs.
Take note of the promises that are given in these verses. Such promises as, God directing your paths, health, a good life, and abundance. These promises as well as all of God’s promises are conditional. Do not confuse the promises of God being conditional with the love of God, which is not conditional at all. The love of God has no conditions attached to it at all, God loves you whether you love Him or not. His promises on the other hand are all conditional.
The promises previously mentioned of God directing your paths, health, a good life, and abundance has specific conditions attached to them. The conditions of trusting in the Lord with all of your heart, not leaning on your own understanding, acknowledging Him in all of your ways, not being wise in your own eyes, fearing the Lord, and honoring the Lord with the firstfruits of all your increase. When these conditions are met, the promises follow.
The final two verses that we will look at today are Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Here Solomon addresses the subjects of correction and discipline. Once again we find these two areas greatly lacking in the home today or often when they do exist, they are administered inconsistently and incorrectly. We are not talking about severe beatings and the cases of child abuse that seem to be reported in our news everyday. One of the unfortunate effects that such cases have on people is to forsake any kind of correction and discipline in the home.
Here Solomon likens the discipline and correction that the Lord administers to His people to that of a loving father. The author of the Book of Hebrews uses these verses to encourage the Christians of the day to have the proper perspective on the correction and discipline that God uses on His children.
In Hebrews 12:5-11, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you, as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Notice the desired end of God’s discipline of His children, “the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” God’s Word, the Bible, makes it clear that the thoughts that God has toward His children are not evil but good and a desired end for us. It is true that at times of experiencing the correction and discipline that God brings into our lives, that we can become discouraged and want to remove ourselves from under His hand. But this would not be wise, rather it would be foolish. The wise person submits himself or herself to the loving discipline of the Lord realizing that it is all for our good and God’s glory.
Maybe you are experiencing a time in your life right now where God is dealing with you in an area or two of your life. You have become discouraged and want to give up and quit the race. I want to encourage you to take courage; God loves you and is working in your life to bring you closer to Him and to make you more like His son Jesus Christ. Don’t quit, rather that which we are admonished to do by the author of Hebrews, Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
On the other hand, if you are reading this and living in sin, contrary to what the Word of God says, and are experiencing no discipline or correction from God, yet consider yourself to be a Christian, then you better seriously question who it is that you belong to. For if you are living in sin and not experiencing God’s correction then it is a good possibility, as the Scriptures have said, you probably do not belong to Him.
Next time we will continue our study on Wisdom, 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 email@example.com 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