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. We are presently going through the Book of Proverbs as we are studying the subject of wisdom. Last time we looked at the value of wisdom and the blessings that comes to those that practice wisdom in their everyday life.
Today as we continue in Chapter 3 of Proverbs, we see a very practical side of wisdom, in particular how to treat others. In Proverbs 3:27-35 we read, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you. Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety's sake.”
Here we have the very simple rules of kindness and courtesy. Jesus would sum it up this way in the New Testament, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Some people have made up their own version of this and say, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” This of course is not what the Bible teaches.
Jesus would tell us through a parable (a parable is a easy to understand story, not necessarily an actual story though true to life, with a heavenly meaning) the meaning of doing well to others. In Luke 10:25-37 we read of a man that wanted to justify himself before God, and Jesus exposes him for what he really is while giving instruction on how to treat others. “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" So he answered and said, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' " And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
In answering the question of the self-righteous person, Jesus uses a person (a Samaritan) who showed kindness to another (a Jew) who had been ill-treated and left for dead. The Jews hated and despised the Samaritans and wanted nothing to do with them. Yet here was someone that was hated by the Jews, showing kindness to a Jew. This act of kindness is magnified even more as we see the response of the “religious leaders” a priest and a Levite who would have nothing to do with their fellow Jew.
Jesus would have those that call themselves Christians simply do what is right and kind whenever we have the opportunity and to whomever the person may be. Sadly to say that there is prejudices among some Christians. There are those that are prejudice against people of other color and race. This is sin and needs to be repented of by anyone that calls himself or herself a Christian.
As we continue in Proverbs 3, we see more common sense wisdom revealed to us in “Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.” How foolish it is to get into an argument with someone just for the sake of arguing. This happens all too often today by an increasing number of people. It is a mark of foolishness.
Then Solomon warns, “Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, but His secret counsel is with the upright.” Here we have sound wisdom that is seldom followed in our day, in fact the opposite is often practiced.
Think of the admiration and envy that is given to various leaders of countries that have been oppressors of their own people. Men like Fidel Castro of Cuba. I am amazed every time I hear of a Hollywood star or other person of notoriety that has gone to Cuba and met with this man and has nothing but good things to say about him. How foolish and ignorant people can be. They do not realize that he and others like him arrived at the place of power and retain their position by oppressing the very people they had previously promised freedom to.
Today we are seeing the fulfillment of the words spoken of Isaiah the Prophet nearly 2700 years ago. In Isaiah 5:20-23 we read, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!”
It is truly a tragic thing to watch the fulfillment of these verses come to pass in our own country. Even more tragic is to see the growing number of youth that admire and seek to emulate those that get ahead in this world through oppressing others. It reveals the foolish direction we have taken as a nation.
Finally we see the contrast that Solomon makes of the way of the fool verses the way of the wise. “The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just. Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools.”
Look at the rich inheritance of the wise verse that of the fool. The wise, they who practice godly wisdom, inherit blessings of the Lord, grace, and glory. The fool inherits curses, scorn, and shame.
What will your choice be? Know this, though God wants you to choose wisdom and blessing, He will not force you. God created you a free-will being. You have the freedom of choice. As God has said to His people over the centuries, He says the same to you and I today. You have both blessings and curses before you; choose you this day whom you will serve. You must make the choice; I do hope that you will make the right choice dear one.
Next time we will continue our study on the subject of wisdom as we go through 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