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 our search for wisdom, we come to Chapter 8 of the Book of Proverbs. As we continue now our study of In search of Wisdom, we find ourselves in the Book of Proverbs chapter 9. Much like the previous chapter, the author king Solomon personifies wisdom. He does so to make a contrast between wisdom and foolishness. The first half of the chapter is spent looking at wisdom, while the second portrays foolishness.
Here is the first part of chapter 9. “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, she has also furnished her table. She has sent out her maidens, she cries out from the highest places of the city, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.”
In this section we see wisdom is portrayed as being busy about what needs to be done. Unlike the foolish sluggard who says to himself “Oh maybe tomorrow I will do what needs to be done” of course we all know where that mentality will get us, things will never get finished.
Like the personification of wisdom in the first few verses, God has also prepared wisdom to all that would turn to Him and ask for wisdom from above. God too is calling out for any that would listen to come to Him and receive godly wisdom. I think it would be good at this time to once again define what wisdom is. Wisdom is the correct use of knowledge, the use of knowledge in a way that honors and glorifies God.
All too often we see the misuse of knowledge today. We have more knowledge than any time in history, yet many of the decisions that are being made ore nothing but foolishness. Take for instance the handling of the numerous sexually transmitted diseases that are plaguing our society today. The percentage of those contracting these diseases is increasing every year, especially among our teens and now even among some pre-teens. Instead of teaching them to abstain from sexual behavior, we have people come into our school teaching them how to use contraceptives and offering them abortions without their parents knowledge.
As we continue now in Proverbs 9, we read of some very practical wisdom, "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
Over the years, I have learned by experience these verses to be very true. There are some people that are bent on doing evil and want nothing to do with doing what is right. Try as you might to offer correction or advice that will be to their benefit, they will refuse it and actually despise you for offering it. These are stubborn, prideful fools and there is no hope for them.
On the other hand, there are those who out of ignorance make the wrong decisions and when offered correction and direction in the right way, will receive it with gladness. These though, seeming few in number, are teachable and wise and upon receiving instruction will be wiser still.
Now as we continue in Proverbs 9, we come to some of the most important verses in the Book of Proverbs. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me (wisdom) your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone."
The ‘Fear of the Lord’ is foundational to understanding and possessing wisdom. It is vital to understand why such importance is placed upon the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord and wisdom from above go hand in hand. One is the result or by product of the other. We have read that, ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
There are many misunderstandings when it comes to what the ‘Fear of the Lord’ is. The fear of the Lord is to have a reverential awe and respect of God. It includes but is not limited to truly believing that God will do exactly what He has said He will do. This includes both the longed for promises as well as the not so longed for promises of God. For example, the Apostle Paul warns in Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
It is interesting how large numbers of Christians claim and believe the “positive” promises but ignore and disbelieve the “negative” promises of God. These are, as Paul would tell us, ‘deceived’. Many are foolish to think that they can sow to their flesh, (live contrary to the Word of God) and not reap any consequences. God speaks to the contrary. If and when a Christian lives contrary to the Word of God, there will be consequences, undesirable fruit will crop up. The Bible is full of examples to this end. Such examples as the life of David. King David as you know got involved with a woman named Bathsheba and had a child. Bathsheba was not David’s wife when this happened, the Bible calls this adultery. The undesirable fruit from this adulterous relationship was a child, the child died, David was chastened by the Lord, and worst of all was that his actions gave those that hated God an occasion to blaspheme God.
A true fear of the Lord knows that God will do exactly what He has said He will do whether it be blessing or cursing. And this fear of the Lord will keep a person from sin. It is the fool who lives his life foolishly thinking that they can live their life in contradiction to the Word of God and suffer no harm.
For the person who has the correct understanding of the ‘Fear of the Lord’ they have both wisdom and long life. Not just long life but a good satisfying life.
Let me ask you, which best describes your life? Do you have the fear of the Lord in your life or do you not? How are you living your life? Are you living your life believing God will do exactly as He said He would, whether good or bad (as you may see it) or are you living as though God will only act upon some of the things that you do? If it is the latter, you are doing it unto your own destruction and I encourage you to repent and start living for the Lord.
Now lets look at the remaining verses of Proverbs 9. “A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, and knows nothing. For she sits at the door of her house, on a seat by the highest places of the city, To call to those who pass by, who go straight on their way: "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here"; and as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.”
Here a real contrast is given to us. Wisdom cries out for all to hear and follow and receive life with meaning and purpose and everlasting life, while foolishness also cries out for followers promising great thing but delivering death and hell.
The choice is yours; I do hope that you will choose the path of the wise. As we continue next time, we will be looking at Proverbs 10, until then may the Lord bless you beloved of the Lord.
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