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 13 of the Book of Proverbs. The wisdom that is found in the Book of Proverbs is not only full of the wisdom of God but also wisdom for everyday practical living. I do hope that you have been encouraged to read this book and make application to your life.

In Proverbs 13:1 and 18 we read, “A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.” As a father, pastor, teacher, and instructor I can appreciate the value of someone that is teachable. It is a great joy to try and direct someone that is teachable (willing and ready to receive instruction) rather than a person that is stubborn and unteachable.

Proverbs 13:2-3 addresses the issue of the tongue which has been a ‘much talked about’ subject in this book. “A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” A mark of great wisdom is the ability to choose your words wisely. If a person is able to control his or her mouth they have good self-control and are considered to be wise. It is the fool that will run off at the mouth and give anyone and everyone a piece of their mind whether they can afford it or not. (Most people cannot afford to give anyone a piece of their mind for they have so little to begin with).

Now in verses 4 and 23 Solomon address laziness. “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste.” This too is a common subject that Solomon addresses in this book. Laziness has become not only an area that is made light of in our present day but also one that in gaining in popularity. Many admire those who can do as little as possible and still get more than anyone else. God’s view on laziness is clear, He hates it and it has no place in the Christian’s life.

Now in verses 5, 6, 9, 17, 21, and 25 the subject of righteousness and lying is covered. “A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. Righteousness keeps him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out. A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health. Evil pursues sinners, but to the righteous, good shall be repaid. The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.”

Lets first understand what is meant by the term righteous or righteousness. The simplest definition of these is to be right with God. Religion which is man made, tells us that in order to be right with God we must follow certain rules, practices, ceremonies, observances, etc. An example of this is seen in the attempts of the Jews of Jesus’ day as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans10: 2-5, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."

But the Word of God, the Bible tells us that we are made righteous apart from the works of the law. We read in Romans 3:21-22, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” And Philippians 3:8-9, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” And finally in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

So with all of this we see that a righteous man or woman is someone who is right with God by faith and in placing one’s trust in Christ desires to live for Christ. Part of this is taking on the mind of Christ. If God hates lying then so should the Christian. Lying is everything that is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Truth is not ‘relevant’ it is not negotiable to one’s circumstances; the truth is not ‘little white’ lies, half truths, or embellishments. It is tragic indeed how lying has become so commonplace in the world today to where when we do tell the truth people often think we are lying.

Now in verses 7, 8, and 11 Solomon talks about wealth. He certainly knew about wealth, he was the richest man in the entire world. Being the wealthiest man in the world, he also knew the limits and shortcomings of wealth. “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. The ransom of a man's life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke. Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.” These speak for themselves.

There was a time in Solomon’s life that he turned his back on God, he worshiped many gods, which are not really gods at all, but the work of men’s hands and imaginations. As a result his life was empty and void of purpose so he spent large amounts of his money in various pursuits only to come to the conclusion that all is vain. Fortunately he realized the error of his ways, repented, and turned back to the only true God.

In verses 10, 12, and 13 Solomon addresses pride, hope, and the Word of God. “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.”

Pride is the cause of most if not all of the problems we face today. Wherever there is strife and contention you will find pride at the root of the problem.

Now in verses 14-16, 19-20, and 22 Solomon speaks of the blessings of wisdom verses the shortcomings of foolishness. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death. Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard. Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.

A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”

One of the marks of a wise person is that they value the Word of God and give it a prominent place in their life. The Psalmist says “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a lamp unto my path.” The fool despises the Word of God and thinks of it as unnecessary. A king by the name of Saul illustrates this truth well. In 1 Samuel 15:26 we read, “But Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel."

Finally Solomon addresses the subject of child discipline in verse 24. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” There are numerous and conflicting ideas on raising children today. Unfortunately the majority of them are opposed to what the Bible has to say. It should not be any wonder to anyone why we are in the mess today when we refuse to follow God’s Word time and time again.

The One who made you and knows what is best for us has given us the Bible, God’s instruction book on life and living. It would do us all good to begin to follow His instructions. Next time we will continue to go through the Book of Proverbs as we search for wisdom. Until then may the Lord richly 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 ccalpine@juno.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