“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. (Proverbs 8:12)
Review: In your homework you were asked to identify five assurances wisdom gives us as told in Proverbs 8:6-9. Before we get into today’s lesson, let’s go back and have a look at what those assurances are.
- verse 6a: Wisdom speaks what is noble.
- verse 6b: Wisdom speaks what is right.
- verse 7: Wisdom speaks what is true.
- verse 8: Wisdom speaks what is righteous.
- verse 9: Wisdom speaks what is straightforward.
We have been studying the book of wisdom for seven chapters and eleven weeks now. Maybe this is a good place for us to evaluate where we are on the wisdom scale. When we consider the list of wisdom’s assurances, as we look at our own conduct, how do we measure up?
Based on the 5 wisdom assurances criteria, where would you rate yourself when we started the study?
Based on the 5 wisdom assurances criteria, where would you rate yourself today?
The Preeminence of Wisdom
In Proverbs 8:12-13, Wisdom defines her superior superiority in two ways. First, she describes her excellent qualities of prudence, knowledge, and discretion.
Back in chapter 1, verse 7, if you remember we were told:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”.
We don’t usually relate the word “hate” with the things of God do we? However, here we see that the fear of the LORD is hatred of evil! Have you seen the COEXIST bumper sticker? They display symbols of various religions and beliefs. They appear to encourage people to “just get along’ but the message of coexistence goes far beyond extending grace. I learned that there is even one specifically for pagan religions and that, if you want, you can design your own bumper sticker.
There are some things that just cannot co-exist. We see that illustrated in verses 13-14. Pride, arrogance, and perverted speech cannot coexist with sound wisdom, insight and strength.
John in his epistle of 1 John, gives us several examples: we cannot love the Light and walk in darkness (1 Jn. 1:5-7). We cannot love God and hate our brother (1 Jn. 1:9-11). We cannot love God and love the world (1 Jn. 2:15-16).
In other words, as followers of Christ, we can’t have it both ways; cannot live life on the fence. Joshua put it plainly when he spoke to the children of Israel.
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
Now, look at the people’s response.
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:16-18)
Just like the Israelites, we are living in a time and land of isms. And, just like them, we have to choose. In many ways, our choice should be easier because through His written word, we have the complete Wisdom of God to instruct and guide us. But in some ways, can be more difficult. As we have said in previous lessons, if we aren’t careful, if we don’t stay alert, the voice of Wisdom can be drowned out by the voice of evil.
The three verses we’ve covered today gives us a lot for us to consider so we will stop here. I had intended to cover several more passages but this lesson grew much longer than I anticipated. We will pick up in verse 15 next week and talk about the Presence of Wisdom.
Devote some time to the evaluation exercise in today’s lesson. Based on the 5 Wisdom assurances: List some specific areas/ways you see that you have grown in wisdom through our study. List some specific areas/ways you still have room to grow.
Do you think there is room for “coexistence” between Christianity and other belief systems? Why or why not?
We gave some examples from 1 John of things that cannot coexist. Search scripture and see what other verses you can find about things that cannot coexist.