The Path To Wisdom – Part 1

Does not wisdom call?  Does not understanding raise her voice? (Proverbs 8:1)

As promised, this week we are going to take another walk, this time down a street we will call Victory Lane.  Over the past few weeks we have discussed the perilous consequences of ignoring the voice of Wisdom;  now let’s look at the great rewards of heeding her voice.

We are going to park in Chapter 8 for a bit.  Over the next few weeks we will examine some of the many facets of wisdom and discover how wisdom and understanding will help us live a richer, more victorious and God honoring life.

In this part of our study we’re going to cover five aspects of the “call to wisdom”:

  • The pursuit
  • The preeminence
  • The presence
  • The pre-existence
  • The prediction

 

The pursuit of wisdom (verses 1-11)

Does not wisdom call?  Does not understanding raise her voice?  On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man.  O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.  Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.  All the words of my mouth are Righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.  They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.  Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Wisdom is a gift from God.  It is a gift He wants us to have; a gift He offers generously.   As evidence of that statement we go 1 Kings 3:5-12.

5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.

We see in this passage that the Lord came to Solomon and offered him a gift of his choosing (v5).  Do you think God was surprised by Solomon’s request?

Considering that God is omniscient, that He knows all things, the answer to that question would have to be “no“.

So, why did the Lord ask?  Why didn’t God just give Solomon the wisdom He wanted him to have?  Here is a thought.  Could it be that by giving Solomon the opportunity to make his request and then God’s fulfilling that request, God’s faithfulness was made evident?

True confession.  I sometimes struggle with prayer.  Sometimes I question why, since God already knows what’s in my mind and heart, do I need to pray at all?  When those kind of thoughts come, I have to remind myself, it’s not about me.  I have to remember, it is for HIS GLORY! HIS GREAT NAME!

For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. (1 Samuel 12:22)

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:10-11)

When we pursue the things of God, when we pray according to God’s perfect will, we can be certain that God will hear and answer.  Psalm 17:6 says – “I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words”.  And in Psalm 37:4 we are told – Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Look again at 1 Kings 3, verses 10 and 12.  God didn’t just grant Solomon’s petition, God took pleasure in His son and God gave beyond that which Solomon asked.  Our God is an extravagant God!

In our Proverbs reading this week we have seen that the voice of God calls out to us.  We learn that His omnipresence is our fortress, His omniscience is our shield, and His omnipotence is our strength.

The value of God’s word cannot be measured by man for it is far beyond all human understanding; no man can comprehend the goodness of God.  As we put our trust in Christ and live in obedience to His great counsel, we will grow in knowledge and understanding; we will walk joyfully in the fear of the LORD.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  “For who has known the mind of the Lord,  or who has been his counselor?”  “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)


THIS WEEK:

  1. Based on this week’s passage from Proverbs , what do we gain when we answer the call to wisdom? (verses 1-5)
  2. What are the 5 assurances we can have concerning the words of wisdom? (verses 6-9)
  3. In your own words, write a summary of the ultimate benefits of following wisdom’s instruction? (verses 10-11)
  4. Google the term “Godly Wisdom”.  From your search, choose 10 verses and note what each one teaches you about God.

READING FOR NEXT WEEK:

Proverbs 8:12-21.

 

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Two Paths – Part 1

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths

Before we begin, I need to say that this was not an easy lesson for me to write nor is it an easy lesson to receive.  But please know that it was composed from a heavy heart, with much thought and much prayer.

Throughout our study in Proverbs, we have seen that there are two opposing voices continuously at work in the heart of man: the voice of Wisdom and the voice of the fool.  Each voice will take us down a path; one path leads to joy and life, the other to suffering and destruction. It is our choice which voice and which path we will follow.

In our lesson from Proverbs, Chapters 5 and 7, we are going to look at the journey  and the resulting consequences we can expect from the choice we make.

These chapters deal directly with the sin of adultery.  In 1 Corinthians 6:13-18 Paul writes:

 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

While all sin is an offence against God, as we can see from Paul’s words, sexual sin is especially destructive to ones own body and soul and to others whose lives are affected by the adulterers sin. Solomon describes the ramifications of such sin in the final verses of Proverbs chapter 6.

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.  He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.  For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.  He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

As we consider the sin of adultery, maybe you’re saying “not me”.  But, the Bible tells us, in pretty strong terms, that there is another type of adultery – spiritual adultery.

Spiritual adultery can take several forms.

The sin of worldliness.  Jesus taught that “no man can serve two masters”. When we measure what’s right by what the world says rather than what God says, or when we compromise what we know to be truth for the sake of being accepted, isn’t that what we’re doing?

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4-5)

The sin of idolatry.  From His own words we know that God is a jealous God (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God Exodus 34:14)While we may not bow down before little images, we must be careful that we don’t let the things of this life become more important to us than the things of God. 

then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.  And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. (Ezekiel 6:9)

The sin of lust.  Jesus said: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery ’But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

Our enemy, the devil, is cunning.  Peter warns us Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

And James tells us why it is critical to be watchful as he describes just how easily our desires can become the sin of lust.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Do you find that when life is going really good you tend to grow distant from God?  It seems that when the “highway of life” is smooth, we get the idea that we can manage just fine on our own. A dear friend gave me a wonderful coffee mug with this quote: “if you only pray when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble”.  That is so true. When we think we’ve got it all together, that’s when we don’t and it is in those times that we can be most susceptible to temptations.  I love what Paul says in Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

These chapters are so rich in wisdom that I couldn’t find a way to cover it all in one lesson.  Therefore, we will continue in these same next week.


THIS WEEK:

Have you known someone who was involved in the sin of adultery? (either as the adulterer or the victim of).  List the destructive results you witnessed as a result of that sin.

Review the sins of spiritual adultery discussed in this week’s lesson.  Are there any areas  in your life that you have never considered to be spiritual adultery but now recognize as such?

I made the point that sometimes we are more distant from God when things are going good for us.  Can you remember a time when that was your experience?  If so, try to recall the circumstances and what happened that brought you back into intimacy with God.

 

NEXT WEEK:

Your reading this week will be a little different.  Please read and meditate Proverbs 7 according to the reading plan below.

  • Day 1:  Verses 1-5
  • Day 2:  Verses 6-9
  • Day 3:  Verses 10-20
  • Day 4:  Verses 21-23
  • Day 5:  Verses 24-27

 

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