February 22, 2023
Thank you for praying for revival among us and for our prodigals.
There is no wiser practice that a believer can engage in than praying to God. It requires humility. It reflects dependency. And, best of all, it enables communion.
The book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom. Most were written by Solomon (1:1), some by Agur (30:1), and a few by King Lemuel and his mother (31:1). Scholars suggest that some of them are anonymous.
According to J. Sidlow Baxter, “The English word ‘proverb’ means a brief saying in the stead of many words (pro = for; verba = words). In popular usage it signifies any pithy, sententious saying or terse maxim. The Hebrew word, however, which we translate as ‘proverbs’ (mishle) has a much wider meaning, and is used in many discourses, sentences, and expressions which would be classed as proverbs in English today.”
The word “wisdom” or “wise” is used many times throughout the book, and so it would be beneficial to consider some of them.
Chapter 1 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy one is insight.”
What is the fear of the Lord? This question could easily be a full devotional for another time, but suffice it to say, it is a deep awe, respect, and reverence for who God is (His greatness, power, majesty, and holiness), which is manifested in our obedience to Him through faith.
The more we know God and stand in awe of who our God is, the wiser we will become in our daily behavior.
Wisdom is needed in our speech. Scattered throughout the book are golden nuggets that remind us of the power of our tongue and the impact it can have. This is true in both positive and negative ways.
It was Jesus who said that it is from the abundance of heart the mouth speaks. “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off” (Proverbs 10:31). This may sound harsh, but the writer is saying that at the end of the day wisdom will prevail over foolishness.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).
Of the virtuous woman it says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). Wisdom and kind words go hand in hand.
Our relationships also require wisdom. The book of Proverbs is full of advice for our daily interactions with others. Whether it is wife and husband, friend and enemy, employer and employee, or parent and child, wisdom is needed.
Solomon says, “My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding” (Proverbs 5:1). When the years of life experience have led to maturity of character, a father or mother can impart wisdom that will preserve a listening child from a lot of hardship and danger.
“A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1).
This verse leads into the wisdom required in moral matters. Solomon was certainly not a good example later in life in his interactions with women, but the words that follow Proverbs 5:1 remind us that impure, illicit behavior will lead to death and destruction.
Be wise when it comes to sex. The whole of Chapter 7 deals with this issue. “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words” (Proverbs 7:4-5). There is a world out there that has gone crazy, that has no values when it comes to sexual behavior. Use wisdom to keep yourself from the attraction and pull of sinful behavior. God has a plan, and it is called marriage. Build into it and enjoy the fullness of it.
Wisdom speaks into our work habits, directing our attention to the animal kingdom. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).
Later in the book of Proverbs it says, “Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces” (Proverbs 30:24-28). As humans, we can learn many things from these little creatures, one of which is the importance of planning for the future. This could include things like finances or the salvation of your soul.
In bringing this article to a close, it is important to know that wisdom is essential for character building. One such area is that of humility. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). There is no example as precious as Jesus.
The value of wisdom, the true genius of wisdom, cannot be measured in earthly wealth. Solomon says, “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” (Proverbs 8:10-11).
May God help us to seek out wisdom from above!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel