“For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,” – Proverbs 2:6-7 (NASB)
True and Godly wisdom comes only by revelation. The words of the LORD’s mouth are contained in inspired Scripture. It is there that we can hear God speak. That is the promise we are given in the Bible, the Word of God. Through yielding to our awesome Lord God, we gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Wisdom promises us positive and moral benefits that become a shield for us. Wisdom keeps one from evil and contributes to holiness. Wisdom is a matter of our heart, and of our moral conduct, for it is not simply the acquisition of intelligence. Another promise beyond giving us wisdom, knowledge and understanding is that the LORD stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He has it in abundance and available for us when we need it and ask Him for it (James 1:5-8). The ‘upright’ identifies those who are true faith believers, who seek to know, love, and obey God. It identifies us as those who seek wisdom and instruction in order to live righteously. One verse more teaches that the only ones who can know this wisdom and experience God’s protection (Proverbs 2:8), are keepers of the covenant and promises of God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV, NASB)
We look again today at a verse we have considered in the past. It is a favorite verse for many and for many reasons. It is simple, straight to the point and a verse we can’t easily disregard. To trust in the LORD means what He has said to us is better than any conclusion from our own understanding. That’s where we start. We put our trust in God with all our heart. We turn away from our understanding as a guide when it misdirects us. What does “lean on our own understanding” mean? It’s what we do when we learn God’s will from His Word. We take it in and then refine it and revise it until we think we understand it. But we really don’t because our own understanding most times leads us astray from obedience and trust in what God wants. God’s promises can be trusted. God’s word can be acknowledged even when our own means to understand is not in agreement. God promises to make, direct and guide us on straight paths – paths to His way. They are the best and better than anything we come up with using our understanding.
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.” – Proverbs 1:5 -6 (ESV)
The book of Proverbs contains many promises given to us through the wisdom sayings of Solomon and others. Almost all of the promises found in Proverbs give us instructions “do this to receive that.” They are read as divine advice from God our Father. Today our promise is this: if we wish to be wise, we will listen and hear the truth that leads to learning. This learning leads to understanding and the all-important guidance we all need even to understand these proverbs and other sayings of the wise. We note here that the wise sometimes deliver wisdom through riddles. When (if) we understand “words of insight” (Proverbs 1:2) we will be able to understand the meaning of proverbs, parables, and the riddles of the wise. The word for “riddle” means an indirect, or puzzling statement which needs explanation. It is used of Samson’s riddle (Judges 14:12–19) and of the “hard questions” the Queen of Sheba asked of Solomon (1 Kings 10:1; 2 Chronicles. 9:1). Let’s pursue this wisdom and knowledge and not despise it – for from its attainment we gain understanding of how we are to live righteously before our Lord God.
“When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live;” – Proverbs 4:3-4 (NASB)
Remember the manner we were taught the ways of life by our parents when we were very young? Our parents taught us what they had learned from their father and mother and life experiences. In our verses today Solomon spoke of this boyhood training when his parents King David and Bathsheba would teach him. He was then their only child, though later he had three brothers. In verse four Solomon quotes his father David and will continue the quote through verse nine. Solomon is was passing the instruction he received from his father to his sons (v.1). Solomon knew the importance of the sound teaching as he had received. The admonition to let “your heart hold fast my words” might be also said as “obey my words wholeheartedly.” That is what we want our children to do when we teach them. That is what God wants us to do when He teaches us. Keeping the commandments of God and loving Him with all our heart is the way to live in righteousness before Him. When we heed this teaching and the rest of this passage, we find and receive great value in understanding and observing God’s commandments.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)
If mom told me once, she told me more than a hundred million times, “Don’t slam the screen door!” Some lessons need repetition because they are very important. Our verses today are familiar and they have wisdom and promises we need to remember. So, we return to them often. Don’t weary then of hearing Scripture quoted which you have known before. These truths need to be reviewed more than occasionally; we need to hear them often. We need to admit that we don’t have all the answers and our understanding is not enough. God knows the straight path for us and He knows the end from the beginning. He can direct us when we have decisions to make. So it’s up to us to put our trust in our loving, all-knowing God. It is risky to think our understanding is enough apart from that given to us by the Lord. It is risky messing around with any means or people who do not follow God’s way. If we turn away from evil and trust the LORD with all our heart, we will have healing and refreshment to our bones. Better than any spa visit.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7. (NASB)
We read in yesterday’s post to not consider ourselves to be wise. A wrong attitude about our own capabilities, thinking we are greater than we are, is a dangerous practice. But wisdom is honored and is a good thing. We are instructed to seek out wisdom. Wanting wisdom is good. Today we learn what the starting point of wisdom is. And, it is the acquisition of wisdom. It makes sense. Nothing can compare with wisdom and Solomon learned from his father, King David, how important it is to get wisdom. It’s so simple that we overlook the depth of this truth. With wisdom we gain more wisdom and that is the very nature of having wisdom. Seeking wisdom is the first step. With wisdom, when we find and get it, comes understanding. Understanding guides us onto the wise path that God makes straight before us. Do we ever think we know better than what we read in the Bible? Yes, we do that all the time. We resist wisdom by trying to conform it to our own reasoning instead. The danger is that our reason is built on our human nature. Remember, Eve and Adam’s reasoning was fatally flawed.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7–8. (NASB)
The two verses before today’s selection (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB) are often most familiar in the book of Proverbs. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart….” The Proverbs of King Solomon frequently offered a word of wisdom, how to be wise in our behavior, followed by the benefits that such living brings to us. Today’s promise is written that way. The wisdom is a caution for us to not be wise in our own eyes. Many promote themselves as wise, knowledgeable, experienced; as expert at whatever they want to claim. Solomon says, “No. Do not think that way. Do not perceive yourself as wise.” This does not mean we are to think of ourselves as unwise or foolish. There is something unrighteous about thinking too highly of ourselves. Solomon commands, “Fear the LORD” (hold Him in awesome regard) and reject the temptations that are evil. Turn away from such thoughts. In return we will have healing and a healthy body. We won’t be weighed down but will experience refreshment deep to our bones. Reject self conceit and evil ways, and we will be healthy. We will not be bone tired. That’s a promise from God.
– 196 –
“If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:4-5 (NASB)
Yesterday’s promise from God was what comes from fearing the LORD God – a start at knowledge and wisdom. Today’s verse tells us the promise for those who seek wisdom as if it is a precious metal. But the verses before, (Proverbs 2:1-3) give us more on how we can understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God. There are six actions that proceed seeking knowledge as if it is as precious as silver. Receive the Word of God; Treasure up God’s commandments; Open our ears to what wisdom is saying; Have a heart to receive understanding; Call out for discernment and Speak out for understanding. Effort must be expended for one to become wise. Getting wisdom involves openness, retention, hearing with the ear, applying with the heart, requesting, and diligent searching. This is the pathway to possessing understanding and finding the knowledge of God. A person who strives for wisdom will find that wisdom will enter their heart. Gaining wisdom requires diligence on our part in pursuing God’s will; yet wisdom is a gift, a promise from God. Possession of such knowledge from God results in inner joy and Godly pleasure.
– 195 –
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NASB)
A Hebrew word is used here, in the original language Proverbs were written in. The “beginning” of knowledge more literally is translated “the start.” The start of knowledge in our lives in Christ is ‘the fear of the LORD.” This kind of ‘fear’ is having ‘awesome respect and reverence’. The fools in our verse are those characterized by a slow and closed mind. They are thickheaded and stubborn and in their arrogant, coarse ways, reject God and His wisdom. One cannot gain knowledge of spiritual things unless one begins at the correct point. The word used for ‘beginning’ is also used to mean ‘the capstone’ or even ‘the essence.’ The essence of true knowledge is fearing God. Apart from Him a person is ignorant of spiritual things. In contrast, those who fear God will have wisdom and gain knowledge. It is fools who despise wisdom and discipline. They despise by trusting their own reasoning and hold in contempt, and ridicule something we experience and might make us shy of proclaiming Christ. The promise is, possessing proper fear the Lord, is to recognize God’s character and respond by revering, trusting, worshiping, obeying, and serving Him
– 194 –