“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,” – Proverbs 3:13 (ESV)
Our promise in this verse from Proverbs 3 is for a blessing or to be blessed. Often the word ‘happy’ is used as a synonym for ‘blessed. By understanding that ‘blessedness’ is a mark of supreme and perfect happiness, then this interpretation should fit. Seeking to be blessed is a good desire and action. We caution to not understand this ‘happiness’ the same as the what our world seems to offer up when a person is said to be happy. Such happiness is often the result of self-centered motivation. Blessed is deeper and much more rewarding. Who it is that receives this promise in fullness? It’s the ones who ‘find’ wisdom. It’s not an accidental or chance finding such as when we find money on the sidewalk. The greater meaning of the Hebrew word for find has the sense of ‘reaches’ what one wants through purposeful ‘seeking.’ The reward of blessing is ours by acquiring the understanding of the wisdom we seek. Of course we seek to find wisdom because we need the understanding and we ‘get’ or ‘draw out’ by digging for that understanding. We are blessed with the result of our search.
“But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” – Matthew 22:29-30 (NASB)
For certain, those opposed to Jesus of Nazareth were so because He challenged their errant presumptions. It was some Sadducees intending to trip Jesus up asked him the question about cultural practice of a younger brother marring the wife of an older brother who dies childless. The trap instead was set for them because they didn’t acknowledge the truth of resurrection or supernatural happenings. Evil practices were considered good by those who misinterpreted Scripture leading many down the wrong path. Yesterday we considered the importance of knowing the right path through discernment and finding the path God has for us. These Jewish leaders used a strawman argument that Jesus dismantled with the truth of resurrection life. It’s dangerous to presume that there can be agreement over a disagreement on Biblical truth. How often do we say or hear this? “That’s my interpretation of what the Bible says.” Then the response; “Well I hold a different interpretation.” The surest way to the wrong path is to believe in the value of private interpretations which are essentially opinions based on one’s feelings. The Bible teaches us what God wants us to believe and it’s equally good for every believer.
“When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.” – Proverbs 28:2 (ESV)
Another promise that warns of bad actions. This is meant for the land or country ruled by unrighteous leaders. Unrighteousness in a nation produces political instability, with many vying for power. The tenure of each leader is shortened. But wisdom promotes social order and long rule. Poor leadership creates instability on a national level. This is not only true in the current state of most countries today but it has been true over the centuries before and since these proverbs were written. Avarice leads to greed for power and control. False promises abound to the point that the people of a land cease to trust what their leadership says. Does any of this sound familiar these days? There is a promise that is good and true in the second part of the proverb. We can acknowledge God’s hand in the perpetuation of the state led by men of understanding and knowledge. The long and prosperous reigns of the kings of Judah – the Southern Kingdom are strongly contrasted with the records of Israel after the ten tribes split and formed the Northern Kingdom where not a single king is called Good.
“Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, but in the hearts of fools it is made known.” – Proverbs 14:33 (NASB)
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly. ” – Proverbs 15:2 (NASB)
The lessons we learn from Proverbs are found more than once. Today we look at two verses that teach us the same truth. Those with understanding hold on carefully to the wisdom they learn. Often does the wise man show the blessing of wisdom on the lips. Here we trace it to its home. It flows from the head, and rests in the heart. But there is another fountain always bubbling up. The fool’s multitude of words, selfish indulgence, uncontrolled passions, make manifest what is in the midst of him. In our second verse from Proverbs chapter 15, We see the he wise commands and has control of his tongue. The fool does not for his tongue commands him. Those without wisdom may have a mass of knowledge in their possession. But lacking the inner sense to know how to use it, its knowledge runs to waste. Wisdom is proved, not by the considerable possession of knowledge, but by its right application. Let’s be careful with what we say, making sure we say it with the help of God’s Spirit and with love and kindness.
Today’s blog was posted late – delay due to illness. Our apologies are offered for missing the schedule.
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you…
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, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” – Proverbs 2:1, 6-8 (ESV)
The book of Proverbs came about in different ways. King Solomon, is called the wisest person and he ruled Israel from 971–931 B.C. He was granted great wisdom by God (see 1Kings 4:29–34). He authored the instructive sections found in chapters. 1–9. It is in this section Solomon addresses his son about what chiefly speaks to the conduct of early life. The importance of knowing and possessing the wisdom God gives is emphasized. It is the wisdom we received from God that we need and want. Wisdom is believing the words of God’s mouth which are revealed in Scripture. We can trust His words because when God speaks He promises. We are promised wisdom will be given from the Lord for He gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. The upright are promised this wisdom. The upright identifies those who are true believers. God stores up sound wisdom as He is the source. True believers – covenant seekers – seek to know, love, obey God and to live righteously. Covenant keepers alone know this wisdom and experience God’s protection. For us who are true believers God promises to be our shield and to guard our paths as He watches over us.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12 (ESV)
Some may consider the words “we have received…” to refer to the apostles and other writers of the Word of God. That is so but not exclusively. The is the promise made first to the disciples which would enable them exclusively to write the inspired words of God. But also to help all who believe and receive to understand the written inspired word of God. We know that when a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, the Lord sends His Holy Spirit to live in that person. We also know that the Holy Spirit brings much into our lives. One of His functions is mentioned today in our selected verse. God knows that we are naturally very earthly minded. On our own we do not understand God very well. Nor do we understand the wonderful advantages of being children of God. We don’t know the wonderful benefits God has provided for us. That’s one of the reasons why we need divine help in knowing what is available to us as we trust. Let’s be sure that our hearts and minds are open to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us about this every day.
“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.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Are these familiar words to you? They may be just the promise we need to hear these days. Because we all face uncertainty and trying times, because we all can find ways to be upset inside because of outside turmoil. When things are not as they should be, at least in our own understanding, peace escapes us. We believe that we all need to be reminded often of these promises. But first, let us understand what this promise of peace is promising perfect peace. Perfect peace may not be just the absence of turmoil. Perfect peace can be ours in the midst of upsetting challenges. Perfect peace is complete, genuine, inner tranquility which we find when we trust the word of God. There are so many influences and distractions in this world to interrupt our thinking and to disturb our peace. Remember, who is it that benefits from God’s peace? It is the person who trusts in God because those who trust in God focus their thinking on God’s faithfulness and this gives their minds a real steadfastness. Steady thinking is really a part of real peace. Let’s keep our minds steady today, trusting the Lord.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,…” – Colossians 1:9 (ESV)
Paul the Apostle was a man of prayer and filled with love for those who had come to know the saving faith of Jesus through his ministry. One of the servant messengers had brought to Paul a good report. This is Epaphras (Epaphroditus), Likely the same one who carried messages and support to Paul from the believers in Philippi (Philippians 4:18). Because of this good report of them from Epaphras, he continued to pray for them. Paul’s ceaseless prayer does not mean that he prayed without ever stopping but that he never forgot to pray for them when he regularly prayed each day. Paul’s primary petition was that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will. There are two key words, “fill” and “knowledge” which Paul used. The first suggests a filling out to entirety, and the latter is a full, deep understanding. Knowledge of this kind, and of God’s will, does not come from a natural or fleshly mind, but from the Word of God through the Holy Spirit who, dwelling in us enlightens our spirit. That is our promise ⸺spiritual wisdom from the Holy Spirit.