Wisdom, Part 1

Keith Chandler, Journey Christian Church

I thought it might be wise with all that is going on in our country to spend some time in Proverbs looking at some of the wisdom Solomon has for us. The Bible called Solomon the wisest man who ever lived. I think we could all use more wisdom trying to navigate our way through the pressures of work, family, finances, career, and relationships.

The Bible has a word to describe the person who navigates life well. That word is “wise.” I want to take some time and talk about this much needed virtue.

A person can be knowledgeable without being wise. It’s not the goal of the Bible to teach us information so we can simply grow in knowledge. The Bible was given to us for our application. When we apply Biblical truth into our lives, we experience a transformation in our lives.

Before we begin, there’s some background you need to know. The book of Proverbs was written around 900 B.C. yet it’s filled with wisdom for our lives today. The author is primarily Solomon.

Every proverb has three distinct and vital components to it:

1. Every proverb is a timeless truth, not temporary advice.

This is something that is ongoing. It’s not a quick fix. It’s something that will continue to carry you through. Let me demonstrate how easy it is for you to remember proverbs.

I’m going to start and you finish it for me.

Look before you… A penny saved… The apple doesn’t fall far… Can’t teach an old dog…

Proverbs, whether Biblical or secular, help us for the long haul.

Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

What a timeless truth written 3,000 years ago and yet just as appropriate to us today. What if we really believed what Solomon writes? What if we actually put it into practice?

Would there be fewer arguments in our home, and less stress in our life? Would generosity come more naturally?

2. It’s a general principle, not an unconditional promise.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” KJV

Nine out of ten times that’s what will happen, but the fact that occasionally there’s an exception shows us that it is not a promise from God, it’s a principle from God.

The reason it becomes a principle is man’s free will is thrown into the mix (the person might choose to go a totally different direction than the way their parents raised them).

3. It’s specific information that has a broad application.

These principles can be taught in business settings, in budgeting sessions, in high school classrooms. Their applications stretch beyond a church setting. Each of these proverbs are morally and ethically sound. When we study these principles, they give us a glimpse of God’s character and what’s important to him.

Solomon’s words are needed today. I think it’s important that we understand how Solomon became the wisest. Israel was at its highest point of peace and economic prosperity. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” Read 1 Kings 3.

Solomon asks for wisdom, for a discerning heart. The Lord is pleased with Solomon’s request. God says, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart. But because you didn’t ask for some other things,” he said, “I’m also going to give you those things too.” He gives him a bonus because he’s so pleased with his request.
And Solomon shows his wisdom in how he governs Israel.

Solomon says the foolish person despises wisdom and instruction. A lot of us do foolish things. How many of us spend about as much as you earn, occasionally hurt someone we love, and are full of pride and slow to ask for help? If you do any of those things, the Bible says you’re foolish. Don’t be a fool—get wisdom.

Scripture says:

1. Fools act before they think.

Proverbs 13:16: “Wise people think before they act. Fools don’t—and they even brag about their foolishness.”

2. Fools spend all they earn.

Proverbs 21:20 “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has.” He eats it all, he spends it all. “But everybody else does it!” Well, everybody else is foolish.

3. Fools hurt those they love.

Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears it down.”

She belittles them, she nags, she controls. What does he do? He’s domineering and angry. The foolish one tears and hurts those they love.

4. Fools think they know it all.

Proverbs 12:15 “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.”

Scripture says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!” Wisdom is better than the most valuable thing you can get in this world. Proverbs will teach us to hunger for it.

Until next month,
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