Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wisdom (Part 1): Week 3, Day 3

Thanks for sticking with me in this study on wisdom.  I hope that as you have spent time reading about this topic, that you are realizing how much God can give us, if we would just ask Him!  Today we are going to APPLY Proverbs 8:1-21 to our lives.  There is so much to talk about here, I apologize in advance if I get long-winded!

This passage starts off with wisdom being personified.  For those who are far removed from high school English courses, that means that wisdom has taken on a bodily perspective.  Over the next few weeks, wisdom is going to remain in this personified form.  In other words, sometimes it seems as if we are reading about a person.  That is why we marked wisdom, including the pronouns.  We need to know exactly who - or what - we are reading about.  Do not let the personification get in the way of your understanding of this text.  We are learning about wisdom, not a person.

In this first part of this chapter, wisdom is calling out to whoever will listen to her.  She is at the city gates, at the doorways, in the walking paths - she is everywhere.  She is crying out - loudly!  This tells us that wisdom is not hard to find, not hard to gain access to.  Wisdom is available to us, we just have to make the move and ask for it.

Wisdom is speaking to several groups of people:
  1. Men (women)
  2. Sons (daughters)
  3. Naive ones
  4. Fools
No matter who you are, or what your current state is (some days I feel pretty naive), wisdom is available for you!  All of us are daughters of someone.  Wisdom is for us!  She is calling out for us, she is in our doorways, she is on the paths that we walk daily.  We need to answer her call.

Wisdom speaks about six different things:
  1. Noble things
  2. Right things
  3. Truth
  4. Righteousness
  5. Straightforward things
  6. Right things (yes, this one is listed twice.  If something is repeated in the Scripture, it is doubly important!)
I think we could spend the next hour talking about these five (six) things.  Wisdom speaks of noble things.  The definition of noble is: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.  Synonyms of noble are: righteous, virtuous, good, honorable, upright, decent, worthy, moral, ethical, reputable.  This is the type of woman I want to be!  I want people to look at me and thing that I am a moral, ethical, decent person.  I want to speak of these things.  If I have wisdom, then I can be this way.  You can, too!

Wisdom speaks of right things.  The definition of right is: morally good, justified, acceptable.  Synonyms of right are: just, fair, proper, good, upright, righteous, virtuous, moral, ethical, honorable, honest.  People with wisdom speak of things that are fair, proper, and honest.  Let's think about the word "honest".  The opposite of being honest is being untruthful.  Lying.  Spreading gossip.  Talking about people in a bad way.  How easy is it for us to get caught up in talking about things that are not good?  It is so easy!  We need to pray for wisdom, and pray that God will help us to resist the temptation to get caught up in frivolous gossip that will not help us be an honorable person.

Wisdom speaks of the truth.  This one should be easy enough, right?  Just speak the truth!  However, in our sin-filled lives, sometimes it is just "easier" to lie.  Or so we think.  We lie to cover up what we don't want others to know.  Was the thing that we did that we want covered up done in wisdom?  If so, is there a reason to have to cover it up?  We need to live in truth.  We need to be honorable in our actions so that we do not have to cover up what we have done.  We need to pray that God would guide our every action, so that everything we do will be honorable to him.  Then, we can speak the truth about the things we do.  We should not be ashamed of our actions, as long as they please the Lord.  Pray that God will guide your life so that you can speak the truth in wisdom!

Wisdom speaks of righteousness.  Righteousness is the quality of being morally right or justifiable.  Remember what the Scriptures said in Genesis 15:6, "[Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."  Habakkuk 2:4 tells us that, "the righteous shall live by his faith."  Our faith in God is counted as righteousness, and our righteousness as Christians is because of our faith.  We are saved by the grace of God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  Hang on sisters, let's get real.  Can we be morally right?  No!  We are sinners.  We could never be completely right, even if we tried as hard as we could.  We have a sin nature that we cannot get rid of.  And the payment for that sin nature is death - eternal death, eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).  However, 1 John 1:9 tells us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  So, through faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ and through confession of our sins, we can be made righteous! (Can I get an Amen, here!)  One of the greatest mysteries in the Bible is the fact that we can be saved, we can be made holy (no time to talk of that now), we can, "become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21).  And those who are wise speak of righteousness.  As daughters of God, we can know true righteousness.  We have become the righteousness of God.  What an honor, what a responsibility.  We need to pray to God for Him to give us the wisdom we need to speak of righteousness.  We need to pray that He will help us to act like we are His righteousness.  The world will know us by our fruit.  Oh sisters, let your fruit show that you are God's righteousness!

Wisdom speaks of straightforward things.  Straightforward means honest and frank.  In other words, truthful and sincere.  Are you sincere in your words and actions?  Or are you dishonest and hypocritical?  Hypocrites say one thing and do something different.  Honest people say one thing and do that one thing that they spoke of.  They are straightforward in all their ways.  People who are wise speak of, and do, straightforward things.  We need to pray for wisdom that God would help us speak and do the same things, and that those things would be honorable.

And once again, wisdom speaks of right things.  If the Scripture says it twice in a row, it is doubly important.  Sisters, if we are to be wise, we need to speak of things that are right.

Let's now spend a little bit of time talking about the "fear of the Lord" as mentioned in Proverbs 8:13.  Earlier this week we looked at Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."  In Proverbs 8, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil."  To fear the Lord is to honor and respect Him, to fully trust Him, to do as He says, etc.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  The start of gaining wisdom is to fear the Lord.  Wisdom comes from Him, so we need to honor and respect Him in order to be wise.  The fear of the Lord hates evil.  As wise women, we need to hate evil.  There is so much evil in the world around us.  Let us fear the Lord, pray for wisdom, hate evil, and pray for wisdom on how to handle the world that we live in.

In Proverbs 8:14-16, we are told nine things about wisdom:
  1. Counsel belongs to wisdom
  2. Wisdom is sound
  3. Wisdom is understanding
  4. Wisdom is power
  5. Kings reign with wisdom
  6. Rulers decree justice with wisdom
  7. Princes rule by wisdom
  8. Nobles rule by wisdom
  9. All who rightly judge do so by wisdom
Do you see, yet, what a wonderful thing wisdom is?  Do you understand the responsibility that the wise person has?  Do you see how trust and faith in God make wisdom what it is?  Do you sense the urgency to become wise?

So how do we get this thing called wisdom?  Proverbs 8:17 says, "...those who diligently seek me will find me."  James 1:5 says, "...if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God...and it will be given to him."  All we have to do is know in our hearts that we want wisdom and ask God for it.  That's it!  He will give it to us if we ask Him.  What a wonderful, powerful, amazing God we have!

One more thing that comes with having wisdom - it does not guarantee a life of monetary riches.  Our true riches are the righteousness, the justice, the love, and all the other things that we have talked about in this incredibly long blog (much love to you for sticking with me!).  Matthew 6:25-33 tells us to seek God first, seek His kingdom, seek His righteousness (there's that word again).  Everything else will come after we get our hearts and minds right.  God will supply everything that we need.  Everything.

Oh my sisters, do you see how wonderful wisdom is?  Do you sense the amazing things that can come with living a life of wisdom?  Do you understand how important it is to fear God above all else?  I hope that you do.  I hope that you didn't get bogged down in the amount of information that came from this week's passage.  Take time over the next few days to meditate on the Word of God. Pray that He will give you the wisdom to understand His Word.
To read the previous posts on Wisdom, click these links:
Week 1: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
Week 2: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
Week 3: Day 1, Day 2

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