Wisdom speaks! Proverbs- Week 6- Day 1

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.  (7)  For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.  (8)  All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.  (9)  They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Proverbs 8:6-9 

Explanation:

One of the first questions that the reader has to ask when they come to a passage is “who is the author?” or “who is the speaker?”.  This is an important question in this passage.  The answer is found in verses 1 and 4.   The initial question is proposed in verse 1.

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 

Proverbs 8:1 

Wisdom is personified and is speaking out in these verses.  She is the narrator in this passage starting in verses 4-5.

Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.  (5)  O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 

Proverbs 8:4-5 

So when we get to today’s text, verses 6-9, we find out what wisdom is saying to us.  Wisdom claims that the content of what she proclaims are the following:

  • Excellent things– The word here, when used of people, means noble or princely.  The idea is that wisdom is speaking of things that are useful for the most noble people.
  • Right things– The word here speaks to justice and equity.  Just, fair and right things are the subject of widsom.
  • Truth-  What wisdom says fully cooresponds to reality.  Widsom does not lie.
  • Righteous-  Not only are they true in cooresponding with reality, they are also morally correct.
  • Pure- Wisdom does not speak in base or sexually immoral ways. 
  • Clear- Wisdom speaks things that are understandable.

Application:

We live in a world where there is an abundance of information, but not necessarily an abundance of truth.  We have access to an plethora of content, but we must be careful about the perverse and impure.  Much of what is proposed as “wisdom” is morally confused and difficult to understand.  There is a value therefore to wisdom as defined by God here in Proverbs.  If you search for God’s Wisdom you will find what is excellent, right, true, righteous, pure, and clear.  The ultimate source of wisdom is the Bible itself. 

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

Hebrews 4:12 

In a world where lies, impure speech, and moral confusion are the norm, wisdom is of utmost value.

Response:

Think about what you have thought about for the last few days.  Would it be described as excellent, right, true, true, righteous, pure and clear?  Is the Word of God informing your thoughts and actions?

Your Eyes and Your Heart. Proverbs- Week 4- Day 4

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  (21)  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  (22)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 

Proverbs 4:20-22 

Explanation:

Let’s remember the context of these verses.  The father continues to speak to the son, pleading with him to stay on the right paths and to avoid the evil paths of evil men. 

In these verses I want to point out three categories of terms that will help us make a right interpretation and application.

1.  Ownership words- “my” and “thine”The father uses the term “my” two times. These are possessive nouns talking about the fathers words and the fathers sayings.  He also uses the word “thine” two different times.  This term he uses in regards to his sons eyes and his sons heart.  The matter at hand is the complete ownership of the way of wisdom by the son.  The father states his ownership of the way of wisdom.  He calls them “my words” and “my sayings”.  Ownership means hearing and attending to these words. In other words, the wisdom is to be heard and to be obeyed.

2. Body Words- “eyes” and “heart”.  He points to the eyes and the heart of his son.  For the son to own his father’s words he has to take responsibility for his own eyes and his own heart.  Our eyes will see something.  Something will be in the midst of our hearts.  The father is pleading for his words and his sayings to be the object of that kind of visual, intellectual and emotional ownership.

3. Result Words- “life” and “health”.    The ownership of the way of wisdom is passed on from the Father to the son by the words and sayings kept before the son and valued internally.  When this happens the probability is “life” and “health”. Notice that the words are “life to those that find them”.  I love the idea of the picture of finding here.  The imagery is that these wise words are like treasure that has been found.  It is like the father has found a treasure that he is trying to give to his son.  He is pleading with his son to steward this treasure well because of the life and the health that the treasure can give.

Application:

To pass along the way of wisdom it takes three proactive values:

1.  It takes ownership.  If we want our kids and those we influence to follow us, we must own the direction we are taking them ourselves.  From a development perspective, you cannot truly take someone to a place that you have never been.  We must treasure the Word and the wisdom of God if we want the next generation to treasure and steward it well.

2.  It takes effort.  The hymnwriter wrote, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love.  Here’s my heart, Lord. Take and seal it.  Seal it for thy courts above.”  The father says similarly to the son “keep them in the midst of thy heart.”  We’ll read tomorrow that the out of the heart flow  the issues of life.  So many things demand attention of our eyes and affection from our hearts.  We must guard it diligently.

3.  It takes vision.  We must keep before ourselves and those we influence a vision of the results (life and health) of the way of wisdom.  We must also envision and avoid the potential consequences of the way of evil.  We get distracted and we forget.  So much is at stake.

Response:

What can you do to keep wisdom in front of your eyes and in the middle of your heart today?

Choose the way of wisdom. Proverbs- Week 4- Day 1

I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.  (12)  When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.  (13)  Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. 

Proverbs 4:11-13 

Explanation:

This passage continues the theme in proverbs of parental instruction.  Verse 1 begins the chapter with “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father…”.  So again, we get to lean in and hear this valuable fatherly instruction.

In verses 11 and 12 there are two directional words: way and paths.  Imagine with me a father and a son walking down a road.  The destination at the end of this road is life, and favor with God and man.  There are all kinds of side roads that look enticing.  There is “get rich quick lane”.  There is “promiscuous woman boulevard”.  There is “drunkenness ally”.  What the father is saying here is something like, “Notice these side roads, son?  They take you away from wisdom.  And when you get on those roads, you will fall.  There end is destruction.  These are wide lanes that are easy to get to and lead to death.  That is why you need to keep following me.  I’m showing you the “way of wisdom”.  I have led you in the “right paths”.  When you stay on these roads your way will not be “straitened” or vexed.  When you run on this road, you won’t fall.” 

In verse 13 he compels his son to “take fast hold of instruction”.  The word translated instruction can also be interpreted as correction, discipline, doctrine, or rebuke.  It may seem counter-intuitive to embrace correction and rebuke.  None of us love to be corrected.  Yet the scripture here says that “she is thy life”. 

Application:

None of us like rebuke or correction, yet when we take on this kind of instruction it can keep us from all kinds of pain.  When we follow the wisdom of those who have gone before us and avoid the wide side roads that lead to death and destruction, we will live the kinds of lives that bring God glory.

Response:

Find someone to point you in the way of wisdom today.  Are you on a bad road?  It’s time to embrace correction and rebuke.  Repent and come back down the right road.

4 Probabilities of Living Wisely- Proverbs- Week 3- Day 1

(21) My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:  (22)  So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.  (23)  Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.  (24)  When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.  (25)  Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.  (26)  For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.  

Proverbs 3:21-26

Explanation:
Solomon continues to instruct his son in the ways of wisdom and we get to listen again. As we begin verse 21, Solomon says “let not them depart from thine eyes”. To properly interpret this text we have to know what the word “them” is referencing. Let’s look at the two previous verses:

The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.  (20)  By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Pro 3:19-20 

The word “them” in verse 21 refers to “wisdom” and “understanding” in verse 19. Verse 19 and 20 tell us that God created the world using wisdom and understanding. The way the created world functions is according to wisdom and understanding.

So it is in this context that Solomon tells his son to keep a hold of wisdom and understanding. “Don’t let them go, son!”, cries the father. “Keep them in front of you”. Why? Because when we live in accordance with wisdom and understanding there are four probabilities that Solomon mentions to his son that are the result.

Probability #1- Life. (v.22a).Solomon says that the understanding and wise person has a quality of inner life. The person that lives wisely lives in alignment with what God desires. Their inner person is right with God and with others. The outer behavior is in line with their inward thought life, emotional life, and spiritual life.

Probability #2- Decoration. (v22b). Solomon says that understanding and wisdom will be “grace to thy neck”. Like a necklace adorns the wearer, so wisdom and understanding dress up the person that lives by them. They become known as people of wisdom and understanding. It becomes the visible character quality of someones life.

Probability #3- Protection. (v23-24). We should avoid thinking that wisdom and understanding are like lucky charms. They are not rabbits feet to somehow magically keep us from bad circumstances. Wisdom and understanding help us to make choices that keep us from being in trouble. They keep us from taking bad steps. They keep us from creating needless enemies, and pointless difficulties.

Probability #4- Confidence. (25-26). Wisdom and understanding help us to have a peace of mind and a lack of fear. When we have made wise decisions and trust in the Lord, He becomes our confidence. He becomes our peace of mind.

Application:
Think about these 4 probabilities. Are they characteristic of what you are experiencing in your life?

  1. Do you have an inner quality of life brought about by wise choices?
  2. Do you have an outer quality of reputation brought about by wise choices?
  3. Do you constantly reap difficulty and problems that are borne out of the results of unwise choices?
  4. Do you have an inner confidence and peace of mind because you have lived out what God has commanded and trust in him?

Response:
What is the wisest decision you can make for your life today? Decide and then act.