Greetings, my fellow Dr Pepper drinkers. And hello to the rest of you. This is Angie and today we start a new reading plan, beginning our journey through the book of Proverbs.
Have you ever thought about how many decisions you make in a single day? Some decisions are easy and seemingly unimportant, like “what will I eat for dinner tonight?”, “which shirt will I wear to work?”, or “should I mow the yard today or tomorrow?”
Other decisions are a lot harder and the answer isn’t always clear, and sometimes the decision cares huge implications. Like a difficult decision our dear Bethel friend Gay Fitzgibbon recently had to make, when she pondered: “Should I take another round of chemo or not?” While her doctor was encouraging another round, Gay posted this comment on Facebook: “I know that Jesus will walk through this with me. He says, I will never leave you or forsake you. Love that promise. I appreciate any and all prayers that will help me make a decision based on what God wants me to do.” There was wisdom in Gay’s response, as she prayed, sought prayer, and ultimately made the decision to pursue further treatment.
Wisdom. We all need it as we grapple with every day decisions, some easy and some incredibly challenging. Wisdom holds no value if it’s not put into practice.
King David’s son, Solomon, is considered the primary author and collector of the wisdom shared in the book of Proverbs. After Solomon became king of Israel, the Lord appeared to him in a dream, asking what he desired. Solomon asked the LORD for wisdom in order to lead Israel well. That appeal alone showed incredible wisdom, and the Lord granted his request.
1 Kings chapter 4 tells us Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and his songs numbered 1,005. Verse 34 states that people and kings from all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon. This is one of the reasons why this book is important, because we're learning from one of the wisest men who ever lived. It would be like learning basketball from Michael Jordan. Solomon is the Michael Jordan of wisdom. #GOAT
Most proverbs are short, compact statements that express truths about human behavior. But as we begin to examine and digest these short, sometimes pithy statements, here are three things to consider, as noted by Pastor Claude Alexander:
1). “Proverbs are principles, not promises. Proverbs show us how things should work within God’s creation.
2). Proverbs cannot make us wise, only God can. Even though Proverbs is the book of biblical wisdom, they cannot make us wise themselves. We must rather pray for God to use His Word to make us wise, because without His illumination, these words will never change or impact our hearts.
3). Proverbs are not for day to day, to apply immediately; they require wisdom to use properly. Too many people think of Proverbs as being full of sayings that can be grabbed without context and applied to life’s various situations. In fact, Proverbs chapter 26 speaks against trying to use these wise words without wisdom.”
Many scholars believe that verse 2 of Chapter 1 is a summary statement about the entire book. As Verse 2 explains, may we "know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight."
Wisdom in verse 2 literally means skill, and specifically in this context, skill in living. Biblical wisdom means having the knowledge and skill necessary to live life in a God-honoring way, to make choices that glorify Him.
As Darryl Dash noted, “We all know people who are incredibly intelligent, but who aren't wise. They have a high IQ, but they make horrible choices in life. Then there are people who are wise. Their wisdom isn't measured necessarily by book knowledge or the ability to pass tests, but they consistently make good, Godly decisions. That's wisdom. Wisdom is simply the art of living well in God's world.”
The word “instruction” is also translated “discipline”. Sorry friends, but the majority of us are not born wise, and we often gain wisdom the hard way, through the Lord’s instruction and discipline. Knowing this, what’s the best way to read through Proverbs?
With the heart posture of a student. With the heart posture of one who desires to know and understand how to live a Godly life. Let the wise hear and increase in learning. The Michael Jordan of wisdom is beckoning us to the gym for a lesson or two. Lace up those Air Jordans and let’s roll.
One final thought: let’s also stop and pray for Gay today as she starts her chemo treatments again. May the doctors have wisdom and may she have peace and healing in the weeks ahead. Amen.