LIFE ISSUES FROM PROVERBS
Life management: Building Wisdom into Your Life
Jerry A Collins
Ø What is wisdom and what difference does it make?
Ø How can I apply wisdom to my everyday life?
Ø Will wisdom make my life a
better life to live?
Everyone knows that we only get one crack at life. The world knows it because they have beer commercials that tell us we only get one chance, so live it up. The investment commercials know it too when we are told to invest wisely so we can live those latter years with the freedom to do as we wish. Funeral services are reminders of our own immortality. The Bible also knows this and in Proverbs what is immediately striking is the emphasis placed on the value of present human life and the desire to experience the fullness of its bounty. Longevity, health, meaningful work, significant human relationships, family and descendents who would continue to carry the name and memory of their loved ones into the future, love and charity, honor and respect, the important elements of a full life offered by wisdom! So Proverbs is the quest for a full and complete life as both a gift and a consequence of wisdom. Several words and synonyms used in proverbs for wisdom but most frequent occurs 45 times. Used for skill of craftsman, sailors, singers, administrators, counselors. Each are knowledgeable, experienced, efficient in their areas considered skillful—wise. In spiritual realm one who possesses wisdom is one knowledgeable and experienced in following God’s ways. So being wise is being skilled in godly living. Having God’s wisdom means having the ability to cope with life in a God-honoring way. So wisdom:
1. WISDOM INVITES US TO LEARN DISCRETION 1-5
In contrast to the adulteress in chp 7 who went out into the streets to seduce young men and destroy their lives, wisdom’s public invitation in vs 1 is like a virtuous woman. She is in the streets not with a lack of virtue like the seductress, but with sterling attributes that are open and honest not deceptive and destructive. This wisdom is calling with a loud voice. Wisdom’s call is made where she will be heard and where people cross as they travel vs 2-3. The heights, intersections, where business conducted, and the entrances are places from which wisdom calls for us. She invites all mankind—wisdom is available to everyone, everywhere vs 4. But specifically she calls to the simple or naïve and fools. The simple is one whose exposure to life and wisdom has been limited. Because of inexperience he is gullible and easily influenced. The fool is thickheaded, stubborn and shortsighted about life and the consequences to choices. So the simple needs prudence—a sensibleness in one’s approach to life. The fool is urged to discern insight and understanding. Irwin Lutzer answered at a pastors conference Q&A what was the greatest need of the church ‘it is discernment’.
2. WISDOM IS THE MOST VALUABLE THING TO HAVE
Here we are told twice to listen to and choose wisdom vs 6 & 10. Wisdom is something to be pursued and desired. Wisdom urges us to listen to it’s invitation and to receive it’s instruction. Don’t let the competition—namely the ways and wisdom of the world gain a hearing in your life. The reason we must choose wisdom is first, because what she says to us is right vs 7-9. Wisdom speaks with either the lips or mouth and when she does her words are worthy or valid things. The idea is that her words correspond to reality. There is enough sense and experience and comprehension behind her instruction that it must be heeded. There is simply no better way. Her instruction is characterized as right things, truth, righteousness, straightforward 7-9. Therefore, none of her words are crooked or twisted, or perverse. They point you in he right direction and people with insight or people who have experienced the benefits of her wisdom know this is right. People in the know find her instruction faultless. The second reason to taker her instruction is because wisdom’s greatest value vs 11. Compared to silver or choice gold or jewels, wisdom’s value exceeds all material wealth. So we should never adjust our lives toward popular opinion, not according to our society or what might make us wealthy on this side of the grave as it contradicts the wisdom of God. Rather base our walk of life on the unchanging wisdom of God written in the Word of God. The wise person will listen to what God says, have the wisdom to follow His Word, and direct their lives according to it’s instruction.
3. WISDOM INCREASES OUR QUALITY OF LIFE 12-21
16 times wisdom makes herself the focus of attention in these verses. Her presence in our lives increases the quality of our lives in a number of ways. First, wisdom keeps us away from the vices that curtail sensible and discreet living 12-13. If a person has wisdom he also has a number of other things like prudence, knowledge and discretion. Vs 13 reminds us that without these we will crash and burn. Wisdom is moral as well as mental. Fearing the Lord, the wise will hate and reject evil ways motivated by pride, arrogance, producing evil behavior and perverse talk. This kind of morality will destroy and tear down lives. Second, wisdom enables us to give counsel and sound judgment 14-16. Leaders like king, rulers, princes and nobles all benefit from wisdom in heir rule. Those who rule well and lead well do so with God’s wisdom. We long for justice and honest judgment and that only comes with wisdom. Your decision-making should always be based on your understanding of the Word of God. Third, wisdom acquires genuine honor and righteousness 17-18. Wisdom is acquired by those who love her and seek her. Remember she is also in the streets seeking you but you too must be seeking her. Wisdom is something that you pursue. The outcome is the reception of riches, honor, enduring wealth and righteousness. These riches that come are genuine not fake. They are enduring and not fleeting. Reminds me of Eph. 3:20 ‘now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…’ Wisdom will serve your life well. Godly living is the major benefit of wisdom. Fourth, wisdom gives ability to walk steadily thru life. In vs 19 wisdom’s ‘fruit’ and ‘yield’ focus attention on wisdom’s ability to produce benefits far superior to what we think things like silver and gold can. So vs 20 says that it’s ways, it’s walk, it’s paths are steady and continuous. Wisdom goes with righteousness and justice. Vs 21 tells us that one’s material substance is replenishable, keeping the treasuries full, because of the skill a wise person has to maintain it. His life path is steady, directed, focused and adequate. (1) Don’t live a life that is rash and don’t make decisions without weighing the consequences you will have to live with.
(2) If you make the pursuit of money, fame, fortune, success in business or knowledge your priority, you will become a fool. Wisdom is most valuable thing you can pursue and there is no substitute. Without it you will ruin your life.
(3) The only life well-lived is a life that has developed the skill to live godly in a godless world. This is what increases our quality of life from god’s point of view.