Tag Archives: wisdom

(Ecclesiastes 5-7) Guard Your Steps

Solomon is speaking as a man who literally had an abundance of everything. The wisest, richest, most powerful, most respected, most famous person of his time had a thousand women at his beck and call, and was miserable.

His search for happiness and fulfillment apart from God could not be found no matter how hard he tried or how much money he spent. Much of the wisdom he spoke came from a dark place in his life.

That being said, there is much we can learn from the king’s experience.

Things about worship: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” (5:1) Approach God in obedience, don’t be hasty to speak, don’t promise God something you can’t fulfill.

Things about wealth: use what you have to help the poor, don’t allow gaining wealth prevent you from enjoying what you have, live a balanced life with both work and rest.

Things about wisdom: pursue it, but don’t accept everything you hear. Know the difference between wise and foolish counsel by knowing God.

Yes, Solomon was in a dark place when he wrote this book. Scripture tells us that toward the end of his life he actually began worshiping the pretend gods of his foreign wives.

Let this be a warning. And let Solomon’s experience and his questions encourage us to “guard our steps” as we approach God, as we protect our walk with our Savior. Because the further we get from Him, the darker our world becomes.

(Proverbs 1-2) Proverbs to Ponder

In the past, I have found the book of Proverbs to be a mishmash of catchy phrases. Some have challenged me in my walk with the Lord. Some make me laugh out loud. Some are hard to make sense out of, and some on the surface, are just plain wrong.

I read these two chapters today, then commentaries written by Henry, Wiersbe, MacArthur, and Wesley, and realized I’ve neglected something very important as I’ve read this collection of proverbs in the past. The crux of the matter is, if I want this book to teach me, to grow me, to change me, then I need to approach each verse keeping 1:7 in the forefront:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”

As I read these proverbs I want to focus on God and hear how they apply to my relationship with Him. Rather than trying to make sense of the words, I want to see the spiritual truth behind the words. If I look at these verses as a metaphor for my walk with the Lord, I believe I’ll find the wisdom God would give me.

I started reading about “them” today. Wise people and fools, young people, sons and parents, prostitutes, etc. It was easy to look out toward others who were foolish and think this book is about them.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”

I read these chapters again, this time understanding that, although the author is using certain people as examples, the lesson here applies to me. The “you” of it became the “me” of it; my tendency to reject my own mother’s teaching, to be enticed by the world’s attraction, to be lured by its pleasures, and to go along with Christian sounding teaching which in reality is apostasy.

I hear God warn me that if I persist in this foolishness, there will be at time when I will call out to Him, and He won’t answer. Yes, Connie. God is warning you!

I hear God challenge ME to read His Word, memorize it, trust it, listen closely and obey it. Then He will give me wisdom and knowledge, He’ll shield me, and guard my path toward Him and away from the enemy.

Wisdom will enter my heart and knowledge will delight (me).” (2:10)

So I’m ready to take on these proverbs, fearing God and asking Him to teach me. This time around I’m not just going to read them, I’m going to ponder the proverbs and apply them to my daily walk and my spiritual health and well-being. God has some wisdom to give me.

Let’s do this!

(Job 32-37) Whatever Your Age

I found myself laughing out loud today as I read these chapters in God’s Word. And every time I have that experience, it’s because I see myself in what I read. And usually, not in a good way.

I don’t know how much younger Elihu was than Job and his buddies. But is seems there were more than a few years between them because Elihu sat with them for some time without speaking, out of respect for his elders.

Now, I’m projecting here but I imagine Elihu was a typical young person. I see him rolling his eyes, shaking his head, snickering under his breath at what he perceived as ignorance in the older generation. After all, Elihu was woke. So when he got his chance, he would teach those old geezers the wisdom of youth.

“Pay attention,” he says. “I’m going to open my mouth and tell you where you are wrong.”

He then proceeds to prove he has no more understanding than the others. If you read his sermon, you’ll see him refer to himself about as often as he refers to God. Elihu isn’t hesitant about pointing out his knowledge and wisdom.

Oh, there are several times Elihu gives God a nod for giving him knowledge, and for having superior knowledge. But I see a lot of young Elihu in these chapters.

Now, before anyone thinks I am targeting millennials, let me confess I remember being young, too. I remember rolling my eyes at the things my dad would say. I mean, I’d gone to college and he didn’t. I was enlightened and he wasn’t (or so I thought).

Trust me when I say this, kids. One day you are going to be faced with the realization that you aren’t as stupid as your kids will think you are, either.

I don’t think this portion of Scripture has to be only about youth versus age. There’s a little Elihu in all of us. And it’s a sin. It was a sin when Adam and Eve thought they understood God apart from His Word, and it’s a sin today. There is no wisdom, no understanding that isn’t written in the pages of the Bible.

Now here is where I laughed out loud today. Elihu’s final words are found in verse 37:24b and they are hilarious.

(God) does not look favorably on any who are wise in heart.

Except, of course, me. Right?

Dear Elihu is condemning the very thing he himself is guilty of. But I don’t think he sees it like that. He thinks he’s pointing a finger at Job and his friends, not considering there are three fingers pointed back at him.

I hope you have knowledge of Scripture. I hope you study your Bible, memorize verses, can share the accounts of people who lived during that time. I hope you have an understanding of who God is and what His plan is according to the Words He inspired men to write down. I hope you have wisdom from above.

But let’s not think, even for a second, that any of that is our own doing. Let’s not put ourselves anywhere near the level of God. I don’t care how old you are, or how young.

It’s about God. Whatever your age.

(Job 25-28) Answers to Questions

Question: Who is the shortest person in the Bible? If you answered Zacchaeus, you would be wrong. The shortest person in the Bible is Bildad the Shuhite (shoe-height).

Groan.

Job and his friends have been talking about sin and righteousness, judgment and blessing. We know none of them have a lock on any of it. Once in awhile, though, someone will say something that resembles truth.

Like when Bildad, while comparing God’s greatness to man’s insignificance, asks the questions:

How can a human be justified before God? How can one born of woman be pure? (25:4)

The implied answer to those questions is – we can’t. You and I can’t compare our righteousness, our goodness, our love to God’s. A maggot can’t make itself pure any more than we can make ourselves pure before our holy God.

Then Job, as he has done consistently, points us to God, God’s vastness, power and perfection. We must bow to God. He doesn’t bow to us.

Yet we want to understand. We want to know what He knows.

So Job tells us, if we really want answers:

The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom. And to turn from evil is understanding. (28:28)

So many people want God to “show up,” to reveal Himself, give us a sign, change a circumstance. But God is telling us wisdom and understanding is available IF we go to Him on His terms: Fear Him, and repent of sin.

And if you go to Him on His terms, either answers will follow, or you’ll realize having the answers isn’t all that important, anyway. That’s wisdom. That’s understanding. And both are gifts from God to those who follow Him.

November 16; Wisdom From Heaven

James 1-3

I will be honest. I haven’t been watching the impeachment hearing on TV. My blood pressure has it’s limits. I don’t know on which side of the aisle you are, but I think God has something to say to all of us through James this morning.

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find discord and every evil practice. (3:16)

I guess when I try to watch the proceedings I find discord and evil practices fueled by envy and selfish ambition. Did God give James a glimpse of the USA in 2019? It seems so. But the next verse is what I want to highlight today:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (3:17)

Can you imagine the change that would come about in our country if God poured out the wisdom that comes from heaven onto Washington DC? Peace-loving? Considerate? Submissive? Merciful? Impartial? Sincere? I don’t care which side of this issue you are,  but can you say you wouldn’t want those things to be evident in all our politicians?

Let’s pray for the wisdom that comes from heaven for our political leaders. But let’s also pray the same for each of us. Our country can hardly be described as peace-loving, considerate, submissive, merciful, impartial, or sincere, can it? Can you be described in those terms? Can I?

We need the wisdom that comes from heaven.

 

May 29; The Wisdom Cycle

Proverbs 8-10

Solomon seems to talk a lot about the relationship between wisdom and righteousness. First of all, he says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Not the love of the Lord. Not doing things for the Lord. Not a cleaned up life. And not the philosophy of today which tells us love of self is the beginning of wisdom.

Fear of God.

For those people who don’t know Him, that fear ought to look like the cowering, petrified, scared to death kind of fear that ends up in the attempt to escape Him. He is THAT God.

For those who recognize that, who realize the fearfulness of God, PLUS His great sacrificial love, their’s is a fear that looks more like obedience, respect, and awe. Now that’s the beginning of wisdom!

Solomon says that kind of wisdom leads to righteous living. Righteous living is blessed by God. One of those blessings is more wisdom which leads to more righteous living, then blessings, and wisdom, etc.

The “wisdom cycle.”

It’s the never ending cycle of the sanctified life, growing  in grace and knowledge of Jesus. It’s the yieldedness that produces a vital, productive life blessed by God, and used by Him to share the wisdom with others.

Do you fear God? You should. That fear should make you want to resist Satan in every way like I talked about yesterday. Living a righteous life is blessed by God, draws us closer to Him. Living a righteous life is wisdom – with benefits.

Jumping on the “wisdom cycle” is the wise thing to do.

 

May 27; Gold, Silver, Rubies, and Wisdom

Proverbs 2-4

Yesterday I realized that Solomon’s wisdom, as extraordinary as it was, has nothing on the wisdom that is ours in the pages of God’s Word. What a privilege is ours to have access to God’s wisdom every day!

In Proverbs 3:13-15 Solomon reminds us that, like gold, silver, and precious rubies, wisdom comes from digging. He continually encourages us to “get” wisdom, or “find” wisdom. These and similar phrases tell me that just reading a few verses every day cannot produce wisdom.

In order to receive what God has available to His children, we have to ingest his Word, read it then read it again, think on it, pray about it. Understanding something requires effort.

Has anyone really ever learned a foreign language by playing a recording while they sleep? Let’s just say, I doubt it. Because if that were true, schools would be equipped with bunkbeds and earphones instead of desks and computers.

Learning takes effort. Gaining wisdom takes effort. Mining gold, silver, and rubies takes effort. And what we have in the pages of God’s Word is so much more valuable than metal and stone.

May 26; Wisdom At Our Fingertips

I Kings 10:1-13, 4:1-19, 29-34; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12; Proverbs 1

Solomon’s wisdom was legendary. People came from all over the ancient world to get a glimpse of Solomon’s wisdom, to sit at his feet and learn about the things he knew. Solomon’s wisdom came from God. And it showed.

The Queen of Sheba said, “How happy your men must be. How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom.” It would seem so, wouldn’t it? Those men and officials had easy access to the wisdom others had to travel a great distance to hear. They were privileged to be in the presence of this great wisdom, this fathomless knowledge every day.

The same wisdom that was given to Solomon has been given to us. The same God who bestowed Solomon with that amazing gift has gifted us with His Word. How happy God’s children must be, who have His own Words in a book on a stand right next to their beds. How happy God’s children must be to be able to open those precious pages any time of the day or night, and drink in God’s wisdom like those ancient kings and queens drank in Solomon’s.

Or are we? Do we truly realize what we have in the Bible? Every chapter, every verse is God-breathed, God inspired, from His heart to ours. God’s wisdom at our fingertips!

January 12; Something More

Job 27-19

Job tells his friends: “Let me tell you what I know about God. I’m going to give it to you straight, even though He’s revealed Himself to you exactly the same way He revealed Himself to me. Maybe it will put an end to this meaningless talk.” (from 27:11-12)

God is still revealing Himself to all of mankind in the same way He showed Himself to Job and his friends. A beautiful sunset is seen by millions. Winter always turns into spring, which always precedes summer, summer leads into fall, and back to winter. Year after year after year. The tiniest insects or the largest animals are all unique by species, yet uniquely similar to others within their species.

Just look around. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hand… (Psalm 19:1-6)

There are a multitude of other truths God reveals about Himself every minute of every day. Job uses mining as an example. Beneath the surface, there is treasure. It doesn’t come easy, But for those who dig for it, it is life-altering.

Yes, God reveals Himself in nature to all of us, so no one has an excuse if they refuse to acknowledge HIm. But there is so much more. And knowing God in an intimate way requires some digging.

Job calls it wisdom, understanding. “…The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (28:28)

No one, not even Job knows everything there is to know about God. William Cowper, who wrote the hymn “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood” said, “Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.” Job’s friends may have had a knowledge of God, but Job realized there was something more, something worth digging for.

Friend, are you digging? Are you reading and re-reading God’s Word? Are you praying? Do you take God with you throughout your day? Do you know Him better today than you did yesterday?

I pray so. Because whatever your relationship is with Him now – there is always something more He has in store for you

 

 

Proverbs 5-9; The Dead Are There

Oh, that all of us would read these chapters and really hear what God would have us know. Solomon, in chapter 4 verse 23 tells us to guard our hearts. In the chapters I read today he tells us how and why. It’s really important information.

Solomon calls sin an adulteress, a prostitute. He warns us to stay as far away from her as possible. As far from sin as possible.

Sin, and the champion of sin, Satan, doesn’t care about you. Sin has one goal. To destroy you. Why dabble in sin? Why take a chance with sin, Solomon seems to be asking. It will only lead to ruin.

And don’t think saying, “I’ll just try this once,” doesn’t come with serious consequences:

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? (6:27-28)

You get burned the FIRST time. EVERY sin comes with a consequence.

Solomon tells a story of a young man who lacked judgment. (What young man, or woman, doesn’t?) In Solomon’s story the young man heard a prostitute (sin) calling and went with her “like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose…” (7:22)

Dear one, it DOES matter what kind of music you listen to, the TV shows you watch, the books you read, the internet sites you visit when you think no one is looking. It DOES matter if you begin to tolerate sin in yourselves and others. You’re a fool to think none of it effects you.

Solomon talks about wisdom in chapters 8&9. If you read them, and I hope you do, I think you’ll see that is a much better way to live. “…wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Nothing you desire can compare. Nothing.

9:13-18 ends this section of Scripture with a solemn truth. Please listen to what God would say to us. Folly (foolishness) is loud, undisciplined, and looking for company. In other words, sin is looking for you.

I can’t help but think of our entertainment business. Blatant sin is lauded, and applauded, isn’t it? Here’s what Solomon says to us who watch and laugh at Modern Family and shows like it, who spend hours playing video games with graphic violence and sex, who listen to music that raps about rape and murder as though it was normal, or sings about the pleasures of adultery and drunkenness. This is what Solomon would say to anyone who thinks that sin looks fun:

(Folly) sits at the door of her house, calling out to those who pass by. She says to those who lack judgment: “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.”

Please guard your heart. Please take this seriously. Satan is seriously calling out to you because he hates you, and wants to destroy you. And he’s not stupid enough to be honest. He can make sin look and sound really good. But it’s still sin.

God is calling out to you, too. Listen to His voice. Because He loves you, He died to forgive your sins, He wants to give you life.

He’s asking you not to play around with sin. Pay attention to Him. That is wisdom.