Learning to Walk in Wisdom Before God
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Sunday, January 21, 2007 -

Today we launch into a new teaching series on the book of Proverbs. This will not be a verse by verse study in any way. Rather, we will look at the subjects covered throughout the entire book. Our list will include subjects like wisdom, foolishness, wealth and poverty, anger, friendship, family, honesty, work, rest, pride and humility, happiness and sorrow, life and death.

The book is actually put together by several authors. Of course there is Solomon, then there is Agur, the son of Jakeh (30:1), King Lemuel (31:1), and the scribes of King Hezekiah (25:1).

Here is a rough outline of the book:

*Introduction - 1:1-7
*Praise to the virtue of wisdom - 1:9-9:18
*The proverbs of Solomon - 10:1-22:16
*Words of wise men - 22:17-24:34
*Hezekiah’s collection of more of Solomon’s proverbs - 25:1-29:27
*Words of Agur - 30:1-33
*Words of King Lemuel - 31:1-9
*The excellent wife - 31:10-31

The long song of praise to the virtues of wisdom is important because it sets the tone. These blessings will never come to the casual of heart. Wisdom is always hard won. It yields its fruit to those who are the most diligent:

Proverbs 2:1-5 - “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, [2] making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; [3] yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, [4] if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, [5] then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”


We need to know because a false approach will lead to disaster - Genesis 3:4-6 - “But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. [5] For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." [6] So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

So, just to desire wisdom is not enough. The quest for wisdom must be undertaken under God’s terms. Wisdom is personally related to God by its very nature - Proverbs 9:10 - “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

a) Wisdom, in Proverbs, is first defined as understanding, or insight - Proverbs 2:2-3 - “....making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; [3] yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding....”

The essence of wisdom deals with good choices among numerous options. In other words, wisdom isn’t just related to stored facts. It knows how to use good information to make the best choice.

See also 1 Kings 3:9 - “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"

b) Wisdom is obedience to God’s laws - Proverbs 7:1-5 - “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; [2] keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; [3] bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. [4] Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend, [5] to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.”

i) The law of God is linked with the entrance of life (7:2) - “Keep my commandments and live...”

ii) Obedience to God’s laws brings light (7:2b) - “...keep my teaching as the apple of your eye.” See also Hebrews 5:11-14 - “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. [12] For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, [13] for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. [14] But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

iii) Wisdom accrues fastest when God’s laws are attached to the life permanently and intimately (7:3-5) - “Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. {4} Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your intimate friend; {5} That they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words.”

Two quick closing thoughts:

First, note the verbs indicating the permanent attachment to wisdom - “bind”, and “write.” Like putting something down in indelible ink. And it’s marking is very deeply - “on the tablets of your heart.”

Second, notice the emphasis on intimacy in this attachment to God’s laws - “You’re my sister. You’re my intimate friend.”

Jeremiah 15:16 - “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”