Wisdom’s Value

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Proverbs

Proverbs 1-2, “Wisdom’s Value”

Want wisdom?  James tells us that if any man lacks wisdom, we are to ask of God who gives liberally & without reproach (Jas 1:5).  We pray, seeking God’s face through faith, and we can be sure that He will guide us into the wise paths to take.  Of course, one of the ways God does this is by taking us back to His word – and much of His wisdom is recorded for us in the book of Proverbs.  Wisdom is the central theme of Proverbs – wisdom is extolled – wisdom is shown to be sought after and desired.  God wants His people to be wise, and He doesn’t leave us alone to guess at what wisdom is.  He tells us very clearly what a Godly mature wise man or woman looks like, and we need look no further than the pages of Proverbs.

Proverbs is unique in the Scriptures due to its format.  Apart from the introduction ranging into the first 9 chapters, and the concluding chapter (an acrostic of the virtuous woman), there’s not really a flow to the book.  In the historical books, we read narratives that were laid out for us.  In Job, we read an epic poem describing the suffering and thoughts of a particular person.  The psalms gave us 150 different songs, but each song was complete in and of itself.  The proverbs give us much wisdom, but little organization.  After the initial 9 chapters, we range into a myriad of topics, all given to us in pithy phrases, with little discernible pattern.

Which begs the question: how can something so unorganized be of any value?  Because it is the wisdom of God!  Proverbs is an extremely practical book.  Whereas in the Psalms, our hearts were engaged as we extolled the infinite virtues of God, the book of Proverbs engage our hands, helping us put all of this theological truth into practice.  It can be too easy for people (especially in American evangelicalism) to study about God, yet to live without much application of what God has taught us.  For instance, we can rejoice that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus!  How does that make us a better worker at the job?  We know and love our Heavenly Father!  But knowing God’s love for us, how are we supposed to parent our own children?  We can rejoice that we have been purchased with the blood of the Son of God!  Yet how are we supposed to use our own finances and resources we have been entrusted with?  These are all topics that the book of Proverbs addresses.  Are the topical arrangements a bit random to our eyes?  Perhaps – but yet, extremely valuable to us.  Will some of the issues be repeated several times?  Yes – but repetition is one of the best teachers.  To engage in a study of the proverbs is one of the best methods possible to understand how to put our faith into action.

Author?  Solomon, mostly.  There are some sections in which the author is unclear, and there are later chapters that claim to have been written by Solomon, yet compiled during the days of Hezekiah.  The last few chapters distinctly claim different authors, most likely Gentile kings (though they have a great familiarity with the One True God).  Solomon is said to have written over 3000 proverbs, yet only a small percentage of those are collected in the book.  As a young king, Solomon had prayed to God for wisdom, and God made him the wisest person alive – making him an ideal candidate to write a book such as this.  (The tragedy was that Solomon did not apply all of his wisdom, and much of his disappointment is recorded in Ecclesiastes.)

The book begins with a brief introduction, and then launches into the idea of the value of wisdom.  We only apply that which we value.  That is to say, we only do things in which we personally understand the value of doing them.  For instance, we obey the speed limit because we value safety and not receiving a ticket.  Likewise with the wisdom of God.  If we’re going to put it into practice, we need to understand its value to us.  And that’s how Solomon begins the book.

Proverbs 1
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; 4 To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion—

  1. Right out the outset, the purpose of the book is given.  This book has an agenda: to impart wisdom to the reader.  Many of the terms Solomon uses overlap with one another – which is to be expected.  As with the book of Psalms, Proverbs is written in a Hebrew poetic format, using much parallelism.  English poetry rhymes in sound; Hebrew poetry rhymes in thought.  Ideas are compared, contrasted, expanded upon, and more as the author communicates with the reader.  There are some slight distinctions between the various words used here:
    1. Wisdom”: Used almost 40 times in the book, this is the word that refers to skill & wit.  This is knowing what to do and knowing how to do it.
    2. Instruction”: The idea is one of reproof.  HCSB & NIV translate this as “discipline.”  God not only wants us to know what to do, He wants us to know what NOT to do.
    3. Words of understanding”: Have you ever repeated a phrase without truly understanding what it means?  God wants you to have true insight into His instruction…He wants you to understand it beyond mere repetition.
    4. Instruction of wisdom”: This word for wisdom is actually different than in verse 2.  ESV translates this “instruction in wise dealing,” NASB has “instruction in wise behavior.”  Whereas the wisdom in vs. 2 deals more with the mind, the wisdom in vs. 3 deals more with behavior.
    5. Justice”: Many translations render this as “righteousness.”  The book of Proverbs deal much with our moral character.  How does a mature, Godly person act?  He acts righteously towards his neighbor.
    6. Judgment”: This seems to be more of a judicial concept – which fits in perfectly with Proverbs, written by a king to future kings.  There is much within the book regarding how a Godly king is supposed to act.  Of course, none of us are kings today, but we will share in Jesus’ rule over His kingdom during the Millennium.  It would behoove us pay attention to what God expects of His stewards!
    7. Equity”: It’s a proverb in itself to observe that “life isn’t fair,” but that being the case, God still wants His people to act in fairness & do what is right.
    8. Prudence”: KJV translates this as “subtilty,” but that can have a rather negative connotation today.  It might be best to think of this as a synonym for wisdom.  Specifically, the idea is to impart this prudence to the naïve, or simple.  To those who would not otherwise have this kind of wisdom, God desires to give it.
    9. Knowledge”: Knowledge is knowledge. J  We (especially the young among us) need to be instructed in the difference between good & evil, between right & wrong.  Our own culture has lost our way in this area – tragically demonstrated when infanticide can be called “choice.”  We desperately need Godly knowledge!
    10. Discretion”: There are times to speak up, and there are times to remain silent.  The discreet person understands which is which.
  2. These are the things that God wants to impart to us in our reading of the book of Proverbs!  Truly this is a valuable book!

5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.

  1. The young man was gain knowledge & discretion, but the book isn’t just for the young – it’s for all of us.  Those who may already be mature can continue maturing.  Those who already possess and practice wisdom can keep learning more.  We never stop maturing – we never stop growing.  Every year is a new adventure for the believer in Jesus Christ, as we grow in our relationship with Him, learning more and more of His character and His grace.  Beware the day that you think you’ve learned it all!  It’s just an indication of how much more you need to learn.
  2. What does Solomon mean by “the words of the wise and their riddles?”  There’s value in humor, but obviously wisdom isn’t a joke.  KJV translates this as “dark sayings,” which is somewhat more of the idea.  There are some teachings that can seem rather mysterious, and it takes time for us to ponder.  God is the One who gives understanding in these things, and all we need do is ask (per Jas 1:5).

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

  1. This is where it all begins!  Of the things Solomon wanted to teach in vss. 2-4, all of them have the same starting point: “the fear of the LORD.”  Want true wisdom?  Want wisdom as the Lord desires to give to His people?  You’ve got to start with the proper fear and reverence of the Lord Himself.
  2. So what does it mean to fear the LORD?  Basically, it means to see God for who He truly is, and then act upon that belief.  Sometimes people today have a tough time with the idea of fearing God, because the Bible makes it plain that God loves us.  If God loves us, what’s there to fear?  Yes, God love us – but may we never forget who this God IS.  This is the Almighty Everlasting All-knowing Creator God.  This is the God of infinite holiness and righteousness.  This is the God who is the righteous Judge over all the earth.  This is the God who not only spoke the universe into existence, but personally knit you together in your mother’s womb.  This is the God whom you will personally face on judgment day.  This is the God who loves you with an everlasting love and freely offered you His grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ when you least deserved it.  This is a God to be feared, in a good sense.  Understanding His all-encompassing power, and His ever-restraining mercy, we are invited to come to Him and worship.  When we believe upon Him through Jesus Christ, worshipping Him – THAT is when we fear the Lord.  When we refuse to take God for granted giving Him the casual nod-of-the-head or lip-service in our prayer, that is when we fear the Lord.  When we see God like that, that is when we start to take His instruction with the utmost seriousness…thus that is the “beginning of knowledge.
  3. If that’s where wisdom and knowledge begin, the flip side is obvious: those who reject the Lord, refusing to fear and worship Him are foolish, rejecting all wisdom and instruction.  A person might be incredibly knowledgeable about his/her trade – skilled in the ways of negotiation – discerning in his/her thoughts, but if he/she rejects the Lord God, it’s all for naught.  What does a person gain if they get the whole world, yet still lose his soul?  It’s foolishness!  That’s not what God would have for you, yet that’s what many people choose for themselves.
  4. Question: does this mean that only Christians can be wise?  If we’re talking about true wisdom as God desires, yes.  Obviously there are many people who might be wise in the ways of the world.  There are multitudes of people who are nice, polite, skilled, otherwise discerning people, who do their very best to do what is good and avoid evil.  Scripture makes no pretense to the contrary.  There were times that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and King Darius of Persia did what was right and wise, despite any lack of faith they may have had in the one true God.  All of us know moral nice people who we would be happy to have for neighbors, even as we pray that they would one day come to saving faith in Christ Jesus.  BUT if we are talking about the wisdom that God desires for mankind, as His special creation – if we are talking about true wisdom as God intends to give – that can only be given to the person who rightly fears and worships the Lord.  The non-believer knows nothing about Godly wisdom because he/she does not know God.  The non-believer cannot know nor truly understand how God desires for us to live, because he/she thinks nothing of God in the first place.  To know GOD’s will for our lives – to be the people that GOD wants us to be, then we have to have a starting point of faith: we must fear the Lord God.
    1. Be challenged tonight to consider this for yourself.  Do you fear the LORD?  So many people think that they’ve got a great relationship with their generic idea of God, but in actuality they have no respect/fear/reverence for Yahweh God of Israel.  They do not follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and King, and thus they simply do not know God at all.  If that’s you, all of that can change tonight…

8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.

  1. The fear of the Lord is the starting point of wisdom & knowledge; the value of that wisdom and knowledge is beyond price – and that’s what Solomon is beginning to introduce next.  Like a beautiful decoration that is to always worn, so is wisdom to be displayed in our lives.  For Solomon, it was like a crown or a necklace – we might think of it as a wedding ring…an outward symbol always before us and others showing our trust.  We are to display Godly wisdom for all to see – not in a “showy” way, but simply in application.  Wisdom doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s never applied.
  2. Notice Solomon addresses his “son” here.  We’ll see this throughout his proverbs.  The only son we know of from the Scripture is Rehoboam – who was anything but wise!  Rehoboam despised the godly counsel of his father’s elders, and listened only to his friends regarding how he should treat the people of Israel.  As a result, this was the incident that God used to take 10 tribes from the house of David, and the kingdom was permanently split between north & south.
  3. That said, it’s quite possible that Solomon does not actually address Rehoboam here, but just uses the phrase to address whomever his students happen to be.  Solomon takes on the position of a father-figure, and his students are like his own children, taking in his instruction.

10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—

  1. Can you imagine the temptation?  The young student is walking home one day when a group approaches him and attempts to entice him into a conspiracy.  They say, “It’ll be easy money!  All we need to do is lurk here in waiting & ambush whoever comes along!”  Beyond mugging the person, the gang actually plots murder, planning to send the person down to Sheol (the grave) and take all of his/her land/possessions for themselves.
  2. The contrast with wisdom is obvious.  If someone wants to be financially prosperous, then wisdom would dictate hard work and diligence on a daily basis.  The “easy” way out would be to steal someone else’s possessions, no matter what the consequence would be to the victim.  The idea is “Who cares what they think, as long as I get rich?  After all, I’ve got it coming to me – I deserve it!”  That’s NOT the fear of the Lord!  It may be the law of the jungle, but it’s totally the opposite of what God would call us to do.  God calls us to honest living, loving our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves.  The way to prosper is not at the expense of others, no matter how tempting it might otherwise be.
  3. Question: is this only referring to theft & murder?  No.  The proverbs will use certain sins as illustrations of sin as a whole.  Theft, murder, and adultery being the common examples.  Yet the temptation to sin lies all around us in all kinds of ways.  There are those who would tempt us to gaze in pornographic lust – or to partake in excessive alcohol or drug use – or to lie and manipulate others to get what we want, etc.  Temptations take all sorts of forms.  We need to take care not to listen to the tempting voices of others, but always listen for the direction and guidance of God.

15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.

  1. The plain instruction is: don’t do it!  Don’t get caught up in the path of the wicked!  They may think they can shed the blood of others and get away with it, but in the end it is they themselves that will be caught.  Those who seek to prosper at the expense of others will find their own prosperity taken away from them.  Those who live violently will often die violently.
  2. That may be the temptation from the wicked – but there’s another voice calling to us…that of Wisdom.  See vs. 20…

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. 21 She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:

  1. The concept of wisdom is personified in these opening chapters.  She is made out to be a woman, many times contrasting with the immoral woman or woman of folly.  Undoubtedly she speaks the word of God, though scholars differ whether or not she speaks as God (perhaps the Holy Spirit).  All in all, it’s probably best simply to recognize this as a metaphorical device (observing grammar for what it is).  God the Holy Spirit chose (via Solomon) to portray wisdom as a virtuous woman, so it may be best to leave it at that without further speculation.
  2. The idea here is that wisdom “cries out” to us.  God wants us to do the right thing.  God wants us to make the right choices, and He equips us to be able to respond to the choices we’re given in right ways.  Obviously, the starting point here is faith in Christ.  Those who fear the Lord are at the beginning of knowledge & wisdom.  Now that we fear and worship the Lord, we can hear the voice of God calling out to His children, helping us discern right from wrong.  The person who is truly seeking the Lord will know when they are about to engage in sin, because the Holy Spirit within us will convict us of His truth.  1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." []  If we seek God in our temptation, He will give us the way of escape – but we must be seeking God!  If we do not, it ought not be any surprise to us when we wallow in the temptation in which we were presented.
  3. Of course, those who do not know the Lord don’t have an excuse to engage in sin, either.  They do not have the fear of the Lord in their heart, nor do they have the indwelling presence of the Spirit, but that does not mean that the witness of the wisdom of God is unavailable.  Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn 16:8).  God has written His law onto the hearts of all mankind, and they are without excuse when they sin (Rom 2:15-16).  Again, wisdom calls.  The warning is there…it’s just that the warning of wisdom is often ignored.

22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge. 23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

  1. Don’t miss the promise here.  Of course those who ignore the voice of wisdom will remain in their ignorance, but God promises something different for those who turn.  To those who repent, the personification of Wisdom promises to “pour out my spirit on you.”  IOW, those who seek the wisdom of God and act in response to the instruction of wisdom will actually FIND wisdom.  Wisdom is not some sort of elusive thing that one has to climb to the tops of the mountains in Nepal to find, or to seek it in some sort of self-actualization.  Wisdom is available for the asking!  The only requirement is that we would repent at the voice of God and respond to Him.
  2. Repentance is exactly what’s being called for here.  “Turn at my rebuke.”  Wisdom is calling out to Solomon’s son (student) to turn away from the temptation…a tender-hearted but sincere rebuke away from the sin.  The turning is the repentance.  Repentance is a change of mind, accompanied by a change of action.  Obviously, the only indication that we’ve changed the way we think about something is when we change the way we act in regards to it.  Wisdom calls for a turning.  If we’re going to follow after the voice of God, that means we must turn away from the voice of temptation to go follow after Christ. 
  3. Yet not all do so.  See vs. 24…

24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.

  1. Wisdom mocks those who mock her.  Those who plug up their ears to the counsel of God and the rebuke of the law of God written upon their heart will reap the consequences of their actions.

28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.

  1. Here it is again.  The foundation for wisdom is the fear of the LORD.  If the student truly sought the Lord God and His ways, then the student would understand wisdom and be blessed in his walk with God.  Yet if the student rejected the Lord and did whatever he wanted to do, it’s no wonder that he would not grow in Godliness and wisdom.

31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies. 32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

  1. What will the wicked experience?  The consequence of their own sin: death.  The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and the evidence of their sin is that they had turned away from God.  It is the fool’s own “complacency” which destroys him.  How so?  He is complacent towards the call of the Lord God, refusing to worship, fear, or even acknowledge the Lord AS God.  And because of that, he reaps the consequences of his actions.
  2. Yet the contrast for the wise student?  The one who hears and responds to the wise counsel of God “will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”  What a difference!  Praise God for the safety and prosperity that He brings to those who fear Him!
  3. Objection: “But there are many Christians who do not dwell in safety.  Even the original apostles were routinely persecuted, even though they rightly feared God.  How is that reconciled with Proverbs 1?”  There are a few answers to that:
    1. Proverbs are not the same thing as promises.  Proverbs are principles, general guidelines for how one should live, and what one can expect in response to wise living.  Yes, sometimes the wicked prosper – and indeed all who live godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution.  That does not negate the proverb; it just qualifies it a bit as a general principle.
    2. We also need to define what it means to be safe.  The fool would be destroyed – ultimately speaking of his/her relationship with God.  The wise student would dwell safely…with the parallel idea being that of his/her relationship with God.  This much IS a promise!  We are perfectly safe and prosperous in our relationship with the Lord as we follow His wise counsel and voice.
    3. The person who truly follows the Lord has no reason to fear, even in the midst of evil.  God is our strength and our sustenance.  Though the world may come against us, our Lord Jesus lifts us up.  Truly those who follow Christ dwell safely with Him at ALL times.

Proverbs 2
1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.

  1. Underscoring the value of wisdom.  It’s like treasure to be sought after and kept.  It’s like silver, valuable for every day.  The wisdom of God is not useless trivia; it is truly valuable and profitable to our everyday life. 
  2. Wisdom and the fear of the Lord go hand-in-hand.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (1:7), and at the same time if we seek Godly wisdom as treasure, “then you will understand the fear of the LORD.”  IOW, if you really want to know what God has for you in His word, then it’s only natural that you’re going to come to a greater understanding of God Himself.  And of course, when you start with the righteous fear of God, that’s going to drive you to His word to seek out His wisdom.  One builds off the other & continues to build us into the mature Christians that God intends for us to be.
    1. Why is it that so many Christians get stuck in a rut of immaturity (both in actions and in their faith)?  Because they’ve gotten off track.  (1) They don’t desire to seek the Lord in all of His fullness as He truly is, and/or (2) they do not place much value on what the word of God says for us.  If we want to grow in maturity, then we’ve got to get back on track!  Fear the Lord, and seek His wisdom through the word of God!

6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; 8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.

  1. The source of wisdom is the Lord Himself.  The Almighty Ever-existent God is the One from whom wisdom originates.  It’s from His mind & His mouth that “knowledge and understanding” come.  This is the first place every Christian ought to go for knowledge on how to live.  Not Oprah – not self-help books – not the counsel of people who do not know God – we ought to seek the Lord Himself. … And the good news is that we CAN!  God has repeatedly invited us to come before Him to ask for wisdom, and knowledge on how to live.  So go to Him & ask!
  2. What does the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God give?  All sorts of prosperity.  God’s word is our protection – God’s word shows us His justice – God’s word guides us in our way.  God’s word is good for everything that we need for life.  This is true regarding God’s wisdom, but specifically stated regarding His written word.  2 Timothy 3:16–17, "(16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." []  For which good works?  Every good work!  Everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3) can be found in the knowledge of God.

10 When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things,

  1. Speaking of the preserving work of the word of God – the guarding work of the wisdom of God.  When we understand the ways and the will of God, we will steer clear of evil – we will stay out of the path of the perverse man.  David wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You,” (Ps 119:11).  David understood the value of letting the wisdom of God enter deep into his heart, to change him, and give him a solid foundation in preparation for the eventual days in which he would be tempted.  Knowing the word of God helped him discern evil, and stay far from it.  When we memorize Scripture, taking the time to truly ingest it in understanding, we are fortifying ourselves against future temptations.

13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked; 15 Whose ways are crooked, And who are devious in their paths;

  1. Solomon gives a further description of the perverse man.  There’s nothing good about this person.  He left the “paths of uprightness” to seek after darkness.  He rejoices in evil, and delights in the things that grieves the heart of God.
  2. This is what the word of God will keep us from!  Not only from the perverse man, but also from the perverse woman.  See vs. 16…

16 To deliver you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words, 17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God. 18 For her house leads down to death, And her paths to the dead; 19 None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life—

  1. There is both outright evil, and more subtle temptation.  The perverse man represents the obvious wickedness; the immoral woman represents that which is more secret, yet just as insidious.  Described here as the adulterous woman who ignored her marital covenant between her & God, she desires to catch others in her net of sin & bring them down into destruction with her.
  2. Be careful not to underestimate the danger of secret sin!  It’s easy for people in the church to sound grand warnings about those who would murder, steal, and abuse others…yet at the same time go back to their homes and engage in secret immoralities.  Both open sin and secret sin lead to the same place: death.  The wisdom of God through His word would keep us from sin both open & secret…it would equip us to deal with every temptation that comes at us.  Treasure the word of God!

20 So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness. 21 For the upright will dwell in the land, And the blameless will remain in it; 22 But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.

  1. God’s wisdom and word equip us to “walk in the way of goodness.”  For national Israel, they would continue to dwell in the land according to the covenant of God.  Indeed, we can see in history what happened when Israel and Judah forgot the covenant of God and discarded His wisdom & word.  God took them out of the land.  The nations around them who laughed at them were cut off from the earth and dealt with.  Yet God’s desire for them was blessing; not cursing.  Likewise for us…His desire is that we would remain safe in our walk with Christ, experiencing the blessing of walking in His wisdom, rather than the consequences that would come as a result of our sin.

Conclusion:
Treasure wisdom!  Value the word of God for what it is!  It is the knowledge that God Almighty Himself offers to pour out to us in abundance.  Should we follow after the wisdom of God, we will be blessed in our relationship with Him.  Should we ignore it, we can expect the inevitable consequences that will follow.  God appeals to us continually to hear His voice and to obey it.  May we be those who do exactly that!  To hear the word of God, but go beyond mere hearing and actually DO the word, applying it along the way.

Where does it all begin?  The fear of the Lord.  There may be some Christians here tonight that understand that although they have asked Jesus for salvation, they’ve never really come to a place where they truly feared the Lord in reverence and worship.  Go before the Lord God tonight in prayer, asking Him to help Him reveal Himself to you through Christ – that you would see Him as He is, and then bow in worship before Him.  Humble yourself before your Almighty King – because that’s exactly who He is & what He deserves from you.

There are others here who perhaps have never humbled themselves before the Lord in faith.  Maybe you’ve been the “moral” person in the past, never really seeing the need for God because you thought you were alright on your own.  Or maybe you understand you were the perverse person, and truly understand your need for forgiveness and grace.  Either way, come to the Lord Jesus tonight, seeing Him as who He is: the Almighty Creator God.  Humble yourself before Him in faith, believing that He did exactly what the Bible says He did: coming to earth as a man, dying on the cross for your sin, and rising from the grave.  Ask Him for His forgiveness and grace, and Jesus promises He will save you.

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