These verses are Wisdom’s call to all of humanity…with the basic purpose of wisdom described in Proverbs 1:4-5, “For giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” But why do we need wisdom? Simple, because our hearts can be easily deceived, and a deluded heart will certainly mislead us.(Isaiah 44:20) So how do we start to obtain wisdom? Easy, Proverbs 1:7 tells us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” And James 1:5 goes on to add, “If any of you lack wisdom ask, for the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” Wisdom is calling today, and if you’re like me, you could definitely use an extra measure of insight, discernment, and common sense in order to navigate through the mountains of information we’re being bombarded with right now.
For months now we have been bombarded with information about the Corona Virus. Everyone from experts in the field, to people who know nothing about it, are giving their opinions. But no one knows for sure what this virus is going to do or not do…for the name “Novel” Corona Virus tells it all. It is a new, unfamiliar, and unknown viral type that has the world scrambling to figure it out. But until they do, we’ll be inundated with information…good, bad, and indifferent. So how can we then make sense of all this information? How can we discern what’s true and what’s false? We have only to look at this verse…for man can give us knowledge/information, but only God can give us wisdom. That’s because all wisdom has its source in God and He is the Giver of all wisdom. (Proverbs 2:6) And when we lack wisdom, all we have to do is ask and He will give it generously. (James 1:5) In the months ahead, I feel wisdom is going to become paramount in our decision making.
God gave Solomon a wise and discerning heart…a heart full of prudence and plain old common sense. I love the word prudence! To many it’s rather an old fashion word…but the meaning is very basic – good sense. Years back, a Doctor nicknamed me Prudence for how I conducted myself and worked with patients, and I took it as a compliment! During these difficult times we can all use wisdom, insight, and understanding from the Lord, and the good news is He’s willing to give it to us, for in James 1:5 it tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Elsewhere in Isaiah, God laments, “O My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.” (Isaiah 3:12) It’s almost like the blind leading the blind…with all of them wandering around in the dark. So how can we guard ourselves from this? The answer is discernment, wisdom, and sound judgment, based on personal knowledge of God’s word. No one will be able to lead you astray if you know the truth, and no one will be able to turn you from the correct way if you acknowledge that only Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Another Proverb that goes along with this one is Proverbs 12:23 which says, “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.” When it comes to good sense and wisdom, it’s better to just keep your mouth shut in many situations! For when we impulsively spout off with the first thing that comes to mind, we can be starkly exposing our total lack of judgment and discernment to all those within earshot. Which leads me to one of my favorite Proverbs…”Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” (Proverbs 17:28)
As human beings we think we are so smart! We’ve put people on the moon, developed cutting edge technology, and taken us from the horse and buggy era to modern transportation in a short span of time. But compared to God’s wisdom…we have nothing, for it was by God’s wisdom that He made the heavens and spread out the earth upon the waters, He made the great lights – the sun to govern the day and the moon and stars to govern the night. (Psalm 136: 5-9)… and I don’t think human wisdom will ever come close to duplicating that! So when the world in all its infinite “wisdom” looks at the Gospel Message…they scoff and laugh at the absurdity…”For the Message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Yes, as human beings we think we are so incredibility smart…but are we?
The Writer of this proverb was pretty blunt…if you’re opposed to God’s correction in your life, you’re dumb! We know that God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12), but until we can realize it’s for our benefit not detriment…we’ll continue to rebel against His correction. Proverbs 9:9 says, ” Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Greater wisdom and understanding can only be found in the “education” of God’s discipline.
One of the biggest differences between children and adults is the ability to control our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as grownups. We rarely see a 40 year-old having a temper-tantrum! Yet in this verse, Paul is exhorting us to be child-like regarding evil. Now he doesn’t mean that we should be ignorant, naive or easily exploited by evil, but rather, we should be innocent in our motives and thinking about it…not allowing rationalization or deception to creep into our mindset. This comes, Paul says, from growing up into spiritual maturity and taking all of our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
Our lips are called the gateway to honesty or deception. And while this Proverb extols the benefits of wisdom, and thinking before we speak… Job 15:5 shows the opposite when it says, “Your sin prompts (or incites) your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty.” We all have the ability to select the words that come out of our lips, for it’s our prudent or deceptive heart that guides them.
Godly wisdom is pragmatic…for there are very practical and economic benefits to gaining Godly insight and discernment over worldly wisdom. It tells us in Proverbs 3:13-14 that wisdom is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Worldly wisdom, like worldly riches, are fleeting…here today and gone tomorrow. But Godly wisdom stays with you…ever increasing…and lasting forever.