The Way of Wisdom

Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”

I always enjoy spending time in Proverbs, it always serves to remind me of how foolish I’ve been and how much I need to grow. The instructions contained within these thirty-one chapters are timeless examples for understanding the path of life and how to keep your way from trouble.

The way I receive counsel is determined by the position of my heart. If I yearn to be wise then I’m seeking after good things but if my paths are continually foolish then I find myself in constant trouble.

Aspects of growing Wiser

As I dwell in the Word of God, I’m reminded of my need to pray for wisdom, we can all acquire the wisdom of the world but to grow in the wisdom of God requires a different approach.

James began his letter with the reminder that where we start determines where we go….

James 1:5-8 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

  • The start of wisdom is knowing where to acquire it.
  1. Asking God. For those who think they are going to get wisdom simply by reading some old books or quoting a haiKu, they’ll find themselves lacking anything of depth. Wisdom is stored up by God for those who seek it. Always go to the source and this process begins on your knees in humility.
  2. Ask in faith. The attitude of the heart is an important first step in approaching God. We must believe in God’s revelation of Himself which is in Jesus Christ. Jesus imparts forgiveness of sin and then empowers with the Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit of God that wisdom is acquired and consequently knowledge.
  3. Don’t doubt God. If we come before God doubting His faithfulness, His love, or His ability, we cannot truly expect to receive anything from Him. If we doubt God, then what on earth do we have confidence in? Ourselves? It’s no wonder God likens the doubter to someone tossed around in the sea–this world doesn’t bring stability and yet people will often seek the wisdom of the world before inquiring of the Lord.

James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

Fruit of Wisdom

When examining Proverbs 15:2, the word “rightly” is the Hebrew word ‘yatab’, which means to make a thing good, pleasing or well placed. A key element of the wise is to take knowledge and apply it correctly.

If you want to apply knowledge rightly, you have to acquire the knowledge first.

Acquiring knowledge is more than just reading the Bible, it’s living out the words of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

If we strive to understand the things of God in the flesh, we will find ourselves frustrated, angry, and confused. Many have wondered whether God had abandoned them when in their fleshly attempt to acquire wisdom and knowledge their efforts became a practice in futility.

Everyone has a measure of worldly knowledge that was gained through study or just living life. Knowledge of the world is not the same as godly knowledge.

Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

{Worldly wisdom applies only to worldly knowledge, while Godly wisdom is useful in the world and critical for Godly knowledge}

Knowing God

Obtaining guidance implies it is for the taking, and it is the wise who know where to look.

Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance”

Godly wisdom is placed in the heart by God Himself. As God leads the expectation is that His people will follow. As God’s people follow He reveals knowledge. Following isn’t necessarily easy but the reward is great. As God’s people acquire knowledge, wisdom discerns how to use that knowledge practically—this is understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”

As the people of God walk in wisdom, their way is made good. You may wonder how anything good might come from your life, well this is how it is manifest.

The Goodness of God

Goodness is an attribute that is distinctive to God alone. Whenever you see something reflected as ‘good’, in scripture, it is always a reflection of God. God may move directly as we witness in the life of Christ or indirectly through a believer who is walking in His Spirit and being lead by the Spirit.

We so often attribute “goodness”, to certain things, people, or circumstances in life yet the wisdom of the Lord helps you judge rightly.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. This statement in Psalm 127:1 gives us insight in how God is working among those who follow versus those who live by the wisdom of man. When the Lord is doing the leading, the final result is secure and stable.

Proverbs 24:14 “Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

Be careful how you judge a situation, as either being good or bad. Unless you have insight as to where the action originated, you may be judging incorrectly.

When we study the path of wisdom it reveals so much; it reveals God’s omniscience, His character, what God values, what the world values and how we should respond to the world, what we should value, where we are going in righteousness and where the wicked will ultimately end, what is pleasing to God and what He disdains, how we can grow wiser, and ultimately where to begin this process in the first place….and this is just one chapter of Proverbs.

So where do I begin if I desire wisdom?

The beginning of wisdom is found in recognizing who God is, accepting who He is, and believing in Him.

God’s Word sums it up as the Fear of the Lord.

Psalm 19:9The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true, being altogether righteous.”

When we recognize a principle that endures forever, we witness a principle that resembles God. The principles of God endure forever and so the fruit of living by those principles are likewise eternal. The reward for walking in wisdom is found in both living out our lives before God now and we see the effects of wisdom extend into eternity.

Proverbs 2:10-11 “For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you”

Wisdom not only guides, it protects.

How many pitfalls might we have avoided if we learned the principles of wisdom sooner?

We are all guilty of acting foolishly, we have all suffered because we took our eyes off the Lord and placed them on our circumstances. Learning from our mistakes and avoiding future ones is a good reason for growing in wisdom.

The Humility of the Wise

Humility is crucial among the wise.

To fear the Lord is to recognize His position as God so we give Him the glory. When you come to the understanding that is isn’t all about you, that you really don’t bring anything to the table when you stand before him, that your knowledge is only foolishness before Him, that you hold no position of prominence and that He alone is Lord and King forever….you can start to attain wisdom.

Jesus embodied wisdom by humility.

Isaiah 11:2 “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”

This position of fearing the Lord is a position of humility and those who take this position are the ones to whom the Lord draws near:

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Are you seeking wisdom?

Seeking wisdom and knowledge in the fear of the Lord is a worthy endeavor. Pray, ask God for wisdom, do so in humility and don’t doubt, and He will give it to you…..He promises He will, and God never fails on His promises.

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