Summary: from a series on the life of Solomon. A book sermon, from the Proverbs, about the importance of wisdom in life.
Intro: (used a powerpoint of these choices. Best to put them all up before asking people to choose one)
OK. Time for an audience participation quiz this morning. Each question is a multiple choice. Let’s say, if you had to pick one of these 4 answers, which one would it be? Raise your hand on the answer that you would give…if you had to pick one.
1. You’re experiencing some financial trouble. Where of these would you most likely go for help?
a. Madam Chloe’s Psychic Hotline
b. Rob Blegojevich
c. Pat Sajak
d. Regis Filbin
2. You feel guilty over something you’ve done. Where do you go for counsel?
a. The National Enquirer
b. The Rockford Register Star
c. Homer Simpson
d. The Home Shopping Network
3. You have failing health. Where do you find help?
a. Dr. Phil
b. Geraldo Rivera
c. Rush Limbaugh
d. The Roaming Gnome
4. You are looking for a spouse. Where do you go for advice?
Really, this isn’t to psychoanalyze anyone. It’s to show that there’s a problem in our society. The problem is a basic apathy toward and lack of acquaintance with real WISDOM. We have plenty of situations that need help, but the places and people where we often turn really don’t help, do they?
We’ve been studying King Solomon. Remember, when offered by God anything he wanted to ask for, he chose wisdom. Why? Let’s revisit what Solomon said:
1 Kings 3:7-8 - "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.
In other words, Solomon was up against a hard situation. “Life is Hard – Handle With Wisdom.” Solomon knew it. So, endowed by God with wisdom greater than any other man, and with understanding and knowledge too, Solomon became a collector of wisdom. He spoke 3,000 proverbs, or “comparisons.” (I K 4:32). Many of those are collected in the book called Proverbs, and it even explains itself in its introduction:
Proverbs 1:1-6 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 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--for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
Of all the helps that are at our disposal for life, I want to show you this morning that wisdom is among the best – that it’s available to anyone – that it works. For those reasons you and I need to get wisdom .
It was George Burns who said, “Too bad the only people who know how to run this country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair.”
Now, the multiple choices I gave you at the beginning weren’t meant to be taken seriously – even though many people do take them seriously. But the life challenges – financial trouble, unruly neighbors, guilt, failing health, choosing a spouse – those are all very real, aren’t they? If you’re like me, and you find that life is sometimes challenging, then it’s time to…
I. Understand What Wisdom Is
We need to distinguish between wisdom and the things that go along with it.
There are basically 3 words that appear in the OT that are translated wisdom. Put together with attempts to explain them, you get something like this: Wisdom is the ability to consistently apply what we know to what we have to do.
One word for wisdom comes from a word that means “between.” It’s the ability to discern intelligently the difference between true and false, between impulsive pleasure and long-range value. It’s skill for living. Some people might call it horse sense – that’s what keeps horses from betting on people.
In other words, wisdom is different than…
Experience. Some people think their experience makes them automatically wiser.
Quote - Lyman Bryson - “The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience, while the error of age is to believe that experience is a substitute for intelligence.”
Ill - Howard Hendricks tells about a Sunday School teacher who taught for 25 years but who never evaluated the way she taught and never learned anything new. She argued that she should be respected because of her 25 years of experience. He said what she really had was one year of experience 25 times.