Summary: Wisdom is worth the work!
The Effort and Universality of Wisdom
1. A German Shepherd can take down a skunk at any time, but is it worth it?
2. It is possible to grow kale and other vegetables in the snow, but is it worth it?
3. I make homemade sauerkraut about 10 times a year. I begin with cabbage, cut it up, salt it, and let her go in the crock for a couple of weeks. Is it worth it? To me, yes. To others, no.
4. Some of you have a great disciple: dance, music, exercise, sport, talent —and to you, the discipline is worth the price you pay; to others, it may not be worth it.
5. We all must select where we put our efforts. One area we should all work toward is developing wisdom, especially godly wisdom. It is a never-ending pursuit. Those who think they have it probably have the least amount of it.
Main Idea: Wisdom is worth the work!
I. Important PRINCIPLES We Can Derive from How This Text Was Composed
A. The ancients VALUED wisdom because it helps us handle life’s decisions
I Kings 4:29-32 talks about King Solomon, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.”
B ALL truth is God’s truth
ESV Study Bible, “This section….reflect[s] an awareness of the Egyptian wisdom text, The Instruction of Amenemope, dated to about 1250 B.C. Clearly 22:17-24:22 did not slavishly copy Amenemope, but there are many affinities in content.”
Example from Amenemope: “Cast not your heart in pursuit of riches. Like geese they take wing and fly off heavenwards. “ Proverbs 23:4-5, “Do not wear yourself out to acquire wealth; be wise enough to stop. When your eyes light upon it, it is gone; for suddenly it takes wings to itself, flying like an eagle toward heaven.”
Amenemope, “Whoever fills the mouth with too much bread swallows it and vomits it.So he is emptied of his good…” Proverbs 23:8, “You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.”
Amenemope, “Do not move markers on the borders of a field or alter the position of the measuring line. Do not be greedy for a cubit of land or encroach on the boundaries of a widow.” Proverbs 23:10, “Do not remove the old landmarks, and do not enter into the fields of the fatherless…”
1. This has bearings on things like psychology, sociology, genetics, brain chemistry, etc.
2. Unfortunately, what is passed off as “truth” nowadays is often theory
C. LOST people can be very wise in many ways
• Worldy wisdom is that portion of wisdom contrary to God…
• Most secular wisdom is not necessarily worldly
• Matthew 10:16, ““Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
• The ancients place a high value on wisdom
• Wisdom can flex and adjust to new challenges
• Learning to read by route or by phonics?
D. Scripture is the FINAL authority for evaluating claims to truth
• Many believers do not understand sola scriptura
• Do we adjust the Bible to match theories or adjust theories to match Bible?
E. Truth needs to be understood through a GRID of God-honoring Biblical faith
• Proven facts are facts, but we can interpret the same facts in a different way
• Sinus pressure had closed my ears before; Dr. said ear wax!
• Verse 19 makes for an important difference
II. The Text Itself: Wisdom Takes EFFORT
A. Inclining the EAR (17a)
• This often means a willingness to unlearn, to recognize our assumptions
• Jesus’ disciples could not understand his death/resurrection…could not hear
B. Applying to the HEART (17b)
• Integrating God’s wisdom into our way of thinking and behaving
• One way to mix food, like batters or meatloaf, is folding…
• Timothy: no one else like him…
C. Kept and READY (18)
• When Stephen was confronted before being stoned, he preached an amazing sermon; sure, the Holy Spirit helped him, but Stephen already knew the information he shared…
D. Wisdom is INTENTIONAL (19)
The skills you have make up your personal capital: sports, writing, plumbing, sewing, music, woodworking, needlepoint, auto repair, carpet laying….
Developing godly wisdom increases your personal capital for most of life…
E. Results: KNOWING what is right and able to ANSWER