Summary: In the Old Testament one of the meanings for wisdom was skill. This sermon begins a trec on learning the skills for proper living.
In his book "Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life", the author Charles Swindoll tells a story about the 19th Century agnostic Thomas Huxley. Huxley was in Dublin and was rushing to catch a train. He climbed aboard one of Dublin’s famous horse drawn taxis and said to the driver -“Hurry, I’m almost late ... drive fast.” Off they went at a furious pace and Huxley sat back in his seat and closed his eyes. After a while Huxley opened his eyes and glanced out the window to notice that they were going in the wrong direction. Realizing that he hadn’t told the driver where to take him he called out ‘do you know where you're going?’ The driver replied “No, your honour, but I am driving very fast.”
Isn’t that the way it seems we go through life. We seem to be always in a hurry. We go through life fast without really knowing our destination. Everything around seems fast paced. We have fast food restaurants with drive through windows and microwave ovens. We built interstates to get us to our destinations faster. This desire for speediness is reflected in our ability to read the Bible regularly. It seems other things needing our attention takes away from our time.
But the Bible also has “micro” scriptures; little burst of wisdom that can help guide us in our daily walk. This book in the Bible is Proverbs.
Proverbs 1:1-4 says “These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.”
Now before you get insulted by the Bible calling you “the simple” you must understand the meaning of this word. It meant naïve, easily deceived. We have an enemy whose purpose is to deceive us. So we need wisdom to counteract those attacks. Wisdom means skill. Wisdom is our skill to live a life of victory over the deciever. Over the next few weeks we will study these bursts of wisdom found in the Word.
Wisdom gives calmness
Proverbs 12:16 “A fool is quick-tempered,
but a wise person stays calm when insulted.” We must develop a skill to remain calm when insulted.
Have you ever heard the story of Norma McCorvey? She was a single woman who wanted to end her pregnancy through abortion. However, she lives in the state of Texas where abortion was illegal. So she sued under the name “Jane Roe”. It was her lawsuit that opened the door to make abortion legal.
In 1995, Norma was answering phones at an abortion clinic when a pro-life group moved into the office next door. She tried trading insults with the pro-lifers but she was met with smiles, scripture, and invitations to attend church. Later that summer she quit her job and converted to Christianity.
It would have been easy for the pro-lifers to attack the character of Norma McCorvey. Her lawsuit has been responsible for the abortion and death of over 62 million babies. They could have reminded her of her sins and the impending doom that awaited her for all eternity.
Instead they told her of a loving God who cared about her. Instead of pushing her away, they befriended her. She was quick tempered, perhaps from feeling guilty of her sin. The others stayed calm.
It takes skill to remain calm. It takes restraint not to strike out. And before you hold Norma in contempt for her actions, remember God forgave her sins and cast them away.
Wisdom gives control.
Proverbs 12:23 “The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.”
How many of you have heard the saying “Loose lips sink ships”? Did you wonder where it originated? Well, you are about to find out.
During WWII soldiers were warned not to speak freely back home about what was going on in the war. An official Army memo contained ten specific things soldiers needed to be careful talking about. These words were added at the end of the memo: “loose talk is direct delivery to the enemy. If you come home during war your lips must remain sealed and your written hand must be guided by self-imposed censorship. This takes guts. Have you got them or do you want your buddies and your country to pay the price for your showing off? You’ve faced the battle front; it’s little enough to ask you to face this ‘home front.’ “Remember Loose Lips Might Sink Ships!”
The Bible says sharing too much information is wrong. James 1:26 states “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”