Summary: "Everyone is invited to enroll in the ’School of Solomon.’ These words are written over its doors: ’The young, the simple, the foolish - welcome!’
WISE UP in 2002!
Have you ever done something, and then, almost as soon as you did it, wonder how you could have acted so foolishly? Have you ever had a disagreement with someone then gotten into a full-blown argument because you lost control of your temper and said things that were unwarranted or you didn’t mean? Or have you intensified problems between yourself and your spouse by goading her and making snide remarks? Or maybe you’ve told a lie to get out of trouble, then gotten in deeper because you didn’t tell the truth.
One thing we all need more of in this New Year is WISDOM. I know I need it! I need greater wisdom to know God’s will, I need greater understanding of God’s Word so I can teach it to others, I need greater discernment in determining people’s needs, I need greater insight in finding solutions to those needs, I need greater ability to make sound decisions, especially when the decisions will affect other people; I need greater practical wisdom in solving complicated problems. Where can we find the wisdom we need to live productively?
James 1:5- "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."
And so recently I began praying for wisdom, asking God to give me more sound judgment. It’s interesting, God didn’t, all of a sudden, endow me with the grace of wisdom; instead I felt led of the Spirit to begin studying the book of wisdom - Proverbs - in my personal devotions. And I believe that, in the next two months, God is going to give me wisdom as each day I seek to put into practice the instructions given in God’s book of wisdom.
Turn with me to the book of Proverbs, as we do a simple, preliminary study on the subject of wisdom.
I. WHAT IS WISDOM?
THE DEFINITION OF WISDOM
Wisdom cf Knowledge + Understanding
The Hebrew word for wisdom
(hok’ma) literally means "skillful."
Therefore a wise person is one who is skillful at putting into practice the truths of God’s Word. Webster defines wisdom as "the power of judging rightly; following the soundest course of action, based on our experience, knowledge and understanding. It is using common sense."
As I see it,
-KNOWLEDGE is the "ability to accumulate facts;"
-UNDERSTANDING is the "ability to apply those facts to a specific situation."
-WISDOM is the "ability to use one’s knowledge and understanding to pursue a wise course of action."
That’s why Solomon says wisdom is calling to all people - intelligent and unintelligent
- Prov. 1:20-23 "Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: ’How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?’ For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my reproof; surely I will pour out my Spirit on you. I will make My words known to you."
Intelligent people need wisdom - because unless their facts can be translated into acts - all their knowledge will be wasted. Unintelligent people also need wisdom - because if they can just take the few facts they know and make them work, they can have a life filled with fulfillment and joy.
Illus: I’m sure we’ve all observed absent-minded professors who have great knowledge, but no common sense. And we’ve also probably seen mentally challenged children, who have greater insight and understanding into other people and situations, than many of us do.
It’s a matter of wisdom not intelligence. Leroy Eims in his commentary on Proverbs says: "Our world abounds in schools, colleges and universities. Yet not everyone who wants to enter them for study may do so. The potential student may not have the proper educational background, he may not have enough money, or he may not be able to pass the entrance exam or even the physical.
But everyone is invited to enroll in the ’School of Solomon.’ These words are written over its doors: ’The young, the simple, the foolish - welcome!’ Here the foolish can become wise, and the evil can become good. The wise and the good can become wiser and better!" (Eims, ch. 1, pg. 5)
Human Wisdom cf Biblical Wisdom
In our definition of wisdom, we must also point out that Biblical, or godly wisdom is different than human wisdom.
Human Wisdom determines whether a course of action is right or wrong based on "practicality" - whether or not it works (situational ethics). The Bible says that human wisdom ( or philosophy) is FOOLISHNESS if it leaves God out!
1 Cor. 1:19, 20 "For it is written, ’I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"