January 1, 2015
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are 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.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The Wisdom Test: True or False
1. I want to gain wisdom and instruction.
2. I want to be a person of understanding and insight.
3. I want to live well and do what is right, just and fair.
4. I want to be able to discern what is best in any situation.
If you answered True to each of the four questions I’ve got very good news for you. If you answered False to any of them, write me and tell me why.
The good news: If you answered true to the four questions you are already wise. At least you are on the road to wisdom.
Wisdom requires an aspiration. A person must make a conscious choice to choose wisdom. And the choice to seek wisdom always leads to “the good life.”
I’ve never met anyone who wanted a bad life or to be known as a fool or an idiot. To be clear, I’ve met my share of fools and idiots, but none of them set out to be that way. They got that way because they failed to grow wise. Call it arrested development. Call it a #wisdomfail. Somewhere along the way they made a bad decision. It led to another bad decision.They got off track, connected with others on the same path and woke up one day to find themselves in a place they never imagined they would go.
Jesus told a number of stories along these lines. He spoke of prodigal sons and interacted with wayward daughters. He spoke of a narrow road that leads to life and a broad way that leads to destruction; of building houses on solid foundations and building them on sand. Among many things, Jesus was and is and always will be a Wisdom teacher. Jesus didn’t teach to make people more intelligent (as good and needful as intelligence is). He taught to make people wise, which is actually a much richer form of intelligence. Wisdom is something like Truth in action.
Our text today begins by describing this aspiration for wisdom. Go back to the four statements above and insert the word “aspire” in the place of the word “want.” To want to become a certain kind of person is not enough. The life of becoming calls one to “aspire” to it. (Much more on “aspiring” toward something to come)
So where does a life which aspires for wisdom begin? That’s exactly where today’s text goes after setting the aspiration.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
In a word, wisdom begins with humility, and humility comes from a certain posture before God. The fear of the Lord means reverent awe.
It turns out that Wisdom is a Person. His name is Jesus. It’s why his first middle and last command is to “follow me.” Wisdom will never settle to be a precept in a book. Wisdom aspires to be made real in people. God searches for people who will aspire to become wise.
I’ll see you tomorrow in Proverbs 2.
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