Thursday August 20, 2020
Wisdom: The Good Life
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
This coming weekend, we bring our preaching series on “Seeking the Heart of Wisdom” to a close. We’ve been on a corporate pursuit and prayerfully individual pursuits of wisdom. But what is wisdom? Pastor David reminded us that knowledge is a thing we possess over the last several weeks, but wisdom can only be pursued. But what is it, and how do we know we are following after it?
To get some perspective, I invite you to look at one of the books in the biblical “Wisdom Literature” genre—the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is primarily concerned with TEACHING wisdom. The Jewish heritage involved capturing the history and traditions so they may be passed, or taught, from generation to generation. The Book Proverbs, then, is concerned with the transmission of wisdom from one generation to another.
The Hebrew word that is translated as wisdom in our focal text is “chokmah.” It doesn’t mean knowledge or intelligence. Wisdom is the coupling of intellect and practice that produces skill. This same word for wisdom is sometimes translated as “skill” or “builder.” The author of Proverbs understood that wisdom has to do with learning and cultivating what is learned in such a way that brings about proficiency and skill. “What skill?” you ask. The skill of building a good life. That was the concern of Proverbs—how we go about building a good life.
The first 9 chapters of Proverbs distinguishes between two kinds of lives—a wise and foolish life. These extended poems are set in a father’s lessons to his son with two main characters—Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly. Lady Wisdom represents a life influenced by godly wisdom. Lady Folly represents a life most affected by pleasure and selfishness. As the author relates to us, the truth of the matter is we will listen to one or the other, and the life we create for ourselves will be based on their influence. The father is telling the son, and the author tells us that the way to a good life means the following.
So, what is the author telling me, and how does it relate to my life? Well, we all want to live the best life we can. A life marked more by joy than sorrow—an overall happy life. Living a good life requires me to trust in the Lord with all my heart. Trusting God means I can’t just lean to my own understanding. In order for us to trust God, we must always remember that it was God that changed our lives, and we must acknowledge it in all we do. Living a good life requires me to trust in the Lord with all my heart. This doesn’t mean that in trusting God, I won’t experience sorrow. In fact, trusting God may not change your circumstances. That’s really not the point anyway. Your circumstances may not change, but trusting God changes you, even in the middle of your circumstances. So, whether you are hungry or well fed, in the palace or the prison, at the top of the stairs or crushed below, you can still have joy.
The good life begins with trusting God with your life, and that, my friends, is wisdom. If you pursue that goal, to truly love and trust God, you will live a blessed life.
- Where am I finding it difficult to trust God today? Why?
- Where do I find myself excluding God from my life, even if unintentionally?
- What’s one thing I will trust God with today?
Prayer for Today
God, help me to trust you better. Help me to seek you in all of my day to day work, in my comings and goings. In the areas where my lack of trust isn’t obvious to me, help me to see myself more clearly. I find myself so given to my own thoughts, instincts, and desires, and I today repent from excluding you from all of my life, in things both great and small. I love you, I trust you, and I want to love you and trust you better. Today, I begin again to give you my life for the rest of my life. To do so, I will need your help. I ask for it in faith, knowing that I will receive it. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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