Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of Proverbs which was written by Solomon the son of David and king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty through twenty-two of this Old Testament book. WHAT DOES WISDOM LOOK LIKE? WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF WISDOM WITHIN OUR LIVES? HOW CAN WE TELL IF WE ARE WALKING IN WISDOM? HOW CAN WE TELL IF WISDOM IS TRULY BEING MANIFESTED WITHIN OUR LIVES? WHAT DOES WISDOM LOOK LIKE IN THE LIFE OF THAT ONE WHO PURSUES IT WITH EVERYTHING THEY HAVE? IS THERE EVIDENCE OF WISDOM FOUND WITHIN OUR LIVES? CAN WISDOM BE SEEN? IF WISDOM CAN’T BE SEEN, CAN THERE BE SOME TYPE OF EVIDENCE THAT CONFIRMS ITS PRESENCE WITHIN OUR HEARTS AND LIVES? WHAT DOES WISDOM LOOK LIKE TO THE PHYSICAL AND NATURAL EYE? IT ISN’T ENOUGH TO MERELY STATE THAT YOU POSSESS WISDOM, FOR THERE MUST BE TANGIBLE PROOF AND EVIDENCE OF WISDOM’S PRESENCE WITHIN YOUR LIFE! WISDOM’S PRESENCE WITHIN YOUR LIFE! WISDOM’S WORK WITHIN YOUR LIFE! WISDOM’S PRESENCE IN YOUR SPEECH! WISDOM’S PRESENCE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP! WISDOM’S PRESENCE IN YOUR REACTIONS AND RESPONSES! WISDOM’S PRESENCE IN YOUR BEHAVIORS! WISDOM’S PRESENCE IN YOUR WORK! WISDOM’S PRESENCE IS THERE EVIDENCE OF WISDOM WITHIN YOUR LIFE? WHAT PROOF IS THERE THAT WISDOM IS FOUND WITHIN YOUR LIFE? CAN WISDOM BE SEEN IN HOW YOU THINK AND HOW YOU SPEAK? CAN WISDOM BE SEEN IN HOW YOU INTERACT WITH OTHERS? CAN WISDOM BE SEEN IN HOW YOU CARRY YOURSELF AND CONDUCT YOURSELF IN THIS GENERATION? ARE YOU STRIVING TO NOT ONLY LAY HOLD OF WISDOM, BUT ALSO TO HAVE THE FRUIT AND MANIFESTATION OF WISDOM WITHIN YOUR HEART AND LIFE? “This is what wisdom looks like” “Come see what wisdom looks like” “Have you seen what wisdom looks like in the life of one who has diligently and faithfully sought after it” SOLOMON ASKED FOR WISDOM AND FOR A WISE AND DISCERNING HEART, AND OUTSIDE OF THE MATTER OF THE TWO MOTHERS BEFORE HIS THRONE AND ALL THE KINGS OF THE EARTH AND PEOPLES OF THE NATIONS COMING UNTO HIM WE REALLY DON’T HAVE ANY GLIMPSE INTO WHAT THIS WISDOM LOOKED LIKE WITHIN HIS LIFE! WE KNOW THE LORD GAVE SOLOMON WISDOM, HOWEVER, WE ARE GIVEN VERY LITTLE INSIGHT INTO WHAT THAT WISDOM LOOKED LIKE WITHIN HIS LIFE! SOLOMON POSSESSED WISDOM GIVEN HIM STRAIGHT FROM THE LORD, AND PERHAPS THE SINGLE GREATEST EVIDENCE WE HAVE OF THAT WISDOM ARE THE BOOK OF PROVERBS AND THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES!
When you read the Old Testament book of Proverbs—specifically beginning with and from the tenth chapter—you will find that within the opening nine chapters there is a powerful invitation given unto the simple, and a powerful invitation given unto a son to pursue wisdom with their whole heart and with all their might and strength. The opening nine chapters of this poetic book are absolutely and incredibly astounding and remarkable, for what we find within them is Solomon inviting his son and those who desire wisdom to pursue it with reckless abandon, and with everything that is found within them. What’s more, is that within these opening chapters you will find wisdom herself crying out in the streets, and wisdom herself crying out unto the simple ones inviting them to come after and pursue her. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that within the opening nine chapters of this poetic book we find a truly wonderful and powerful invitation of wisdom unto the simple ones that they might pursue and lay hold of her in this life, and upon laying hold of her their entire lives begin to be changed and transformed. There is within the book of Proverbs a wonderful and powerful promise that once we lay hold of wisdom—and the more we lay hold of and continue to pursue wisdom—the more our lives begin to be guarded, guided and governed by something other than ourselves. GUARDED, GUIDED AND GOVERNED! I can’t hep but think about and consider the absolutely wonderful and tremendous truth that when we make the decision to pursue wisdom, and when we truly devote and commit ourselves to pursuing wisdom with our whole heart we open up and allow ourselves to be guarded, guided and governed by her. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a truly great and powerful need within our hearts and lives to allow wisdom to guard, to guide and govern every single area and every single facet of our existence. We must not miss, neglect and ignore this reality, for pursuing wisdom isn’t simple about acquiring knowledge and understanding, but it is about allowing our entire lives to be transformed as a result of wisdom.
The more I think about the words and wise sayings of Solomon as found within the Old Testament book of Proverbs the more I encounter the very real and powerful reality that our pursuit of wisdom cannot and must not be solely about acquiring knowledge, acquiring understanding and being made wise. If you recall, Eve looked upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and saw that the tree was good for food, that it’s as pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, and it was upon all of those elements working within her heart and mind she made the decision to take of the fruit and to eat thereof. It should be noted when considering the narrative of Eve that what caused her to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was that the tree was desired to make one wise. Stop and think about certain key words and phrases which are found within this narrative, for when the serpent spoke unto Eve he not only declared that she would not die, but he would go on to declare unto her that her eyes would be opened, her and Adam would be as gods, and they would know good and evil. Immediately after the serpent planted this seed within the heart and mind of Eve we find her looking up the tree and its fruit in a completely different light, for she saw that the tree was “good” for food, that the tree was “pleasant” to the eyes, and a tree to be “desired” to make one “wise.” It’s important to consider this narrative as a whole, for when you consider that which Eve was drawn to, you will not find anywhere in this narrative her being drawn to anything evil as we would define evil. When you read the words found within this narrative you will find that Eve looked upon the tree and saw that it was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and that it was a tree desired to make one wise. The serpent planted the seed within the heart and mind of Eve by declaring unto her that should they partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would not die, they would be as gods, and they would know good and evil. Please make no mistake about it, for there was this element of knowledge and wisdom that surrounded the tree, and the decision to eat the fruit of that tree. What we must recognize, is that it wasn’t the tree itself, nor was it the fruit of the tree that would potentially make one wise, nor was it it eating the fruit itself, but rather the disobedience to the command of the living God that would produce this wisdom within the heart and mind of Eve.
Reading the narrative of Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will find that at the very heart and center of the name of this tree was “knowledge,” and when Eve looked at the tree with its fruit she saw that it was desired to make one wise. This is worth noting and considering, for when we think about the pursuit of wisdom we must recognize and understand that it isn’t simply about making one wise, nor even giving one knowledge and understanding. Eve looked upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and saw that it was desired to make one wise, and it was that pursuit of wisdom and knowledge that worked together with her inward and outward senses that caused her to disobey the command of the LORD. This is something we must recognize and understand, for when we truly understand that Eve was drawn to that which was good, that which was pleasant, as well as knowledge and wisdom, we find that nowhere in this narrative do we find her desiring that which was evil. What we find within this passage of Scripture is Eve desiring to be wise, and even desiring the knowledge that would come from the tree. The truth of the matter is that at that point in time the knowledge of good and evil wasn’t at all what we find in the Law of the LORD given unto the children of Israel through Moses the servant of the LORD. The knowledge of good and evil in the garden wasn’t what we know it to be in our generation, in our culture and society, for the only thing Adam and Eve knew was that they could freely eat of every tree in the garden of Eden save the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this absolutely incredible reality, for when we think about this pursuit of wisdom we must recognize that it is not simply and solely based on making one wise, giving one knowledge, and giving one insight and understanding. It would be very easy to think about and consider the fact that pursuing wisdom is simply like partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and it making us wise, however, the underlying truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. What’s more, is that knowledge and understanding alone aren’t enough without a complete and utter transformation of every area of our lives. Being wise, possessing knowledge, and having understanding are of absolutely no value and no worth if there is no true and lasting change within our hearts and lives. Knowledge and understanding alone are not enough within our lives if neither one produces lasting change that direct impacts each and every area of our hearts and lives.
As I sit here thinking about and considering this reality of the pursuit of wisdom being very similar to Eve’s partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I can’t help but think about Jesus’ words found in the New Testament gospels—not only concerning men searching Scriptures thinking and believing that in them and in that pursuit is life. What’s more, is I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus Christ spoke unto the scribes and Pharisees which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel. If you transition to the New Testament during the days of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the entire religious community prided themselves on their wisdom, prided themselves on their knowledge and understanding—particularly and especially concerning the Scriptures and the Law of Moses—and they found themselves drawing the anger and wrath of Jesus. I am convinced that we must examine the words which Jesus spoke unto the scribes and Pharisees during His life and ministry, for the words which He spoke unto them directly confront this pursuit of wisdom—and not only this pursuit of wisdom, but the pursuit of wisdom without transformation. PURSUING WISDOM WITHOUT TRANSFORMATION! One of the main and underlying things we must recognize concerning the scribes, concerning the Pharisees, concerning the Sadducees and the teachers of the law is that they had an abundance of knowledge, they had an abundance of understanding and perhaps even “insight” into the Law of Moses, and the might have presumed themselves to be the scholars of their day, however, their wisdom and knowledge produced absolutely no transformation within their lives. I am absolutely convinced that this is perhaps one of the greatest condemnations leveled against and upon them from Jesus, for Jesus beheld their abundance of knowledge, and their abundance of wisdom, and yet saw absolutely no fruit of that wisdom evidenced in their lives. They could quote and teach the Law of Moses with the best of them, and yet when it came to truly walking in obedience before the LORD. The scribes and Pharisees proved that it is possible to know the Law of Moses, to have an abundance of wisdom, an abundance of knowledge, and an abundance of understanding, and yet have absolutely zero obedience and zero faithfulness before the living God. Consider if you will the following words which Jesus spoke unto the scribes, unto the Pharisees, unto the Sadducees, and unto the religious system of His day concerning their wisdom without obedience, their information without transformation, and their knowledge without real and authentic fruit:
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people drawers nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:1-9).
“Then came together unto him the Phariseees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, if a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye” (Mark 7:1-13).
“But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuse the you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:36-47).
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heaven burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phlacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things therein. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by Him that sitteth therein. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisees, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucifix; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation” (Matthew 23:1-36).
Upon reading these various passages you will see and encounter the awesome reality that the scribes, the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, and the religious community that was present during the days of Jesus devoted themselves to their own traditions—to traditions which were of men and not of the living God—as well as to the Law of Moses. The scribes, the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, the Sadducees, the elders of Israel spent a considerable amount of time focusing their attention on obtaining as much knowledge, as much understanding, as much wisdom as they possibly could—specifically concerning and regarding the Law of Moses—and in the process of such a pursuit they neglected the fruit and the manifestation of such an endeavor. Oh the religious community during Jesus’ day might very well have been teachers of the Law, and they might very well have been considered by most to possess such a great amount of wisdom, understanding and knowledge, and yet the wisdom, knowledge and understanding they possessed was nothing more than intellectual and mental assent, and had absolutely no practical bearing on they lived their lives, and how they conducted themselves. In fact, when speaking unto His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees He instructed them to do what they spoke and do what they instructed, but do not do according to their works, for their works were not in alignment with what they taught. The scribes and Pharisees were considered by Jesus to be hypocrites and blind guides because they preached one thing while practicing something else entirely. The scribes and the Pharisees preached one thing, and they preached according to the Law of Moses, and yet when it came to actually following through with and practicing what they preached, they lived their lives completely contradictory to the words which came forth from their mouths. Oh it was true they might very well have had a great understanding concerning the Law of Moses, and they might have been able to impress the people with their knowledge and oratory skills, however, their lives were a walking contradiction to that which they were preaching. This is in all reality a stark contrast to Jesus who caused those who heard Him to marvel and be astonished at His doctrine, while also watching and witnessing how He lived His life and conducted Himself during those days and within that generation.
If you study the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that time and time again the multitudes which heard Him speak—and not merely the multitudes which heard Him speak, but even at times the Pharisees, the scribes, the teachers of the Law and other religious leaders—heard Jesus teaching and speaking, and were astonished and marveled at His teaching. There were countless times within and through the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ when Jesus taught the people, and even responded to the questions and the temptations others attempted to lobby at Him, and when the people heard Him speak they marveled at His doctrine. What makes this so absolutely incredible is that not only was Jesus a man of doctrine and wisdom which He received from His Father in heaven, but Jesus was also a man of tremendous character and integrity. We know that Jesus was one hundred percent God, but we also know that He was one-hundred percent man as well. This is important for us to recognize and understand, for as much as Jesus was indeed the image of the invisible God and Father in the flesh, He was also in the form of human flesh and needed to trust and rely upon the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s necessary and important for us to recognize and understand this, for even though Jesus was the image of the invisible God, He received His doctrine directly from the Father, and relied upon the person and presence of the Holy Spirit each and every day of His life. When the Spirit descended upon Him in the bodily form a dove after He emerged from the waters of baptism He would from that day forward be anointed with the Holy Spirit. Within and throughout His public ministry Jesus trusted completely and solely in the Heavenly Father, and relied upon the presence of the Holy Spirit. In all reality, we cannot truly attempt to understand the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ without understanding it as the ministry of the triune Godhead. When you think about the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you must come face to face with the fact that although Jesus was in the flesh, He trusted and relied upon the Holy Spirit, and He listened to the Father. The earthly ministry of Jesus was very much a ministry of the triune Godhead as it was the ministry of Jesus alone. Although the gospels themselves are about Jesus the Christ, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize that the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was as much a part of that earthly ministry as was the person and presence of the Holy Spirit.
When we speak about the doctrine of Jesus Christ—the wisdom, the understanding and the knowledge He possessed—it is absolutely necessary that we recognize that this doctrine was not His own and that it came directly from the Father. The words which Jesus spoke were not His words, but were those words which He heard the Father speak, and the works which He did were not His works, but they were the works which He saw the Father do. Moreover, Jesus had been anointed by the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, and it was that Holy Spirit which helped Him within and throughout those three and a half years of public ministry. For three and a half years Jesus the Christ heard directly from the Father, and spoke everything the Father instructed Him to speak. There was not a single thing Jesus spoke that did not come straight from the Father. We must recognize and understand that there was a drastic difference between the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees, for the teaching of Jesus came with wisdom which proceeded directly from the Father and was passed on to those whom He encountered—including the scribes and the Pharisees. This reality is most readily seen and found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John when you find Jesus healing the man who had had an infirmity for thirty and eight years waiting for the waters to be stirred and his chance to enter into the waters. When you find Jesus being confronted by the Pharisees and the religious community at that time you will find Him speaking of that which He received from the Father, and that which He gave unto others. I am convinced that it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for everything Jesus did within the form of human flesh was a direct manifestation of the divine wisdom, the divine nature, the divine character, the divine understanding, the divine knowledge of the living God. It is important for us to recognize and understand this reality, for this reality can and will bring us face to face with the awesome reality that with wisdom must come the manifestation of wisdom. Consider if you will the following words which are found written and recorded in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John beginning to read with and form the sixteenth verse:
“And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and He bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father Himself which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, him ye believe not” (John 5:16-38).
Transitioning back to the reality and concept of Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women whose pursuit of wisdom is nothing more than the same pursuit Eve sought after in the garden of Eden. Eve looked upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, saw that it was good for food, saw that it was pleasant unto the eyes, and saw that it was a tree desired to make one wise, and she made the decision to partake of that fruit. It was the thought and concept of being wise, it was the thought and concept of being as gods, as well as the thought of knowing good and evil that Eve was drawn to, and as a direct result of her being drawn to that wisdom and that knowledge, she partook of the fruit of the tree. What’s more, is that she not only took of the fruit of that tree, but also gave of that fruit to her husband. It might very well be said that Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in her pursuit of wisdom, and in her pursuit of knowledge, and yet it that pursuit of wisdom and that pursuit of knowledge that helped introduce sin into the world. Moreover, it was not only that pursuit of wisdom and that pursuit of knowledge that introduced sin into the world, but also introduced death into the world as well. Please recognize and understand that I am not at all suggesting that our pursuit of wisdom is in any way shape or form evil, but rather that wisdom without and apart from the manifestation of a life that is transformed is nothing more than vanity and fleeting. Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and it was that pursuit of wisdom and that pursuit of knowledge that led to and produced within the earth. We must recognize and come to terms with this reality, for when you read the book of Proverbs you will find that wisdom alone wasn’t enough if it did not also lead to a transformed life. There is not a doubt in my mind that Solomon desired more for his son than simply pursing and laying hold of wisdom, but that that wisdom would dramatically transform his entire life. The words and wise sayings we find in the book of Proverbs from the tenth chapter on are more than just wise sayings written and spoken by Solomon, but they are direct manifestations and expressions of the wisdom which he spoke of to his son. The opening nine chapters of the book of Proverbs calls and invites men to pursue wisdom, to pursue knowledge, to pursue discretion, and yet the words and wise sayings we find in chapters ten on present the fruit and the manifestation of that wisdom.
I began this writing by asking what wisdom looks like, and I am absolutely and completely convinced that wisdom is more than simply that is found inwardly within our hearts and souls. I am absolutely and completely convinced that wisdom does in fact have a face, and wisdom does in fact have a presence. We know for a fact that wisdom has a voice as expressed in the first, eighth and ninth chapters of this Old Testament book, but what we learn and what we discover in chapters ten onward in this Old Testament book is that wisdom can be seen, and wisdom can be witnessed within and throughout our lives. The wise sayings of Solomon as found in in the latter portion fo the book o0f Proverbs aptly demonstrate and present us with the truly awesome reality that wisdom is not only something which we possess inwardly within our hearts and souls, but wisdom is also something which completely and utterly transforms every area of our lives. We cannot and must not read these wise sayings of Solomon and not encounter and be brought face to face with the tremendous reality that wisdom must needs completely and utterly transform every area of our hearts, every area of our minds, every area of our souls, and must be more than simply something which we possess inwardly. In fact, I would dare say that wisdom possesses us as much as we possess it, and wisdom must be permitted to transform every facet and every part of our lives. Wisdom must transform the way we speak and the words which proceed forth from our mouths. Wisdom must transform our actions and our behaviors, as well as our reactions and our responses. Wisdom must transform the way we think, as well as each and every one of our emotions. The more we think about and consider the awesome reality of wisdom, the more we must come to terms with the fact that wisdom must be permitted to have a perfect work our lives. Wisdom is more than simply that which provides knowledge and discretion, but it is something that must have a tangible fruit and manifestation within our hearts our lives. If we are to truly speak of being those who possess wisdom we must have evidence, fruit and something that demonstrates and manifests it within our lives. Just like faith must have works otherwise it is dead, so also wisdom must have fruit otherwise it is nothing more than vanity. I firmly believe that wisdom without any type of tangible fruit and evidence is nothing more than a vain pursuit within our lives. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we consider the words which are found within these chapters, for what we find within them is a truly astonishing picture of what wisdom looks like within our lives when it is permitted to have its perfect work. Within these wise sayings Solomon contrasts the wise and the foolish, and shows a stark and strong contrast between those who pursue wisdom, and those who neglect, despise, rejected and ignore its presence and manifestation within their lives.
THE FRUIT OF WISDOM! THE MANIFESTATION OF WISDOM! THE EVIDENCE OF WISDOM! FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD! WISDOM WITH FRUIT IS VANITY! Perhaps one of the most important truths we can learn concerning wisdom is that it never happens in a vacuum, and it never happens in a bubble. Wisdom—when it is sought after and pursued as is mentioned within the Old Testament book of Proverbs—is something that dramatically alters and transforms every area of our lives and has a direct impact on everything we do and who we are as individuals. It is absolutely necessary and important for us to recognize the awesome reality that wisdom is more than simply means to knowledge, means to understanding, means to discernment, and means to discretion. In all reality, I would dare say that wisdom is more than simply an intellectual presence within the depths of our hearts, our souls and our minds. There is a knowledge of this world that is purely academic, and can be achieved through countless hours of study and research. When we speak of wisdom as it is presented in the Old Testament book of Psalms it is absolutely necessary that we recognize that wisdom—as it is spoken of within this book—is something that is far beyond any type of intellectual manifestation within our lives. The wisdom which Solomon spoke of has absolutely nothing to do with the wisdom of this world, or the massive amounts of knowledge that is available to us through the endless books we have, and through the infinite world of the internet. Nowadays you can simply point, click, type in what you’re searching for, and within seconds you can read all your heart desires on any subject you want. The internet has been a colossal tool that has been used by countless students and scholars alike to help facilitate their own knowledge and study, and yet if there is one thing we must recognize about the internet, it’s that it can never, it has never, and it will never produce the type of wisdom which Solomon wrote and spoke about in the book of Proverbs. No amount of classroom study has ever and will ever produce the type of wisdom which Solomon spoke of—wisdom which was present with the LORD in the beginning before and when the foundations of the world were laid. The wisdom which is found and mentioned in this book of Proverbs is not something that comes without diligent pursuit, and without an undying pursuit of the holy, and not without a firm commitment to pursue the source of wisdom itself. The true and ultimate source of wisdom is and has always been the living and eternal God, and the type of wisdom which must needs guard our hearts and our lives must come and originate straight from Him.
The more you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Proverbs the more you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that wisdom is not only a pursuit, but wisdom is also that which directly impacts and affects every area of our lives With that being said, I would dare say that if and unless you are willing to allow wisdom to have its perfect work in your life—meaning allowing it to touch and transform every area of your life—you might not altogether and entirely know what you are getting yourself into. Even more than this, we must recognize that wisdom is not a one-time pursuit, nor is something that is found and experienced once within our lives. Wisdom is a pursuit of a lifetime, and the more we walk with the LORD, and the more we seek after and pursue Him the more we seek after His wisdom and His righteousness. When Solomon asked for wisdom, He asked for it that he might rightly and properly govern the people of God, and that he might truly discern between right and wrong. Solomon was given the chance to ask anything of the LORD, and the desire that was present within his heart was to gain wisdom that he might better serve the LORD in that role which he was given upon the earth. Undoubtedly Solomon realized and recognized how drastically important wisdom was, and how wisdom would indeed be a critical and crucial element to his ruling and reigning as king over the nation, over the kingdom, and over the people of God. The task and assignment that was ahead of Solomon—not just building the Temple, but governing and shepherding the people of God—was so much greater, and so much bigger than him, and as a direct result of this realization, Solomon asked the LORD for that one thing he knew he needed above everything else. Solomon knew riches and wealth would not help him with the task and assignment that was before him. Solomon knew and understood that possessions would not help him with the assignment before him in this life. Moreover, Solomon knew that the necks of his enemies wouldn’t help him with that which was before him among the people of God. Solomon was the only king whom the LORD appeared to directly and invited them to ask of Him anything they would like, and within that divine moment Solomon asked for the one thing he knew would be of more infinite worth and infinite value than anything else this world pursues and goes after.
With this in mind, it’s necessary for us to turn and direct our attention to some of the passages which are found in the opening nine chapters of this Old Testament book fo Proverbs, for the words which we find within these chapters help bring us face to face with the truly awesome and powerful reality of just how absolutely critical and vital wisdom is within our hearts and our lives. If and as you read the opening chapters of this book—even before you get to the actual Proverbs and wise sayings of Solomon—you will quickly encounter the tremendous influence and impact wisdom has within our lives. It is absolutely critical and necessary that we understand how wisdom is a gift that is given us directly from the living and eternal God, and is given us when we seek after and when we pursue it. Wisdom has always and will always be given to those who genuinely and authentically ask the living God for it, and are willing to pursue it with reckless abandon. In all reality, I would dare say that if and when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we are also seeking after and pursuing the wisdom of God—that which Solomon the son of David asked the LORD for when the LORD appeared to Him by dream during the night. I am completely and absolutely convinced that we cannot afford to miss this truly astonishing reality, for when we think about wisdom we must recognize and understand that wisdom is something of infinite worth and infinite value within our lives, and is something which we must allow to have its perfect work within our hearts and lives. Wisdom is not only something which guards, guides and governs our hearts, our souls, and our minds, but wisdom is something which guards, guides and governs every area of our being. Wisdom is something which touches every single area of our lives, and is something which dramatically alters every part of our being. A true and genuine pursuit of wisdom can and will radically transform and change absolutely every area of our lives, and the more we seek it, the more we will find ourselves changing and being transformed from the inside out. With that being said, I invite you to once more consider some of the words which are found within the opening chapters of the book of Proverbs and the tremendous impact wisdom has within our hearts and lives:
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtility to the simple, to the yong man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings” (Proverbs 1:1-6).
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou sleekest her as for silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserverth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-9).
“when wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; whose ways are c rooked, and they froward in their paths: to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God” (Proverbs 2:10-17).
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things Thou angst desires are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew” (Proverbs 3:13-20).
“My son, let them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou lest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (Proverbs 3:21-26).
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is an abomination to the LORD; but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:27-35).
“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall e many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life” (Proverbs 4:1-13).
WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPAL THING; THEREFORE GET WISDOM! WITH ALL THY GETTING GET UNDERSTANDING! Please don’t miss and lose sight of these words, for these words are a truly wonderful and powerful declaration concerning just how valuable wisdom is to and for those who would seek after her. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable and astonishing reality, for wisdom is not merely the principal thing because of what it provides us from an earthly and natural perspective. Wisdom is the principal thing because when we seek after and pursue wisdom with everything that we have within us it guards our steps and secures our footing when we walk. Wisdom is the principal thing because it governs every area of our lives, and impacts and affects how we think, how we act, how we behave, how we speak, and how we interact with others. Wisdom is the principal thing because it brings us under the government of the living God. The reality and concept of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is that Adam and Eve were completely and utterly free and naked prior to eating of the fruit of that tree. Adam and Eve were free to enjoy the pleasures of the garden, and they were free to partake of the fruit of any tree in the garden save one. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed in the sight of each other, and even in the sight of the LORD. Once they partook of the fruit of the tree, however, they placed themselves under the government of heaven, and placed themselves under a government within themselves that would need to discern and recognize good and evil—and not only discern good and evil, but also choose between the two. Adam and Eve sinned against the LORD when they partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as a result of that transgression they were banished from the garden of Eden forever, and Adam was forced to till and contend with the ground—till and contend with that very substance from which he was made. For the rest of Adam’s life he would be forced to till and contend with the very substance from which he had been made—this in addition to being under the government of God and needing to choose between right and wrong, between good and evil, and between that which pleases the LORD, and that which displeases Him. It’s important for us to recognize and understand that, for wisdom not only governs our lives, but also brings us under the government of the living God as it directs our steps and directs our paths revealing where we should go and where we should refrain .
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I am absolutely convinced that wisdom brings us under the government of heaven, and as such it brings us into the place where it not only guards us as individuals, but it also guides our paths. Directly linked and connected to the government of wisdom within our lives is the ability to guide and direct our paths, and to guard our hearts, to guard our minds, to guard our souls and our spirits. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth within our hearts and our souls, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of just how necessary and how valuable wisdom is within our hearts and within our lives. We have been invited—yea, we have been instructed—to pursue and to lay hold of wisdom, and yet it is about so much more than simply our pursuing wisdom, but is about our actually allowing wisdom to have its perfect work within our lives as it reaches into the very depths of who we are. Wisdom—when it is sought after and laid hold of—has the absolutely awesome ability to completely and utterly change and transform us from the inside out, and all the wise sayings which we find and read in chapters ten onward in this poetic book are declarations and demonstrations of the fruit and manifestation of wisdom being able to have its perfect work within our lives. If we are truly being honest with ourselves and with the eternal God we must admit that it is not enough simply to pursue wisdom—and even to get wisdom—for wisdom must be allowed to touch and completely transform every area of our lives. Wisdom must be able to reach and extend into absolutely every area of our life and transform us into a people that live, and move, and think and speak differently than those around us. Wisdom is the principal thing because it not only transforms our lives, but it brings us under the government of heaven and allows the divine Word of God and the principles, precepts, statutes, commands, and the like to rule and reign within our hearts, within our souls, and within our minds. Wisdom is the chief and principal thing because with it we are able to truly walk in a manner that pleases and glorifies the living God. When wisdom is permitted to truly have its perfect work within our lives it allows us to walk in the path that is outlined before us within the divine Word of God which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. What’s more, is when we pursue wisdom and allow it to work within our lives it allows us to be found in that place where we hide the divine word of God within our hearts that we might not sin against Him. The question we must ask ourselves is not only whether or not we are pursuing wisdom, but also whether or not we are allowing and have allowed wisdom to be able to effectively work within our hearts and lives that we might be a people transformed by the government of heaven and the divine word of God.