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 seventeen through nineteen of this Old Testament book. A FRIEND LOVETH AT ALL TIMES, AND A BROTHER IS BORN FOR ADVERSITY (Proverbs 17:17). THE WORDS OF A MAN’S MOUTH ARE AS DEEP WATERS, AND THE WELLSPRING OF WISDOM AS A FLOWING BROOK” (Proverbs 18:4). THE NAME OF THE LORD IS A STRONG TOWER: THE RIGHTEOUS RUNNETH INTO IT, AND IS SAFE” (Proverbs 18:10). BEFORE DESTRUCTION THE HEART OF MAN IS HAUGHTY, AND BEFORE HONOUR IS HUMILITY” (Proverbs 18:12). HE THAT ANSWERETH A MATTER BEFORE HE HEARETH IT, IT IS FOLLY AND SHAME UNTO HIM” (Proverbs 18:13). A MAN’S GIFT MAKETH ROOM FOR HIM, AND BRINGETH HIM BEFORE GREAT MEN” (Proverbs 18:16). A BROTHER OFFENDED IS HARDER TO BE WON THAN A STRONG CITY: AND THEIR CONTENTIONS ARE LIKE THE BARS OF A CASTLE (Proverbs 18:19). DEATH AND LIFE ARE IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE: AND THEY THAT LOVE IT SHALL EAT THE FRUIT THEREOF (Proverbs 18:21). A. MAN THAT HATH FRIENDS MUST SHEW HIMSELF FRIENDLY: AND THERE IS A FRIEND THAT STICKETH CLOSER THAN A BROTHER (Proverbs 18:24). THE DISCRETION OF A MAN DEFERRETH HIS ANGER; AND IT IS HIS GLORY TO PASS OVER A TRANSGRESSION (Proverbs 19:11). THERE ARE MANY DEVICES IN A MAN’S HEART; NEVERTHELESS THE COUNSEL OF THE LORD, THAT SHALL STAND (Proverbs 19:21). As I sit here today considering the words which are written in this particular portion of Scripture I cannot help but be directly confronted with two distinct passages of Scripture which are found within the New Testament. The more I read and consider the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Proverbs the more I come face to face with the tremendous need for love toward my neighbor, as well as the amazing love Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God has toward me. I read the words which are found within the book of Proverbs and I encounter the love of God in such a powerful and profound way that brings me face to face with the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament epistle of First Corinthians. I have to admit that the more I read the words found in the book of the proverbs of Solomon the more I encounter the tremendous depths of friendship and love—not only friendship with others, but also friendship with the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. Moreover, I encounter and come face to face with the overwhelming and extravagant love of the Father for and toward His children and His people.
I realize that when reading the Old Testament book of Proverbs it might just seem like a compilation and collection of wise sayings which were written and spoken by Solomon the son of David and king of Israel, however, I am convinced that if you read this Old Testament you must allow your heart and your soul to be absolutely land completely captivated by the tremendous love and friendship the living God desires to have with you—and not only desires to have with you, but also desires you to have with others. You will find within this Old Testament book of Proverbs a tremendous amount of language concerning our speech, concerning our actions , concerning our behavior, and concerning our interaction with others, and we must allow the truth and weight that is wrapped up in this to truly penetrate the depths of our heart and the depths of our soul. Through the writings of Solomon in the book of the Proverbs we must allow ourselves to encounter something truly profound and truly deep within our hearts and our souls, as we encounter an invitation to draw closer to God—and not only draw closer to others. I can’t help but read the Old Testament book of Proverbs and find within it a wonderful and powerful invitation to engage myself in a deeper level of fellowship, a deeper level of commitment, a deeper level of dedication and friendship with others in my life. These wise sayings which were written and spoken by Solomon the son of David are a wonderful and powerful invitation to truly examine the condition of our heart, the condition of our soul, the condition of our mind, and to truly evaluate how we conduct ourselves within this life. Through the writings of Solomon found in this compilation and collection of proverbs and wise sayings we are brought to a place where we not only recognize our need for wisdom, our need for knowledge, our need for discernment, our need for discretion, and so much more, but we are also brought face to face with our need to truly align ourselves with the principles which are found within the divine word of God.
As I continue even further in this writing I feel compelled to draw and call our attention to the words which our Lord Jesus spoke unto his disciples on the night He was betrayed. What’s more, is I also feel the overwhelming need to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament epistle of First Corinthians. The words which we find within the fifteenth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John, as well as the words found in the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthians bring us face to face and challenge us with our definition of love—and not only our definition of love, but also how we engage ourselves with love in this life. I feel it is absolutely necessary to consider the words which our Lord and which His apostle unto the Gentiles spoke and wrote concerning love, for their words help set the foundation for what we find within this Old Testament book of Proverbs. Before we continue any further in this particular writing, I would like to invite you to consider the words of our Lord and the words of His apostle, for their words help us to truly grasp a firm and sure foundation that needs to lie at the very heart of all our relationships—namely, that our Lord loves us, and what that love manifested within our lives must needs look like. With that being said, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, as well as the words which were written by the apostle Paul in the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:11-19).
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part shall e done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).
It is with these words we not only encounter the tremendous love of the Father and the Son toward us, and the invitation and command to love one another, but we also encounter a truly wonderful and beautiful picture of what that love looks like. We dare not, we cannot and must not read the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and not be completely and utterly confronted with a beautiful picture of love, and what that love looks like within our lives. In all reality, I would dare say that we are a completely and utter reflection of the love of the Father and the love of the Son, and that the love we show and demonstrate to others is but a reflection of the love which our Lord had for and toward us. Scripture is perfectly and abundantly clear that we love because He first loved us, and the love which we express and manifest in this life toward others is but an extension and expression of the love of the Father. Perhaps the single greatest we must ask ourselves when considering this reality is whether or not we are indeed an extension of the divine love of the Father and of the Son. We must be willing to truly examine and confront ourselves and see if we are truly in the love of the Father and truly in the love of the Son. The apostle Paul wrote in the first epistle written unto the Corinthians all those things that love is and all those things which love does, and we must recognize and understand that love is more than simply a raw emotion and feeling we have within our heart and within the depths of our love. Love is more much more than an emotion, but is an extravagant expression of the love of the Father toward others—a love that is demonstrated, a love that is manifested, a love that is freely given and freely poured out. The love which the apostle Paul writes and speaks about in the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints is a wonderful and powerful picture of the love which we are to exercise and demonstrate toward others within this life, for Scripture makes it perfectly and abundantly clear that we are to love in more than simply word, but are to love in deed and truth. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament epistle of First John written by the apostle John unto the Ephesian congregation. Moreover, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the second chapter of epistle written by James the half-brother of Jesus:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall we Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Can, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth I n him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:1-24).
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to p reasons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also. Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 3:1-20).
With these passages of Scripture we find both the apostle John, as well as James the half-brother of Jesus emphatically and boldly declaring that we must love—not in word only, but in deed and truth. The apostle John wrote how we must not love in word only, but in deed and truth, while James wrote about faith without works as being dead. I am absolutely and completely convinced that love in word only and faith without works are intrinsically and completely connected, and we must understand the mighty and powerful need within our hearts and lives to be those who love in deed and in truth, and those who show and demonstrate our faith through and by our works. It’s important that James never wrote and declared that we were or are justified by our works, but rather that our works are an expression, and extension, and manifestation of our faith. Moreover—just as works are a direct extension and expression of our faith, so also are our deeds an expression of our love. Perhaps the question which must be asked at this point is whether or not we are those who love in deed, and whether or not we are those who show our faith by our works. Are we those who are willing to do more than simply love in word only, and speak of faith alone, and yet we don’t actually take the time to express our faith and our love to those we interact with and encounter on a routine and daily basis. In all reality, I would dare say that there is a certain wisdom that is found within love as wisdom is a necessary and integral part of the love we demonstrate and manifest toward our neighbor in this life. The entire Old Testament book of Proverbs is a book that is centered upon a pursuit of wisdom, a pursuit of knowledge, a pursuit of discretion, a pursuit of discernment according to the Law and commands of the LORD. We cannot afford to miss this pursuit, for I am convinced that at the very heart of our demonstrating our love through deed and manifesting our faith through works there is a certain degree and measure of wisdom that is needed within our hearts and souls.
As you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will find that there is a tremendous amount of language that deals specifically and exclusively with the pursuit of wisdom and those who refuse to seek wisdom. Throughout this Old Testament book there is a wonderful and powerful call to seek and pursue wisdom, and to make our pursuit of wisdom one of the chief desires and ambitions within our heart and life. The book of Proverbs is more than simply a book of wise sayings written by Solomon king of Israel, but it is a powerful invitation to participate in the pursuit of wisdom, and to seek wisdom with everything we have within us. For Solomon a life without wisdom and a life without a pursuit of wisdom is a life without purpose. I am convinced that the more you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs the more you will encounter this powerful call and invitation to participate in the pursuit of wisdom, and to seek wisdom more than riches, more than wealth, more than possessions, and more than anything this life has to offer. Solomon firmly believed and convicted by the reality that the pursuit of wisdom should be at the very core and foundation of our lives and should be a driving force within our daily routine. For Solomon each day should be filled with a passionate pursuit of wisdom, for it is wisdom that leads and guides our steps, and it is wisdom that helps us with each and every day we are blessed and a fortunate enough to have upon this earth. Solomon was given the opportunity to ask the LORD for anything when He appeared unto Him in a dream by night, and Solomon chose to ask for one thing above everything else—more than riches, more than wealth, more than possessions, more than long life, more than the necks of his enemies, and more than anything else men and women might seek after and pursue. Solomon asked the LORD for wisdom and for a wise and discerning heart, for Solomon recognized that it was wisdom given him straight from the LORD Himself that would allow him the ability to rightly govern the people of God, and to rightly discern between what was right and wrong, and what was good and evil. The tragic part to this is that when you come to the latter years of Solomon’s life he seemingly chose to neglect and a ignore wisdom, for Solomon would have seven hundred wives and princesses, in addition to three hundred concubines. Moreover, it would be his wives who would turn his heart away from serving the living God, and would turn his heart after false and strange gods.
It is truly something worth mentioning that for Solomon, a pursuit of wisdom was absolutely greater than any pursuit of riches and material wealth in this life. Although Jesus didn’t specifically liken wisdom unto the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of heaven unto riches, Jesus emphasized the pursuit of the kingdom of heaven as man’s chief pursuit and man’s chief ambition and desire. If you turn and direct your attention to the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus speaking directly unto the multitude which gathered themselves unto Him for to hear what He would speak unto them. The words which are found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this gospel are commonly referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount,” and it is within this sermon Jesus emphasized the tremendous pursuit that would be needed within the heart and life of each and every one who wished and desired to follow after Him. Before we get into the pursuit of wisdom found within the Old Testament book of Proverbs, and how that pursuit of wisdom completely and utterly transforms every area of our life we must consider the following words which Jesus spoke concerning the pursuit of the kingdom of heaven, and how the pursuit of the kingdom of heaven must be our single and sole pursuit and ambition within this life. Jesus would declare unto those who came unto Him to hear and listen to His words declaring that no man could serve two masters, and that he would either love the one and hate the other, or love the other and hate the one. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew beginning to read with and from the twenty-fourth verse of the sixth chapter:
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, orb what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they r rap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little f with? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? OR, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:24-34).
It’s actually quite interesting and intriguing to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for in the same passage of Scripture where Jesus speaks about raiment and food, and how our heavenly Father knows we have need of these things, He speaks of Solomon who was not arrayed like unto the lilies of the field. What’s more, is that within this passage of Scripture Jesus boldly and emphatically declared that we must seek first the kingdom of heaven, and His righteousness, and all these things—all these things which we didn’t ask for, all these things which we don’t ask for, all these things which the Father knows we have need of can and will be added unto us. What’s more, is that it’s interesting that when speaking directly unto Solomon the LORD declared that because he asked for wisdom above everything else he could have asked for, the LORD would give him those things he didn’t ask for—wealth, possessions, fame, stature, and the like. Solomon’s chief ambition was the wisdom of God, and essentially the heart and mind of heaven, and as a direct result of his desire and ambition being the wisdom of God directly connected to His kingdom in the earth, the LORD would give him all those things which he did not ask for. We dare not and must not miss this truly awesome and incredible truth and reality, for within the narrative of Solomon’s pursuit of wisdom we find his heart being for the kingdom of God as manifested within the earth, and we find his desire for the heart and mind of the LORD. I am absolutely and completely convinced that to pursue wisdom—specifically the wisdom of heaven—is to pursue the heart and mind of the Father. For Solomon, he could have asked for riches, he could have asked for wealth, he could have asked for possessions, he could have asked for long life, and he could have asked for the necks of his enemies, and yet he realized there was something more that was needed within his heart and soul—namely, wisdom. Solomon realized that the great need within his heart and life was not riches, was not wealth, was not possessions, and was not those material and earthy things that others would have gone after and pursued. Solomon sought after wisdom, for Solomon knew that wisdom would be the single greatest treasure that one could possess. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will find Solomon emphatically declaring and speaking of the great worth and value of wisdom. Moreover, within this Old Testament book of Proverbs we find the voice of wisdom crying out to the simple ones inviting them to seek after and pursue her with everything they had within them. Each and every wise saying that is found within and throughout the book of Proverbs is a manifestation of the pursuit of wisdom—and not only the pursuit of wisdom, but also the fruit of wisdom.
With all of this in mind I invite you to consider the invitation Solomon offered unto his son, and unto those who would read his words to pursue wisdom. What’s more, is that in addition to the invitation Solomon provided to pursue wisdom, we also find wisdom herself crying out unto the simple ones and inviting them to pursue her with everything they had within them. Once we discern and recognize the invitation of wisdom, and once we make up our hearts and our minds that we are going to pursue wisdom we Weill Elgin to see the fruit and the manifestation of wisdom within our hearts and within our live. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this wonderful and powerful invitation given by Solomon to pursue wisdom, as well as the invitation which wisdom herself offers and provides unto all those who would hear and listen to her voice, for once we make up within our hearts and minds we are going to pursue wisdom, we begin to read this book of Proverbs in an entirely different light. The entire Old Testament book of Proverbs is not only about the invitation and pursuit of wisdom, but also the manifestation of wisdom within our hearts and lives. We cannot read this Old Testament book of Proverbs without considering the invitation of Solomon to pursue wisdom, as well as the invitation of wisdom herself to come after and pursue her. Once we have made the decision to follow and pursue wisdom within our lives we will begin to find and discover the fruit of wisdom in our relationships, the fruit of wisdom in our relationships, the fruit of wisdom within our words, the fruit of wisdom in our actions, and the fruit of wisdom in each and every area of our lives. Considering this I invite you to now read the words which are found in this Old Testament book concerning the wonderful invitation of Solomon to pursue wisdom, as well as the invitation of wisdom herself to pursue and come after her. Beginning to read with and from the first chapter of this book you will encounter Solomon’s invitation to pursue wisdom, as well as wisdom’s invitation which itself is voiced and heard—not only in the days and generation of Solomon, but in each and every generation since:
“Wisom crieth without; She uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for they that hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simply shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:20-33).
“Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with prudence and fiend out knowledge of witty inventions .The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decrees justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than find gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures” (Proverbs 8:1-21).
“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 seekest her as 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 preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-9).
“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you goo doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, t enter 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 not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsaken 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 thee” (Proverbs 4:1-9).
“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: For blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:32-36).
“Wisdom hath buildest her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her win; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it” (Proverbs 9:1-12).
It is quite clear from the words which are found within these passages of Scripture that there is a tremendous invitation that is presented within the book of Solomon—not only an invitation from Solomon himself, but also an invitation from wisdom herself. As you read the words found in the opening nine chapters of this poetic book you will find a wonderful and powerful invitation from both Solomon and wisdom herself unto the simple ones, and unto those who seek understanding to pursue her with everything that is inside them. What’s more, is that through this book we find that wisdom is of far greater worth and far greater value than wealth, of far greater value than riches, of far greater value than possessions, and is the principal and chief thing. For Solomon—when the LORD appeared unto him by night and invited him to ask anything he desired, he sought not to ask for wealth, nor for possessions, nor for riches, nor for fame, nor for the necks of his enemies, nor for any of the other things we desire and seek after in this life. When the LORD appeared unto Solomon and extended a wonderful and powerful invitation to ask of Him whatever his heart desired, Solomon responded by acknowledging a that the task and assignment before him was too great, and that he desperately needed help from the LORD. In response to this cry for help from the LORD, Solomon asked for the that one thing which he perceived as being the chief and principle thing to accomplish and fulfill what the LORD had ordained and appointed him to do—namely, rule and govern the people of Israel, as well as build the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. For Solomon, his heart and his desire was for the kingdom of God upon and within the earth as evidenced and manifested through the people of Israel, and in direct response to that kingdom, Solomon asked for the one thing he realized and recognized he needed more than anything else—namely, wisdom. Solomon realized and recognized that above everything else in this life he would need wisdom, for wisdom alone would guard his heart, and wisdom alone would ensure that he properly and rightly governed the people of God. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that Solomon could have asked for anything when the LORD appeared to him that night at Gibeon, and yet Solomon chose to ask for that one thing which most would not have asked for. What we find in the narrative of Solomon is a powerful example of the words which James wrote when he invited those who lacked wisdom to ask God who gives liberally and without any variation or shadow of turning.
I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that wisdom is so absolutely critical and crucial within our lives, and how wisdom must needs be a chief desire and chief ambition within our hearts and our souls. We can walk through this life being simple, and we can walk through this life being foolish, and yet I am convinced that to do so would be to find ourselves unable to rightly and properly walk in true obedience and faithfulness before the living God. In all reality, we must be willing to acknowledge the fact that we have been called to pursue wisdom with everything that is within us, and to make wisdom a chief pursuit and chief desire within our hearts and our souls. For Solomon—a life without wisdom is a life without purpose and a life without any form of guidance at all, for it is wisdom that leads us, that guides us, and that instructs us. It is wisdom as gleaned through, from and by the divine and eternal Word of God that guards our hearts, that guards our steps, and that guards our paths. Wisdom must be the chief pursuit and chief desire within out heart, for wisdom alone helps us to walk in that way that is proper, and right, and true before the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable and astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on just how critical and vital wisdom is. Oh we could attempt to go through this life without pursuing wisdom, and without desiring wisdom above everything else, and yet in the process of doing so we will find ourselves walking in ways and paths that have not been ordained, nor appointed by the living God. Solomon recognized and understood how important wisdom was, for wisdom would help secure those who pursued her, and would help keep them on the proper path within this life. One of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who are seeking after and pursuing wisdom. Are we those who are seeking after wisdom, and making it our chief and principle pursuit? Are we those who are seeking first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness knowing that all these other things can and will be added unto us? Are we spending all our time seeking after those things which are false, and those things which have no eternal value, weight, measure or worth, and completely and utterly neglecting that pursuit which should govern all other pursuits? Solomon had the chance to ask the LORD for anything his heart desired without knowing whether or not the LORD would grant him his request, and in response to the LORD’s invitation, Solomon chose to ask for wisdom—a powerful example in the Old Testament about seeking first the kingdom of God, and asking wisdom of God in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
As you continue reading the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will find that this pursuit of wisdom is of great importance, and great value, for wisdom governs absolutely every area and every part of our lives. You cannot read the Old Testament book of Proverbs without coming face to face with the fact that wisdom guards our relationships, wisdom guards our speech, wisdom guards our actions, wisdom guards our attitudes, wisdom guards our behaviors, and so much more. The Old Testament poetic book of Solomon brings us face to face with the tremendous and wonderful reality of just how much wisdom is involved in every part of our life. The more I read and consider the Old Testament book of Proverbs the more I am convinced of something which I previously wrote—namely, that one of the greatest studies and one of the greatest pursuits we can have within this life is to study the psalms of David, the proverbs of Solomon, and the parables of Jesus. There is not a doubt in my mind that if you want to truly understand how to worship the true and living God, if you want to truly understand wisdom, and if you want to truly understand the kingdom of heaven, it is absolutely necessary to consider all three of these realities found within the gospel. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand just how valuable and how much worth is found within the parables, the proverbs and the psalms, for these three forms of teaching and instruction help provide a strong foundation within our hearts and lives concerning how we ought to live our lives in this life, and in the midst of this generation. We dare not and must not miss this supreme reality, for there is a great need for us to allow the wisdom of heaven to guard our hearts and to guard paths in this life. We cannot make any attempt to walk through this life without pursuing wisdom, for wisdom is one of the chief and principle things that helps guard our heart and helps govern our ways. Through the Old Testament book of Proverbs we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that wisdom is of great worth and intrinsic value within our hearts and lives, for it is wisdom that helps our feet stay on the true and right path within this life. It is wisdom that helps secure our path, and ensure that we do not walk to the right or to the left, but keep our eyes fixed and placed firmly ahead. It is wisdom that helps us truly understand the ways of God, and truly helps us to know and understand that which the LORD our God requires of us, and what the LORD has called us to within this life. The underlying question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are pursuing wisdom with everything we have within us, and whether or not we are making wisdom a chief pursuit and chief desire within our hearts and lives.
Upon moving within and throughout the words which are found within this Old Testament book of Proverbs you will truly encounter and come face to face with the fact that our pursuit of wisdom can and will directly impact and affect every area of our life, for wisdom touches absolutely everything we do and everything we are. Wisdom is not something which should be treated casually and cavalierly, for it is wisdom that helps us to truly understand the way in which we should walk that we might walk in it. Wisdom is essentially the direct manifestation of the word of God which the psalmist declared was a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path. Moreover, it was the psalmist who declared that they had hidden the word within their hearts that they might not sin against the LORD. Within and throughout the book of Proverbs there is this stark contrast between the wise and the foolish, and between the wicked and the righteous, and if there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning these distinctions, it’s that that one thing which separates these two groups and categories of people is wisdom and the pursuit thereof. If you want to know what separates the wise from the foolish you need only look unto the wisdom which the wise pursue and make their chief desire and ambition. The righteous have at the very heart and core of their being an underlying wisdom that is powered directly from their pursuit of wisdom, and wisdom being permitted to guard and govern every area of their lives. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand, it’s just how necessary and a how vital wisdom is within our hearts, within our souls, within our minds, and within every area of our lives, for it is wisdom that helps us to truly understand that which the LORD our God requires of us. What’s more, is that wisdom can only be found within the Word of God, and through fellowship and relationship with the LORD. Do not think or expect for a single moment that you can possess the wisdom of heaven, nor the wisdom of God without and apart from devoting and committing yourself to the divine Word of God in faithful study and prayer. Do not think, nor believe for a single moment that wisdom will miraculously come to you, and will miraculously fill your heart and your soul. The book of Proverbs painted a very clear picture that wisdom is something which must be searched for, and it must be something that must be pursued and desired above everything else within us.
Throughout the chapters found within the book of Proverbs you will find just how much wisdom guards and guides our hearts and our lives, and how wisdom must needs guard and govern area of our lives. You cannot read this Old Testament poetic book without coming face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality that there is a great need within your life for your words, your actions, your attitudes, your reactions, your behaviors, and the like to be governed by something other than yourself. Solomon made it very clear that there is a way that seems right unto man, and the end thereof is death and destruction. We can try and attempt to be a law unto ourselves, and we can try and govern our own hearts, and our own minds, and our own souls, and yet the truth of the matter is that to try and be a law unto ourselves, and to try and govern ourselves is nothing more than a vain and futile attempt. We would like to think that we can be trusted to guard and guide our way and our path, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. We dare not be so naïve to think and believe that we can be responsible for guarding and guiding our own path and our own steps without and apart from wisdom, and without wisdom that is found within the divine and eternal Word of God. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have great need to place ourselves before and within the divine presence of God with His holy Word before us and diligently entreat the face of the living God to give us wisdom needed to faithfully observe and follow all that the LORD has commanded and instructed. We must realize and recognize that there is a direct link and connection between wisdom and the word of God, and the Law of the LORD. Solomon recognized and understand that wisdom was found within and through the Law of the LORD, and within the Word, and that there was absolutely no way of obtaining wisdom without and apart from it. Solomon wrote and spoke time and time again about the pursuit of wisdom, and even the knowledge of the holy, and it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this tremendous truth, for whether or not wisdom is found within our hearts, and whether or not wisdom is allowed to guard and govern our hearts, our minds, our souls, our lips, our tongue, our feet, and everything within us is entirely up to our pursuit of wisdom as found within the divine Word of God, and within His commands, His statutes, His precepts, his decrees, and the like. In all reality, I would dare say that there is a tremendous link and connection between the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms and the entire Old Testament book of Proverbs, for the chief pursuit in this particular chapter of the Psalms is the word of God, while the chief pursuit in the book of Proverbs is wisdom—and not merely wisdom, but the wisdom of God and the wisdom of heaven.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we consider the words which are found within these chapters of the Old Testament book of Proverbs, for the words which are found therein are words which help us to truly understand just how critical and just how vital wisdom is within our hearts and lives. When you begin reading with and from the tenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will quickly encounter a tremendous amount of ways wisdom guards our hearts and our lives, and how wisdom directly impacts and affects pretty much every area of our life. If we are willing to be honest with ourselves, and with the LORD, we must acknowledge and admit the absolutely wonderful truth that wisdom must needs be an integral and crucial role within our hearts and lives, for it is through wisdom we are able to understand that which the LORD our God requires, and how we are to walk within this life. It is through wisdom we are able to understand exactly what the LORD our God requires, and how we are to conduct our lives. You cannot read the book of Proverbs from the tenth chapter on and not encounter and come face to face with just how much wisdom directly impacts our daily lives, our daily routines, and the daily paths and steps we take. You cannot read the words and wise sayings of Solomon from the tenth chapter on and not see and encounter just how much wisdom guards our steps and guards our paths. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we have great need within this life to pursue wisdom with everything that is within us that our feet might not slip, and that we might continue to walk faithfully along and upon that narrow way we have been called to walk. Wisdom is indeed found within the word of God, and the word of God is and must be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Wisdom is indeed found within the word of God, and we must needs hide the word of God within our hearts that we might not sin against the LORD. I firmly believe, and it is my conviction that when reading these wise sayings of Solomon we encounter various statements and sayings that reveal just how much wisdom should indeed guard how we walk, how we live, how we act, and how we move within this life. A life without wisdom might very well be described as a life of foolishness—and not only foolishness, but also wickedness and rebellious in the sight of the living God, for it is wisdom as found within the divine word of God that truly helps us to understand what the LORD our God requires, and how to walk in a manner that truly and completely pleases Him. The question we are forced to ask ourselves is whether or not we truly understand what the LORD our God requires, and what the LORD our God is asking of us as is evident within His divine Word, and within His Law, His statutes, His precepts, His decrees, His commands, etc.
We know for a fact that Solomon instructed and invited his son to pursue wisdom above everything else, for Solomon recognized and understood that wisdom would help guard his son—not only from the wicked, but also from the strange woman. You cannot come out of the first nine chapters of the Old Testament book of Proverbs without coming face to face with the tremendous reality that Solomon sought to invite and command his son to pursue wisdom and to lay hold of it with everything that he had that it might keep and guard him from the strange woman, and from going down unto her house. Solomon knew that wisdom was perhaps the single greatest way to keep his son from walking in a path of devastation and destruction, and within the first seven chapters of this Old Testament book you will find Solomon repeatedly speaking about the immoral woman, and a repeatedly speaking about this strange woman whom his son needed to avoid and stay as far away from. We cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss the tremendous safeguard and protection wisdom affords us in this life. If we pursue wisdom and make it our chief and ultimate pursuit and goal—not only can and not only will it keep and guard us from the immoral and strange woman, but it can and will completely and utterly guard our hearts and our minds. Wisdom has the awesome and unbelievers ability to guard and protect us as we attempt to walk through this life, and wisdom is the means whereby we are able to truly discern that true and proper path which is before us—that path which the LORD has set before us, and that which the LORD desires we walk in. We know that wisdom is intended to keep us from going down unto the strange woman, and to keep us from going unto her house and going in unto her, but we must also realize that wisdom seeks to guard and guide every area of our lives. Wisdom is that single and sole pursuit that will help guard our steps and guard our path that we might not walk in a manner that is displeasing in the sight of the living and eternal God. For Solomon, wisdom was the means whereby every part of our lives is brought under the government of heaven. Wisdom was the means whereby we are able to discern between good and evil, between right and wrong, between wickedness and righteousness, and to help us choose that which leads to life, and that which leads to health and wholeness. It is with this in mind that we must recognize and understand that wisdom—if it is put in its true and proper place within our hearts and lives can completely and utterly transform how we live, how we act, how we think, how we speak, and how we walk before and in the sight of the LORD our God.
If and as you consider the words which are found within these chapters you will encounter and come face to face to face with countless references that show and demonstrate just how wisdom guards and protects our hearts and our lives. The words and wise sayings which are found in this Old Testament poetic book from the tenth chapter on wonderfully and powerfully demonstrate the truly awesome and amazing reality that wisdom—when it is allowed to have its perfect work within our lives—can and will dramatically transform every area of our life. Oh that we would be those who are willing to pursue wisdom with everything we have—and not only pursue wisdom, but also allow wisdom to have its perfect place and perfect work within our hearts and lives. The words which we find in chapters ten through the end of the book not only provide us with wise sayings, but also with demonstrations and manifestations of just what wisdom looks like within our lives. There is not a doubt in my mind that the wise sayings which are found in chapters ten throughout the rest of the book are powerful statements that truly reveal, demonstrate and show just what wisdom looks like within the lives of those who pursue it, and what a neglect and rejection of wisdom looks like for those who despise it. Oh we must read the wise sayings and proverbs of Solomon in the light that they are a powerful demonstration and manifestation of what wisdom looks like when it is in full operation and full swing within our hearts and lives. These wise sayings and proverbs of Solomon are designed and intended to be invitations to allow our lives to be governed by wisdom, as well as to powerfully show what that looks like in our day to day lives. The wise sayings which are found within the latter portion of this book bring us to terms with what wisdom does in fact look like, for it’s not enough merely to hear and receive the invitation to pursue wisdom in and of itself, for we must also understand and recognize what wisdom looks like within our lives. The words we find in these chapters are a powerful demonstration concerning the truly wonderful and beautiful reality of what wisdom looks like, and how wisdom directly impacts and affects every single area of our hearts and lives. Oh that we would be those who would not only pursue wisdom, but that we would also be those who allow wisdom to have its perfect work within our lives that there might be fruit that is brought forth before the LORD and in the sight of all those we encounter and come in contact with on a regular and day to day basis.