Rev. E. Anderson
These are but points to ponder that will initiate a greater comprehending of God’s mind and procedures. He desires that there should be a knowing of His sovereign plans and purposes so that life, ministry and service will be enriched and enhanced by His input. There is a revelation that His “thoughts and ways” are infinitely superior to ours – Isaiah 55:8, 9. We need to know and embrace them so that we might be able to achieve and succeed according to His desire and determinations. God bless you in your quest.
GOD’S THOUGHTS AND WAYS
THE WAY OF WISDOM
Reading Proverbs 8
PERSONIFIED: Personality is possibly the greatest and choicest fact of life itself. It certainly is beyond things. In this chapter wisdom is personified, that is, it is identified as a person – vv20—30. Note the references to the ‘I.’ Actually, one could say that God is the personification of wisdom. All wisdom is found in God therefore, He is wisdom personified. He is the source and fount of all knowledge and understanding that is why knowing God opens up the life to the treasury of truth, revelation and perception. Paul gives God an ascription in 1 Tim. 1:17. God reveals the extent of His knowledge and wisdom in Isaiah 40: 12-14, 27. Wisdom is also revealed and personified in Christ – 1 Cor. 1: 30: col. 2;3
PRINCIPAL: In the book of wisdom that instructs with regard to wisdom it makes the point continually that wisdom is the chief thing to possess – 3: 13; 4: 5,7. It is to be a must and a priority for life and living if such is to be profitable and successful. Wisdom gives true perception and understanding in all the essentials and touches upon all existence with regard to the past, present and future. It is the possessing of divine sight that discerns and knows: hindsight re-the past; insight re- the immediate; foresight re-the ultimate. Vision is clear and action is right in what is made known. That is why it stands out and must be sought and possessed.
ETERNAL: One of the aspects of wisdom that is to be pondered on as to its eternal quality – 8:22-30. Before anything was, wisdom was there, and is responsible for the appearance of all things that have been created in terms of creatures and things. It is not a temporary factor but has ever been existent. Wisdom precedes and presides over time and is responsible for time and everything else.
PURSUIT: A great emphasis within the book is that wisdom must become the main pursuit of life because of her status and the advantages to be gained in knowing and possessing her. The first sign and indication of wisdom is the recognition of its worth and wealth and the intention and commitment to go after it cost what it may. Its virtue and value is to be properly estimated and the desire and will is to be born to make it the first thing on the agenda of life. It becomes the number one priority and all else must become subservient to it.
1/. WISDOM IS BIRTHED AND DEVELOPED FROM A REVERENCE OF THE LORD – 1: 7
The book that deals with this all-important matter leaves no doubt where wisdom originates, where it proceeds from. It gives the sense and understanding as to where and when this unique and choice factor exists and is to grow.
It is stated on at least two occasions that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” – Proverbs 1:7; 9: 10. This is not to be viewed as a terrifying and mortifying fear and dread but a wholesome and healthy regard for God that is created by a warm and loving relationship with Him. It means that the person has come to truly know God and possesses the highest regard and reverence of Him. The infinite, perfect and beautiful qualities of God are known to a degree and are deeply valued and appreciated. He is esteemed in the best and truest manner and measure.
It is imperative that every person has a true understanding of God. This is to be imperative and major and should have an effect subsequently on man’s belief and behaviour, creed and conduct, This is more than simply believing God exists but that He is known and that knowledge has a determining effect upon life and living. It appreciates the holiness, righteousness, goodness, mercy etc., of God and His position as righteous Judge in and over life - Ecclesiastes 12: 13,14.
2/. WISDOM TEACHES IN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS – 8: 7, 8, 13, 20
It places a great deal of emphasis upon the way and ways of righteousness. If life is going to be profitable and successful then it has got to be founded on God’s way and procedure of righteousness. It is not what man thinks is morally and ethically right but what God affirms and expects. His standards and demands cannot and will not be diluted to meet the ideas and opinions of any generation. They will not be amended to suit the whims of any civilization and society.
Wise and sensible people recognize and respond to this factor. The foolish do not pay any heed and proceed on their foolish route and reap the inevitable consequences. Wisdom abominates wickedness at all levels and instructs the wise to hate and forsake the paths of sin. Those who listen to her will be given divine sense and strength in this and so be enabled to cut out a straight and good course in life that will be salvation and result in great progress and security. Wisdom builds in all the safeguards at every period of life so that there is no need, at any stage, for a person to fall foul of evil or the evil one. See the opening chapter as to its purpose – 1: 2-4.
3/. WISDOM CRIES OUT FOR CONSTANT ATTENTION AND APPLICATION – 8:1-6
The message of the book of Proverbs is that ‘wisdom is constantly crying out ‘ for an audience and for all to take notice of what she has to say – v4. It is so vital that she ‘lifts her voice.’ Only those who are deaf, indifferent and stupid take no heed.
Her first appeal to all is that they possess an understanding heart – v5. Wisdom makes the right kind of overtures at the start by stating what it was required in the first instance is not simply for a mind that understands but the heart. It is this part of man’s being that must see and be persuaded and won if wisdom is to be followed through. Many know but do not do because there is not the heart to accept and apply. Mere attention is not enough: there must be the heart to rightly react – c.f. Matthew 7: 24-29.
Her desire is to teach excellent things – those things worth knowing – v6. To be sat her feet proffers to be a most exciting and edifying experience because she only teaches the best, good and right things. There will be speaking of those things that leave the person exhilarated and the feel good factor. She has no hidden motives only the will to benefit and advance those instructed in every way.
Her commitment is to speak the truth – v7. Nothing but the plain truth will proceed from her lips –v9. There is integrity in her and integrity in her speech and language so that all know what she is saying and the message and meaning will be clear for all to understand. No misrepresentations will be in her utterances. She is not in the business of complications or confusion. She does not dwell in mist or darkness but facilitates the real, unvarnished truth so that no one need be mistaken.
4/. WISDOM WILL GIVE UNDERSTANDING BEYOND THE NORM – 8:11, 19
This is more than natural wisdom, although good natural sense is to be coveted and used to its fullest extent. No one should despise the ability to perceive things on a natural front and to employ the same to good and advantage – Exodus 28: 3; 1 Kings 7: 14. But this is wisdom that goes beyond such.
It is the wisdom that is priceless exceeding any human value, rubies, gold or silver. This cannot be gained at any university, college or school but comes from God and is learned in the school of life and is of more value than any earthly degrees or attainment whatever they may be. There are some people that are seemingly, exceedingly wise as far as this world is concerned but in point of fact lack the pure, true wisdom that comes from God. There are men’s ways of thinking and doing things that may appear wise but closer examination reveals that such is not the case. There is a wisdom in this world that James states is devilish – James 3:15 and this must be avoided. But there is a wisdom that proceeds from above that manifests itself in a noble manner – vv17, 18. This kind of wisdom is quality wisdom and cannot be bought on this world’s market.
It is the wisdom that creates and produces godly character that is more than any material values. One can know and identify true, divine wisdom because it has the hallmarks of God stamped on it and it has the effect of making men and women of sterling worth and quality that are priceless. They exceed and excel anything that can purchased on the material front. Wisdom brings into being people of utmost value in terms of trustworthiness, dependability etc.
5/. WISDOM WILL COMPENSATE WITH UNTOLD BENEDICTION – 8:32,35
Consequences always have to be looked at because what is seen in the ultimate can and does greatly affect the immediate. The end results can have an impact on the course of action to be taken in the present. Wisdom teaches the matter of end results. It always takes the long view in order to influence the now situation. It shows what will be the result of heeding her counsel and it is seen in the terms of blessing. There is a definite statement given in this connection : vv32,35.
· She saves from a life of folly and the end of disaster – Proverbs 4: 11, 12; 5: 1-6. When the life is guided by the Lord in and through His wisdom, there is a preservation from proceeding down the wrong and evil road and there is the blessing on being on the road that leads to happiness, progress and success. It is an awful thing to finish up ‘playing the fool’ – 1 Samuel 26: 21.
· She becomes a tree of life to those who possess her and they become a tree of life from whence wisdom flows – Ecclesiastes 7:12. Because there has been a learning to live at the fount and source of wisdom there is a living off the tree of life and life becomes the great quality characteristic. The individual also becomes a tree of life to others around. They begin to partake of the life they have and so the wisdom is ongoing to others. Countless others benefit from the person who possesses divine wisdom.
· She exalts and promotes in good position – Proverbs 4: 8. Because she has been given her due recognition, she knows how to pay back in fine style. Ultimately it is the wise that will take the reins of life and govern people and situations in an admirable, acceptable and profitable manner.
· She also makes the person strong and of a healthy condition – Proverbs 4: 9; Ecclesiastes 7: 19. The promise and prospect is of grace, goodwill and strength. No weakness whatsoever will be found in such at the end of the days. They will be full of verve and vigour and able not only to live and go forward themselves but be a source of life and inspiration to others.
There is a divine promise and assurance given to those who sense their lack of wisdom and desire its presence and action – James 1: 5. Prayer should be made in the right quarters to the right person and He will respond if the request comes from a sincere and believing mind and heart.
It must be ever remembered that the first step and stage in the possession of wisdom is a healthy and holy regard for the Lord – Proverbs 1:7. He must be given the place of utmost reverence and as this is done so there will inevitably proceed a life of wisdom. Those that “honour the Lord will be honoured” – 1 Samuel 2:30.