Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proverbs - Wisdom for Dummies (a reference for the rest of us)

Definition: A proverb is a short, witty, catchy statement designed to impart wisdom by summarizing one of life's lessons.
A. Common proverbs - "a stitch in time saves nine", "a penny saved is a penny earned", etc.
B. Modern proverbs - similar but updated to be relevant.


A Biblical proverb is the same, but the content and teaching is the wisdom of God! It's of divine origin, not just the wisdom of man.

So, Prov. 1:1 could read... "the Proverbs of the Lord.... as written, compiled, quoted by Solomon....."
This compares to the ACTS of the Apostles..... or Acts of the Holy Spirit as he worked through the Apostles.

Solomon spoke many proverbs!!! 1 Kings 4:32
There are approximately 432 proverbs in the book of Proverbs. BUT, remember, the origin, source is GOD!! 2 Pet. 1:20-21
All wisdom and truth has it's origin in God or else it is not truth and wisdom!

A Proverb may take many forms. Three of the most common are:

1. Contrasting Proverbs - "but", "therefore" - Prov. 11:1, 13:24, 14:1
2. Comparing Proverbs - "like, as better, than" - Prov. 15:17, 17:1, 11:22, 17:12
3. Complimenting Proverbs - "and" - Prov. 15:23, 15:33 "and" implied - Prov. 16:18, 16:24

In Proverbs we find 2 ways and 2 characters - the way of the wise, and foolish. The wise man and the foolish man.

This is in keeping with the Biblical Model. Matt. 7:24,26, 13-14. Psalms - righteous and unrighteous.
The Point= right way, wrong way. list/saved. sheep/goats. heaven/hell. blessed/cursed. wise man/fool


A fool is not one who is stupid, ignorant, unlearned. It is one who has disdain for the moral and ethical pr9nciples set forth by God, His people, and His Word. Psalm 14:1 (a) "..... no God."

A fool is not one who does not know how he should live....
It is one who knows right from wrong, knows what should or should not do, how should act, react ....... and refuses to recognize the truth and live accordingly.

A fool is not mentally deficient. A fool is morally deficient. Rom. 1:21-22

Illustration: Luke 12:16-21 . Wealth is not condemned in scripture. Condemned for putting trust in material things God has given.

POINT - not "if you do ______ you are a fool." BUT, if you do ________ you are acting in a foolish manner!

(next 2 weeks - Portrait of a fool/what NOT to look like!!

#1. To teach divine wisdom. This is more than words of the wise. 2 Pet. 1:20-21

#2. To make it simple. "wisdom for dummies"

#3. To provide moral instruction. (teach right and wrong)
In scripture - morality (truth) and wisdom are inseparable.

To direct us to God. - God is the source of all wisdom. Therefore, when we find wisdom, it leads us to find God.
#5. To provide opportunity for a better life.
Provers is practical wisdom, applicable, life changing, life shaping - Prov. 8:35 - "if you hear my words and do them."

The Preface to Proverbs. - Chapters 1 -11. These are to introduce the text, explain the importance, convince you to read on, etc.
Prov. 1:20-33, 8:1-11.

Wisdom is a gift from God, but it must be chosen!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wisdom - Lessons form King Solomon

I. The Definition of Wisdom
A. Common definition - knowledge, insight, discernment, good judgment, uncommon good sense.
B. Eastern definition - adds hands to head (actions to knowledge)
A wise man is a person with right thinking and right actions in daily life - James 3:13
C. Biblical definition.... figures God into the equation. Faith in a personal God.
A wise man knows God, fears God, obeys God, etc.
Prov. 1:7 (a), "Knowledge" Prov. 15:33 (a) - "wisdom"

Last week - definition, value, acquisition of wisdom.
Today - life lessons from the wisest of the wise King Solomon.

1 Kings 3:4-15 (followed by stories of his wisdom, wealth, and fame!!!)
1 Kings 10:23-24 .... "But...."
1 Kings 11:1-11 (followed by his death, the division and downfall of Israel)

II. The Big Question????? If Solomon had all wisdom and understanding, why would he? How could he?
Answers: He's human, he wanted to, he could (he was the King!)
AND.... he thought he could get away with it!! How?? Jer. 17:9

III. Lessons for Us (from the life of Solomon)

#1. God is pleased with a heart that seeks wisdom.
example of Solomon, and many scriptures

#2. God grants wisdom to the true seeker - James 1:5
Question: granted equally??? don't know. Still pondering that.
BUT, granted sufficiently!! 2 Cor. 12:9 - Paul's thorn in the flesh
Matt. 7:7-11 - G0d does not withhold good from people who ask for it.

#3. Wisdom must also be chosen. Prov. 4:5 "get" - Prov. 4:7
A. God grants you insight. Not B. your must use it or you don't have it!!

#4. You can be wise in your head and still be stupid with your hands.
Example: Solomon, lung surgeon who smokes two packs a day, etc.

A. Some here today ... primary need - acquire insight, understanding
B. others here today .... primary need - apply insight, already have understanding..
C. All of us.... need to recognize the faulty mechanism between head and hands....
ie: heart - Jer. 17:9 Prov. 4:23 Psalm 90:12 "heart of wisdom"

#5. You must not only choose wisdom, you must continue to choose it.
Solomon obvious example. Ezek. 28:11-17, 19
Observation: #1. A good start does not guarantee a good finish. You can deviate at any time!!

Observation #2: Wisdom perverted, misapplied is probably far more dangerous, detrimental, damaging than wisdom never acquired.
The simpleton is not as dangerous as the wise fool!!

#6. Your un-wise choices affect more than yourself. Solomon's decisions affected his wives, kids, nation, future generations.

#7. Some of your choices (decisions, actions) cannot be undone! They can be forgiven, but cannot be reversed. Gal. 6:7-8. So, get it right the first time as often as possible.

NOTE: need to correct last week's mis-statement.... ie: "if you do _______ you are a fool."
Should be: "If you do _______ you are acting like a fool, displaying foolish behavior". Does not necessarily mean you are a fool!!!
Question: At what point does foolish behavior constitute a full-blown fool? Don't know, but will explore that in future sermons.

Meanwhile - leave with two scriptures... Prov. 9:9 - my hope for us and this series
So..... start reading Proverbs
don't rush thru it..
and Remember ..... Prov. 9:10

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Prov. 1:1-7, 2:1-6, 9-11, 3:13-18, 4:5-9
These are just a small sample of what scripture teaches concerning Wisdom.

Two weeks ago - "Building a Stable Christian life" and we alluded to WISDOM'S place in this process.

Today - we'll expand on the study of Biblical Wisdom.

I. The definition/description of true wisdom.
A. Webster's Dictionary:
1. knowledge
2. ability to discern (insight)
3. good sense (judgment)
4. a combination of these three

B. Eastern Tradition adds.... a person with knowledge, insight and judgment ... who applied these things to practical affairs/everyday living (which is more than just head).
ie: a person with right thinking AND right actions. A person who utilized knowledge, experience, understanding, etc.

A wise man is a man skilled at life; could glean the most good from life with the least hassle; could make life work for him instead of against him. Ex: paddling with the current instead of against it.

C. *Biblical sense/Jewish understanding adds a bit more!!!
ie: includes
1. a knowledge of God and God's will (revealed in His Word)
2. a "fear" of God ie: reverential awe, recognizing His awesomeness, authority (Prov. 1:7, 15:33)
3. (a personal) trust in God.... (faith)
4. the belief that all wisdom originates with God and, therefore, ultimately comes from God. ( Prov. 2:6) (Job 28:20-28)

* to be wise in the Biblical sense is to be skilled in living in light of God's revelation, will.. To master the art of living as God intends you to live. A wise person in scripture is one who has "A black belt in life" - head knowledge and actions to match. James 3:13

II. The Value (practical) of true wisdom.

Note: All cultures/civilizations have valued wisdom, but often more for recognition/prestige than for practical value. This is NOT so in scripture!!! Prov. 8:19

Benefits listed in scripture are:
in wisdom you'll find knowledge and understanding, direction and purpose, insight and confidence, goodness, justice moral rightness, social rightness, personal growth and maturity, correction, discipline, and development, inner peace and prosperity (which doesn't mean monetary but wholeness/health, pleasure, satisfaction, contentment, a good name ... favor with man and with God (person out of favor with man and with God is NOT a wise person)

Also (especially) in Wisdom we find God..... so find eternal life, eternal purpose, eternal rewards, relationships.
IN WISDOM..... find LIFE. Prov. 8:32-26

III. The Acquisition of Wisdom (doesn't necessarily come with age)

#1. Recognize Wisdom's Practical Value
Point is not become a sage. The point is to maximize life which leads to maximum enjoyment and impact.
Important to recognize the value, because you must choose wisdom.

#2. Choose Wisdom - If you don't choose it, you won't have it.
On one hand, some may have a greater capacity for wisdom (gift of knowledge, discernment, etc)
BUT, scripture says it's mostly a choice! Prov. 4:5, 4:7 Point: not a fool because born a fool, but because choose fool.

#3. Seek God - who is the source of all truth, wisdom... Can't acquire true wisdom if don't seek God. Prov. 9:10, 15:33 - Wisdom is found in God, AND God is found in wisdom.
Contrast Rom. 1:21-22 - speaking of those who rejected God.

#4. Embrace Christ (God incarnate) - to reject Christ is to turn away from wisdom.
John 1:14 (a) "among us". Col. 1:15 (a) "God"
So.... John 10:10 (b) - "I have come...."

#5. Study the Word (God's revelation to us...)
Psalm 119:130

#6. Walk according to the Word
Mat. 7:24, 26 - wisdom is more than head, it is hands!
Illustration: Solomon - had wisdom, but chose not to implement it.

#7. Pray for Wisdom - James 1:5 (James 4:2 - "have not because you ask not")
It's not simply a matter of asking, BUT that is part of the process!!

#8. Accept Instruction - Prov. 19:20, 9:9 - some hard words!!

#9. Accept Correction - Prov. 15:31-32 more than receiving criticism well. Means adjusting accordingly. Prov. 13:10 "take advantage"

#10. Choose Wise Companions Prov. 13:20. Who do you hang with? Who do you listen to?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Experiencing the Presence of God

Heb. 13:5 , Deut. 31:6 - Texts - the promise of His Presence.

Founding fathers, early patriots believed this applied to themselves and their cause.
AND, reviewing history, journals, biographies, we'd mostly agree with them.
We believe God had a divine intention there.

BUT, did they feel His Presence?? Sense His Presence??
ie: were they always confident, comfortable, secure, at peace????
- when forging and signing the Declaration of Independence?? (a rash act, akin to a declaration of war)
- when taking up arms against a Super power?
- when war seemed to favor England?
-when attempts to forge an Nation from 13 separate, independent-minded/free spirited colonies.....?

Then undoubtedly believed in His Presence (favor).

But, did the confidence (faith) come accompanied with a feeling? experience? sense of His immediate presence?
What about doubts? fears? second thoughts???

So...... did they believe in/trust in/ act on the certainty of His Presence? Ans: yes.
BUT, did they feel? sense? experience His Presence? Ans: don't know, but suspect (being human) their experience is much like ours.

So today, "Experiencing the Presence of God"
(a subject we often explore.... because it is important/relevant/close to our heart)

We know that Christ is always with us. We also know there are times when He doesn't seem near.


#1. For most believers, experiencing His Presence is not the norm. According to Barna stats, most Christinas do not sense His presence and guidance that much.

#2. Whether this is His will is an ongoing debate.
On one hand, the relationship with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit leads to experience!
On the other hand, "we walk by faith, not by sight." - answer is probably a balance.

#3. The whole thing is subjective (internal) therefore impossible to measure!
And, therefore, a claim to experience not necessarily true.

So, a claim to never experience the Presence of God is not necessarily true!!
It's a matter of definition! Have you experienced conviction, correction? comfort/ confidence? illumination? a realization? clarity?

Some Biblical Examples to guide us....

#1. Job
- situation - no sense of God's Presence??
He kept questioning, lamenting. BUT, he never stopped believing. His heart caused him to doubt, but his head demanded that he keep believing.

#2. Jeremiah - his call, ministry, response
He did experience God's Presence, BUT that's not evident from the outcome!
So...... he cried aloud, lamented, vented.
Then, he resubmitted and carried on. Jer. 20:7-9

#3. Joseph - 17 when sold into slavery, 30 when second to Pharoah. That is 13 years of slavery and prison!!
We know God was with him. Gen. 39:1-2, 20-21
But.... what did he (Joseph) feel???

#4. Moses
On one hand, he clearly experienced God's Presence! Ex. 33:11 (a) - "friend"
On the other hand, Moses' words to Israel? us??? Deut. 6:4-9 Deut. 30:15-16
Nothing about "feeling and sensing"

Wrap up and summary....
A true experience/true sense of God's Presence is in His Hands!!

Therefore: our part (your part)

#1. Choose Christ He is the way into God's Presence. John 14:6

#2. Seek God (clear Biblical command) - not - seek the experience.
But it's more than experience!! Matt. 6:31-33 says seek His will/ways

#3. Request His Presence (experience)
Moses: "show me Your glory".
Jesus - "I won't leave you orphans"
Nature and person of the Holy Spirit in our life.
John 17:3 Phil. 3:10 (a) - "resurrection"

#4. Accept what you're given. (provided you've done your part)
This is in His wisdom, His best... Heb. 13:5 "be content...."

#5. Carry On - Gal. 6:9-10 1 Cor. 15:58

#6. Know that He is with you. Matt. 28:20 (b) ...."and surely I am with you....."