Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Wisdom Psalms

Previous weeks = Praise Psalms, Thanksgiving Psalms, Lament Psalms, Cursing Psalms.

Today:  Wisdom Psalms  (those psalms (or parts of them) which teach wisdom.)

Generally we think of "psalms" as praise, thanksgiving, etc.  but some psalms INSTRUCT the reader in proper living!! 

Example:  Psm. 1:1-6 - no direct praise.  Rather = instructs and encourages in "Righteous living",  Which (in Jewish mind) = WISDOM. - no division between the two.

Definition of Wisdom:  (3 views/elevations)
I.)  Contemporary View = Knowledge, understanding (maybe with good sense, good judgment, ability to discern?)
Example:  aged professor who's been teaching college for 40 years and has a room full of books that he's read.

II.)  Eastern tradition/view (even outside Jewish notion) = a person who can apply that knowledge/understanding to PRACTICAL, EVERYDAY AFFAIRS.  ie:  more than head = HANDS!!!  (Right thinking AND right acting)
Contrast:  Man with 3 PhDs. and a professorship BUT can't get along with spouse, kids, neighbors, etc.

III.)  Biblical View (understanding) = recognizes all wisdom originates with GOD  therefore attempts to order his/her life WISELY .... according  to God's Revelations!!  Bible talks of two types of ppl:  wise and fool.  No in between area.

Which is who the Bible declares that WISDOM (1) begins with the "fear" (reverential awe) of the LORD - (true God) - Prov. 1:7
(2)  Builds  (accumulates, grows) on personal "trust" in God.  Prov. 3:5-6  with Prov. 3:7-8

Wisdom Psalms are not about "generic" wisdom but wisdom FROM GOD!!

On one hand, if searching for Wisdom - generally go to Proverbs. (which devotes itself to that subject)
However, mixed with Praise and Worship of the Psalms = healthy doses of instruction in Righteous Living (which = WISE Living)

Examples:  Psm. 36:1-4 - Scripture often presents people in 2 categories.  Proverbs - wise/fool.  Psalms = righteous/ unrighteous.
So.... looking again at Psm. 36:1-4 -  we see:  1) no fear of God
                                                                      2)  wise in own eyes
                                                                      3)  words of mouth are wicked
                                                                      4)  ceased to be wise
                                                                      5)  does not reject what is wrong.
Looks very much like current situation in 21st century America.

Psm. 37:1-9 - Compare with brief Proverbs: 
Prov. 37:16, 21, 27, 35-36

A common theme in Psalms = ultimate fate of the unrighteous.Psm. 52:1-7 contrast with Psm. 52:8-9

Another common theme:  deceit of worldly wealth
Psm. 73:1-28   (do you see the wisdom in this Psalm??)
                        (do you see the value of Meditating on this Psalm???)

Tidbits of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the Psalms:
Psm. 112:1, 112:4, 112:9-10
Psm. 127:  1-2

Encouragement in righteous living is promoted throughout the Psalms (AND Righteous living is equated with WISE LIVING!!)  Psm. 128:1-4, 133:1-3

The takeaway on this:
(1)  The Worship of God + the pursuit of wisdom are Biblically compatible!

(2)  One should lead to the other.  Wisdom will lead to worship of God which will lead to more wisdom which will lead to worship of God which will lead to wisdom - in an upward spiral.

Example:  Solomon's conclusion:  Eccles. 12:13-14

Note:  Psalms so far is mostly an Old Testament study.  BUT, the ultimate Revelation of God is not in Psalms, but in Christ!!!  (example:  the Incarnation)

Therefore:  Christ = the Source of our wisdom and the Focus of our Worship.  We come to the Father through Christ.

So..... ultimately - whether seeking wisdom .. or offering Worship ..

Our goal is knowing God THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!!

There ARE only two ways:  The way of the WISE and the way of the FOOL!  The wise person seeks wisdom and tries to put it into practice!!! 

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