Monday, April 23, 2012

Books of Wisdom

The Life Project: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes
Candice Roberts

This week we are talking about wisdom literature of the Bible, Proverbs and
Ecclesiastes. It got me thinking about the absolute lack of wisdom in our world and
the overabundance of emotion. Emotions are from God, we learned this through the
book of Psalms last week. And though God delights in the expression of our emotions,
we were never meant to be a people ruled by our emotions. How many times have
you heard someone say, “it just feels right, I am following my heart,” or the Christian
version “I have a peace about it”. I know I have heard it. In fact, I have said this on
many occasions. And what I really mean is that my emotions are telling me “its okay”.
But we are not designed to be ruled by our emotions. Instead we were meant to be
ruled by the wisdom that comes from God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD
with all your heart , and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit
to him, and he will direct your paths.” If we want God to direct us, and I am sure that
sounds good to all of us, maybe we should unpack this proverb.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart …… If we are trusting in God, then we are not
trusting in ourselves. Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he
who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” But how many times, have we trusted ourselves
instead of God? We trust ourselves when we cheat on our taxes, because we are sure
God won’t provide for us. We trust in ourselves when we argue with our spouse,
because we are sure God cannot restore our relationship. We trust in ourselves when
we use substances, because we are sure God cannot fill our emptiness the way
substances can. There are really countless ways that we as emotional human beings
decide to trust ourselves instead of our God. If we want God to lead us, if we want for
Him to make our paths straight, we must first acknowledge that we don’t have a clue.
Lean not on your own understanding….. In Job28:12 and 13, God’s word says, “But
where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not
know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.” Our understanding is a
cheap imitation of God’s wisdom. It is a counterfeit, and like counterfeit money, it
might look good, but ultimately it is worthless. Our understanding is worthless. The
wisdom of God is priceless. Proverbs 8:10-11 says, “Choose my instruction instead of
silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.” We should choose the instruction of
God, His Word. God’ word is the benchmark for decision making. If a decision we are
making goes against what God says in His word, we are not using wisdom.

What does your wisdom come from? Does it come from emotions gone wild, your own
understanding of things? Or does it come from our Lord? James 3: 13-17 says, “Who
is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds
done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish
ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does
not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have
envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the
wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate,
submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

In all your ways, submit to Him…… When the Bible uses the word submission, the
word used is the Greek word "hupotasso" which means to line up under. It is a military
term meaning “to get in line.” James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist
the devil, and he will flee from you.” You see God is our commander; He has a way of
doing things. His way is pure, peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit,
impartial and sincere. His way is for us to “line up” under Him. And as this verse
shows us, submission to God is a key component in resisting the devil. Are you tired
of the devil having a hold on your life? Submit to our Lord. Submit to His ways. Lean
on His wisdom.

And He will direct your paths..…. How does God do this? Even if we are trusting in
God; even if we acknowledge that our understanding is useless, even if we are
submitting to God’s marching orders; there is still a chance that we will miss what God
wants us to do. There is still that possibility that we will realize we don’t have the
answers, but we don’t know what the answers are. We NEED God to direct our paths.
I am going to bring you back to your childhood Sunday School class. How does God
give us His wisdom? Through prayer and, as referenced earlier, Bible Study; THE
BASICS!! James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” That’s prayer.
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” That’s bible
study. You can’t leave out either one. And by the way, God doesn’t change His mind.
If you hear something in your prayer life, that doesn’t measure up to God’s Word, it
was probably the pizza talking.

Life Project Reading Plan
Monday- Proverbs 1-7
Tuesday- Proverbs 7-15
Wednesday- Proverbs 16-23
Thursday- Proverbs 24- 31
Friday- Ecclesiastes 1-5
Saturday- Ecclesiastes 6-12

No comments: