“True Wisdom” ( Proverbs 9:10, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


“True wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord; he best discerns, who has knowledge of holy things.”

Foolishness
Foolishness (Photo credit: WaveCult (luis.m.justino))

True wisdom is founded on the fear of the Lord; who but a fool would despise such wisdom, and the lessons she teaches? Heed well, my son, thy father’s warnings, nor make light of thy mother’s teaching; no richer heirloom, crown or necklace, can be thine. 10 Turn a deaf ear, my son, to the blandishments of evil-doers that would make thee of their company. 11 There are lives to be had for the ambushing, the lives of unsuspecting folk whose uprightness shall little avail them; 12 there are fortunes to be swallowed up whole, as a man is swallowed up by death when he goes to his grave. 13 No lack of treasures here, they say, rich plunder that shall find its way into our houses; 14 thou hast but to throw in thy lot with us; every man shares alike. 15 Such errands, my son, are not for thee; never stir a foot in their company; 16 thou knowest well how eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood, 17 and the snare is laid to no purpose if the bird is watching. 18 What do they, but compass their own ruin, plot against their own lives? 19 Such is ever the end of greed; he who cherishes it must fall by it at last. (Proverbs 1: 7-19)

The opposite of true wisdom, without a doubt, is foolishness. And foolishness leads, apparently, to greed. The cherishing of money is, indeed, the root of all evils. Foolishness results in chasing after people who say “throw in with us; you’ll never lack. We’ll share our wealth with you.” The foolish one fails to see how “eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood.” When he keeps their company, he invariably sets himself up for a fall.

On the other hand, true wisdom is the fear of the Lord and “knowledge of holy things.” What is knowledge of holy things? Some would say it’s avoidance of the world. Some might say it’s keeping in the Word of God and in the company of the saints. Avoiding the world is the wrong approach to true wisdom. Rather, lean not on your own understanding. Rely on God’s understanding. How? By keeping in His Word. True wisdom is understanding that with God, life is always better than it is without Him.

“Pleasing To God” ( Proverbs 19: 21, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:20-21 ESV)

Ever tried to give advice to someone who doesn’t accept it? On a more personal note, this was my life with my husband. If I gave him advice — not instruction — he resented it and me. And, no matter that my advice emerged because I loved him; at least early in our marriage. Later, the marriage was poisoned by so much, I can’t honestly say that my advice didn’t become instruction! Whether advice or instruction, he never accepted either.

Some people don’t want any help; they can’t even admit a need for help. “I’m fine,” they say. “No, I don’t need anything from you;” or even “Leave me alone, would you!” These people have everything well planned for; life is set. In their minds, they lack nothing.

“But it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” The wise seek advice and accept instruction. They know they need both so that the future is secure, good, easier, and most importantly, pleasing to God. The more we know about God, the better prepared we are to please Him. Seeking instruction is commonsense for the Christian.

Instruction in the Word is first and foremost. Advice for living is secondary but important, too. Therefore, seek out advice. Listen to instruction, and “so gain wisdom.”

“Drink From Your Own Cistern” ( Proverbs 5: 15, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Take pleasure in the wife of your youth,” writes the wise man to his son. “[She] should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers.” (Proverbs 5:17) “Be lost in her love forever.” (Proverbs 5:19) Don’t “be infatuated with a forbidden woman or embrace the breast of a stranger.” (Proverbs 5:20) Do not defile the marriage bed, but keep yourself only to the wife of your youth.

Your prayers go unanswered, says the prophet Malachi. Why is this? Because you abandon the wife of your youth, “you act treacherously against her, though she is your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.” (Malachi 2:14) “So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:15) For God makes you and your wife one flesh, seeking “a godly offspring.” (Malachi 2:15)

God speaks, “If [you] hate and divorce [your] wife, [you] cover [your] garment with injustice. Therefore, watch yourself carefully, and do not act treacherously.” (Malachi 2:16)

“For [your] ways are before the Lord’s eyes, and He considers all [your] paths.” (Proverbs 5:21) “Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.” (Proverbs 5:18)

“The Complacency Of Fools” ( Proverbs 1: 32, ESV ) by Carley Evans


God calls us out. He says, ‘Don’t be smug and satisfied with yourself. This complacency is the mark of the foolish, of the simple.’

“To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth — Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:2-7)

The awe – the fear – of God is the starting line for instruction in wisdom. Now that you have put your hand to the wheel, begun the race, started to build, don’t shrink back. Run the full race. Seek instruction, says God. Desire discretion. Hope and strive “to understand words of insight.”

Don’t be complacent, self-satisfied and proud of your spirituality.

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20-22)

“Whoever Is Slow To Anger” ( Proverbs 16: 32, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

James asks, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” And answers, “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:1-3)

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11) Therefore, “do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged.” (James 5:9) “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.” (Proverbs 19:5) Therefore,”do not swear, either by heaven and by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” (James 5:12)

“Who is wise and understanding among you?” asks James, and answers, “By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 4:13) “In the meekness of wisdom” is restraint. “Whoever keeps his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23) “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” (James 3:6) “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10)

Lord God, our Maker, forgive us for rising so quickly to anger and dissension. Forgive us for and heal us from bitterness and rage. Help us to reign over our passions. Keep us meek and wise. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

“Get Wisdom” ( Proverbs 16: 16, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“A crucible for silver, a smelter for gold, and the Lord is the tester of hearts.” “All a man’s ways seem to right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2) “The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.” (Proverbs 20:27) “Get wisdom — how much better than gold! And get understanding — it is preferable to silver.” (Proverbs 16:16) “The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding will find success.” (Proverbs 19:8) “Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wise later in life.” (Proverbs 19:20) “There is gold and a multitude of jewels, but knowledgeable lips are a rare treasure.” (Proverbs 20:15) “Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to knowledge.” (Proverbs 22:17) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.” (Proverbs 18:4) “A wise heart instructs its mouth and increases learning with its speech.” (Proverbs 16:23) “I have instructed you today — even you — so that your confidence may be in the Lord.” (Proverbs 22:19)

“Seven Abominations” ( Proverbs 6: 16, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

God mentions eyes, tongue, hands, heart, feet, lungs, (arms, legs — think about it.) The abominations which God hates are essentially the body parts of people who practice: haughtiness, deceit, wicked scheming, perjury, murder of the innocent, glorying in evil, and the sowing of discord. Their opposites are people who practice: humility, truthfulness, glorying in goodness, faithfulness in witness, protecting the innocent, and the sowing of harmony.

Peter writes that we “through the knowledge of [Christ]” and “through [His] precious and very great promises become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:3,4) Because of this truth, Peter encourages us to “make every effort to supplement [our] faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) We are not to “forget that [we] are cleansed from [our] former sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)

“Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3) For “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

“You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

“A Restless Evil” ( Proverbs 25: 11, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

“We all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell… No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.” (James 3:2-10)

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged.” (James 5:9) “Do not boast and be false to the truth.” (James 3:14) “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:15-16)

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:26-27)

“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.” (James 2:8)

“A Way That Seems Right” ( Proverbs 14: 12, NIV ) by Carley Evans


“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” No person sets out to do what seems wrong; instead, a person performs those acts which seem right. [Before you argue that persons like Osama bin Ladin do only evil things which can not possibly “seem right,” remember that Osama truly believed that his actions against “infidels” were sanctioned by his god. The way in which bin Ladin worshiped his god seemed right to him.] Along this line, my actions seem right to me, though they are wrong “and in the end lead to death” according to the Lord. Why? Because my ways are not His ways; my thoughts are not His thoughts. In and of myself, I am incapable of pleasing the Lord God.

God “shows us what is good. And what does the Lord require of [us]? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [our] God.” (Micah 6:8) God says, “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” (Proverbs 29:23) Our pride — our trust in ourselves — can cause us to doubt that “every Word of God is flawless” and that “[God] is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5)

“[God] is a shield around [us]; He bestows glory on [us] and lifts up [our] heads. To the Lord [we] cry aloud, and He answers [us] from His holy hill.” (Psalm 3:3-4) “Because the Lord sustains [us], [we] will not fear.” (Psalm 3:5,6) “From the Lord comes deliverance. May [HIs] blessing be on [us.]” (Psalm 3:8)

“A Prayer In Season” ( Proverbs 15: 23, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“A word in season, how good it is!”

 

I’m sure you’ve been in that situation where you are not certain of what you should say to the other — they’ve lost a child; their marriage is in shambles; they’ve done something horribly wrong and hurt others; they’ve utterly lost their way.

 

Solomon says, “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16: 23-24) He also warns that “without counsel plans fail.” (Proverbs 15: 22)

 

Often, when uncertain of what to say, learning from others is a wise course of action. “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” (Proverbs 15: 2) Therefore, “whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17: 27) Remember, “even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” (Proverbs 17: 28)

 

Solomon might say to us that perhaps it’s better not to say anything; rather the best solution is to pray with the person. I don’t mean pray for the person at some later date, but to actually pray with that person at that time. Lay out before the Lord the truth and leave it to Him.

 

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans are established.” (Proverbs 16: 3)