Who wants to be wise? I would assume that every lady here wants to be counted among the wise. If wisdom is not important in your life, I would have to say that you are either not telling the truth or you are in more need of wisdom than you know.
Proverbs 4:7. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Many of you know that I read the Proverb that corresponds with that day almost every day. Also, many of you have heard me say – as I have clutched my Bible – that The Book: It is life.
As I was reading the 4th Proverb on 4 January I knew that this is where I wanted to begin talking about the Proverbs. I cannot think of another time in my life that I have known more people with genuine struggles and difficulties. If there ever was a need for wisdom it is now. Clearly, some of the problems and struggles that people have are because they lack wisdom and discernment. We do not have to live our lives that way. If your life is in chaos and confusion, then you need to grow in wisdom or your life will never change, unless it is to change for the worse.
If seeking wisdom is a way of life for you and you do it on a daily basis – you may still have problems, but you will also have hope and direction.
There is definitely a group somewhere in the middle and those are the people that are inconsistent in their lives. They know that they need wisdom and they know where to find it. Those are the people that attend some church services but are easily distracted by functions and other cares of the world. They include those that could be in this class right now and have chosen not to make the effort and commitment to be here.
By turning away from the Scriptures, and the wisdom found inside the Book, we are leaving our entire lives to chance.
Or said another way… Whatever happens will happen. We are turning our back on the promises of God, either out of laziness or out of disbelief. I am not sure which is worse.
Let us go ahead and read Proverbs 4:1-7.
I read these verses as if someone is speaking very gently to me. My earthly father is not here but I definitely think of these verses as guidance from someone that cares deeply for me and I am comforted by them. I might even imagine that it is my Heavenly Father speaking kindly to me because I know that He wants the best for me.
We will begin looking at a few of the verses a little more closely.
- I am gently being told to listen for understanding. When we understand something in this way it is deep. It is as if it is embedded into our hearts.
- Then we are told that it is good… The things we are being told… They are doctrine. And we are reminded that we should not turn away from the law. Why does someone tell you and gently remind you to follow the law? Because it is good for you. Because it will keep you out of trouble.
- The teaching continues into verse 4. Our teacher tells us to keep the words, not to forget them and he tells us why. We will live. This is one of the verses that makes me so committed and sure that the Bible is life.
The reason that I began this study in the book of Proverbs is because of a coincidence that happened on 4 January. And we all know that with God there are likely no coincidences.
Let’s look back to Deuteronomy, chapter 29. That was one of the chapters that I was reading that day as I continue in my practice of just reading through the Bible.
Please begin reading in verse 18 and read through the end of the chapter. Whoever reads, please read carefully and clearly so that everyone can consider what you are reading.
- Verse 18 is clearly a picture of people that have been careless in following the Lord their God, the true God.
- Verse 19 shows that he makes excuses for himself. He blesses himself. He says “I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart.” Saying something does not make it so if the basis or foundation is not true. This person has deceived himself because he has chosen against following the commandments, the law – that would have been good for his life. He chose his own way, then he blessed himself. No wisdom to be found there.
- This chapter wastes no time in reminding us that God will not spare him. God is angry against him and that he shall bear the curses of the Bible. God also reminds him that his name will be blotted out from under heaven.
- It is exceedingly important to make every effort to live your life in a way that is pleasing to the God that created you. We have our Bible to tell us how. We have our pastors to tell us how and for you ladies you have this class to help deepen your knowledge and faith in the Word of God.
- This person intentionally rejects wisdom and it will cost him his life.
- Let us go down and look at verse 29 again. The secret things: I think of them as treasures. They were given to me to take care of and to share with my children and I share them with you. You can partake of them or you can cast your treasure aside.
- The treasure is the Words of this Book. Like the teacher/father in the book of Proverbs we are encouraged to obedience. And this is forever.
I want to pause for just a moment to clarify something. I have heard it said many times in my life – unfortunately – that as New Testament believers we are not under the law. And we are not. We are not under the penalties of the law. The Bible also teaches (2 Timothy 3:16) that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness and reading on into verse 17: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Ladies! These verses are for us too, just like the principles taught in the Old Testament. Unlike Old Testament believers, we can eat shellfish. We can eat pork. We are supposed to be hilarious givers, instead of burdened with the obligation. The principles taught having to do with behavior, manners, our relationships to others and our relationship to God do not change once we open the book of Matthew, but are reinforced and taught throughout the New Testament. The main difference is that we don’t have to offer sacrifice or go to God through priest. God required holiness in the Old Testament and he requires it of us. By His grace, because of grace – holy living should be a desire more than an obligation.
We just finished celebrating the incarnation of Jesus Christ. His birth, his death and his resurrection gave us freedom that old men of faith, like Abraham, did not have. I fear that we have taken our liberty as a cause to sin and be less then the holy women we are called to be. Let’s go back to Proverbs, chapter 4.
We all want to live and we all want to live well. Proverbs 4 teaches:
- Wisdom is our Life…. Verse five tells us to get wisdom and understanding and verse six tells us that she will preserve us. Wisdom. She is our friend.
- The Book is our life… keep my commandments and live.
Deuteronomy 29, the last verse reminds me that the Bible is life… we want these good things because we want life; we want the best for our children. They are among our most valuable treasures.
I encourage you ladies to think of the year 2020 as a year to grow in wisdom and understanding of God. We are going to spend a lot of time using the book of Proverbs and learning from it. At the end of the year, will you be a wiser and happier woman? Or will you be exactly the same, just like you sit here today?
Next week I’m going to do more of an introduction to the book of Proverbs and tell you how those verses were assembled together and how it is different from any other book in the Bible, but no less important.
In the coming weeks and months I believe we will all be challenged to live more holy lives. The result will not be less laughter and long days that have no joy in them, but the opposite. God’s Word has shown us how to be happy on this earth. Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of mine and it reminds me almost daily that God thinks good toward me. That he knows where he’s taking me. He has left behind His Word for me, pastors and teachers to help me get there and to go with joy. This is what I want for each of you in the coming year.