Kevin jesmer NIU UBF Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Proverbs 1:1-7               Key Verse: 1:7

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.”

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us hope and inspiration each and every day. I want to know you better and I want to follow you all the days of my life. I pray for the upcoming staff conference. I pray that you grant us unity of heart and spirit and mind. Help us to love one another and help us to co-work well in the task of revealing Jesus to the students of this nation and the whole world. I pray that you bless us with true wisdom from on high and as well as knowledge. Please grant me one word of God in my heart today so that I may live by it. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1. The aim of Proverbs (1-6).

Verses 1-6 read, “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— 6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise”

Solomon, son of David and king of Israel, wrote Proverbs with wisdom from God. These proverbs are for the simple (untrained), the young, and even the wise. Those who take these proverbs to heart can gain wisdom, instruction (discipline), understanding, insight, prudence (discernment), knowledge, and discretion (good judgment). Everyone wants these things!

There is a big difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is knowing the facts. Our culture emphasizes knowing the facts. We get rewarded with how high a score we get on the college entrance exams and how much we can regurgitate the “facts.” We place a low value on wisdom. Why? It is because gaining wisdom takes an effort. It usually comes though some suffering or hardship. Often we need to go out of our way to get it. Wisdom is hard to document. It is hard to get a credential in wisdom and so we can not use it to bolster our resume. It does not seem beneficial to us.

But still we long for wisdom and absorb it through osmosis from the wrong sources. We try through reality TV, through secular music, through movies through friends. Traditional sources of wisdom, like our extended families are running dry, as our relationship with extended family disintegrate. We may not get it from our parents who are too busy seeking and securing their own happiness in this world. Before meeting Jesus I knew that I needed to get wisdom, but I did not know where to get it. I thought that “deep thinking and deep talking” at wild, drunken parties was the practice of wisdom. While in university I would go to the library and get the thick encyclopedia of quotations and famous saying and try to read on page a day. My soul was thirsting for wisdom, but I did know where to obtain it. I need Jesus Christ, the source of true wisdom.

Jesus has shown me true wisdom in the Bible and by his spirit and through giving me the proper perspective that is seeing the world from God’s point of view. But to obtain God’s wisdom requires right choices, constant surrender of our own fixed ideas and worldly desires, and putting into practice what we know is good and right. I am constantly tugged by the world to let go of the source of true wisdom and rely on myself. But when I do this I fail. I become near sighted and blind. I pray that God may help me to hold onto Jesus and his word and keep my heart in tune with the Spirit of God and the word of God. Then I can grow in wisdom and walk in wisdom and have something of value to share with the world.

Why do we want to be wise anyway? Before meeting Jesus I wanted to be wise in order to appear wise to others, so that others may think that I was a “cool guy”. I wanted to throw out a wise saying once and a while and astound people. I wanted wisdom in an attempt to glorify myself. How foolish I was (and still am sometimes.) The point of wisdom is to know and love God and to better love our neighbors. It is to overcome this world and live by faith. It is to be able to help and serve others. It is to help us grow in the image of God. Wisdom is given to us so that we can glorify God (reveal God) and grow the Kingdom of God in the hearts of a world lost in the darkness of false wisdom. That is the reason.

Part 2. The key to knowledge and wisdom (7).

Verse 7 reads, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.”

The starting point to receive knowledge and wisdom is to fear the Lord (9:10; 31:30). To fear God is the key to life and wisdom (Ecc 12:13; Isa 8:13; Lk 12:5). To fear God means to know that God is living, sovereign, and holy. To fear God is to respect God, knowing that he punishes the wicked and blesses the righteous who honor, seek, and humbly obey him.

This is the fact. If I am going to grow in wisdom I need to fear God. I need to let God have his rightful place in my heart and life. Then wisdom can grow in my heart. I am tired of relying on my own wisdom that gets me nowhere fast. I must depend on Jesus and having the right relationship with him. Some people say that you need to climb a mountain and talk to wise sage to get wisdom. In Christianity I come to mount Zion and learn from the wisest sage in the universe, Jesus.

The foolish despise wisdom and discipline and live as if there is no God. The 1984 NIV substitutes discipline for instruction. The Bible does not hold any punches towards those who refuse to come to God and gain his wisdom. From the Bible, it is just plain old foolishness. Why do people want to emulate the foolish? Why do we want to go to the foolish to adopt the world’s wisdom?
Prayer: Lord, grant me a proper, reverent fear of you in my heart and bestow on me your true wisdom so that I may walk in your ways and glorify the name of Jesus.

One Word: To fear God is the way to be wise and blessed

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