READ: Proverbs 2, Mark 6, James 3

AFTER WISDOM

Wisdom Follows Trouble. Proverbs 2:7 tells us that God stores up sound wisdom for the upright. Wisdom is not something necessarily latent within us. We don’t carry around a vast treasury of wisdom that we can draw on without prayer or reflection. Wisdom is available to us through the resident Holy Spirit; it is not part of our natural fabric. What is part of our natural being is the tongue, which unfortunately we do carry around with us. James speaks glowingly of the tongue, calling it a world of iniquity, a defiler of the whole body, something set on fire by hell, an unruly evil, and full of deadly poison (James 3:6-8). The glowing James refers to is that of fires set by the demonic wisdom we too often endorse (v. 15). The wisdom that is earthly, sensual, self-seeking, confusing, and the source of every evil thing James ties directly to the tongue. Mark 6:52 adds that hard hearts limit understanding. Followers of Jesus should not rush around the world assuming that we carry infinite wisdom within us, for our carnal wisdom betrays us. The normal order of things is that we get in trouble (we face a question we don’t have the wisdom to answer) and then we turn to the Lord that He might dispense to us His divine wisdom from His inexhaustible supply.

Understanding Follows Wisdom. Proverbs 2:7-9 points out that understanding follows the protection of the Lord. When the Lord in His wisdom has given us what we need to be shielded (v.7), guarded, and preserved (v.8), THEN we understand “righteousness and justice, equity and every good path” (v.9). Wisdom does not always make sense to us, nor is it always the most logical course of action. When we obey the Lord and walk in His wisdom (even when it is counter-intuitive), understanding is the result. We can’t wait to understand in order to be wise. Wisdom has more to do with obedience than enlightenment, as the source of wisdom is not within man but God. God mercies us with answers (Psalm 119:41-42) and often it is after God’s wisdom has passed through us (as vessels, not fountains) that it is understood.

Preservation Follows Understanding. Proverbs 2:10-11 details the fruit of wisdom entering our soul. We seek wisdom from God; understanding follows our obedience to His wisdom; and understanding how wise it is to walk in wisdom, we are preserved. The writer of Proverbs links his thoughts on wisdom to preservation from immorality. This chapter (Proverbs 2) expresses the culmination of wisdom as being able to escape the snare of seduction, specifically seduction that breaks the marriage covenant. While there is always forgiveness to the penitent, moral and spiritual authority are never the same to those who violate this essential wisdom of God (v.19). Those who forsake wisdom and foolishly embrace immorality can no longer call others to holiness with conviction; they can only warn from their self-inflicted wounds with tears.

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