Proverbs 1-3, Psalm 148
A question I will ask some of the medical students and residents that I teach in the operating room is, if you had to choose one, at the end of your four years would you prefer to excel in knowledge or wisdom, which would you prefer? Most don’t know, and if they do choose, they choose knowledge. Most don’t know the difference. Though knowledge is important, it is wisdom which gives us the ability to apply this knowledge. The first 9 chapters of Proverbs lays the groundwork and reveals the contrast between wisdom and foolishness.
In the first chapter, we read in 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” There are many sources of knowledge and wisdom vying for our attention. Just like Jesus spoke of two roads (Matthew 7:13-14), we must choose whether we will follow the wisdom of the world or the wisdom of God. For the two are definitely not the same. In Jeremiah 9:23-24, he says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,…., But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me,…”.
Once we establish the source of wisdom, in chapter 2, Solomon reveals that the pursuit of it is to be active not passive. We must ask ourselves how badly we truly desire it. In Proverbs 2:3-5, he says, “Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Do we approach the Word of God out of obligation, because we think it is the right thing to do? Or do we approach it expecting to be blown away every day, as God reveals Himself more and more to us each day. When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him why He spoke in parables, He answered in Matthew 13:13, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Though the Pharisees and Scribes spent much time in Scripture, their minds were closed, not open, therefore rendering them blind and deaf to the truth and wisdom of God, which was wrapped up in the Person of Jesus.
One of the most quoted verses in Proverbs is 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” In these verses and in Scripture in general, we see a God who speaks of things as black and white, not gray or in the middle. He doesn’t want some of our understanding or some of our ways. He doesn’t say that maybe He will direct our paths. He wants all of us. As we yield our lives completely to Him, not holding on to those things we feel are so important, our paths will be clarified. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: