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You can be wise- an amazing promise of God that anyone can take hold of
Proverbs 1:1-7

In James 1:5 it says; "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

This morning we are going to begin a series in the Book of Proverbs.

Proverbs comes to us by the pen of King Solomon- gifted with the wisdom of God. Solomon, led by the Holy Spirit wrote the words of this book- that we ultimately have the words of God

Proverbs is all about wisdom and how to live wisely.

Proverbs is not about the wisdom of this world which is based on pragmatism (what works) and moral relativism but God's wisdom which is perfect, holy, righteous and true and which will bring His blessings to us.

The call of Proverbs is a call to wisdom. Get wisdom. Get understanding. Take hold of wisdom. Cherish wisdom. Embrace wisdom. Partake of the fruit of wisdom- righteousness, peace, joy, the avoidance of the pitfalls of sin, life.

We need wisdom. I need wisdom -not my own, but God's

The key verse of Proverbs is "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" Proverbs 1:7


In coming to the Book of Proverbs it is vital that we attend to the introduction to the book-as found in Proverbs 1:1-7 In these first few verses Solomon, lays out an amazing promise: You can be wise.

This promise is not like the empty promises of this world and which fill many advertising pages. This is a promise of God that we can lay hold of for ourselves and that I hope you find holds great appeal.

READ PROVERBS 1:1-7

LESSONS PRINCIPLES OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. YOU CAN BE WISE V.1-6

We going to walk through verses 1-6 noting the SCOPE OF THE PROMISE BEING MADE TO US

Verse 2 Scope: God's wisdom will ultimately keep us from sin

Want to be wise? Do you want to stay on the right path? Do you want to be able to perceive and discern what is right?

Interesting: The word "instruction" has the sense of discipline, chastening, correction

Such reminds us of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Note the function of the Scriptures: for correcting, rebuking, teaching. A wise person is open to being corrected by others, to being chastened, to being disciplined by the LORD

Verse 3 Scope: God's wisdom will qualify us to make right judgments as it regards justice and right and wrong

Do you want insight? Do you want to be able to comprehend things. Is living carefully before God your concern? Do you want to know what is the right behavior? Do you want the ability to be able to make right judgments and pass true verdicts as a judge is supposed to do?

What's really neat is how the latter half of verse 3 (which has to do with capacity of a judge) intersects with Paul's rebuke in 1 Corinthians 6
"If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord's people? Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court-and this in front of unbelievers!

This intersection teaches us that when we are filled with the Wisdom and truth of the LORD- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that we are qualified as Judges- being able to administer justice and make right decisions- decisions that line up with the heart of the Father.

Verse 4 Scope God's wisdom will help the naive, the young, the easily persuaded person stay on the path of righteousness

In verse 4 an appeal is made to those who are young, who are inexperienced, to the every day person, to the person who is sometimes tricked by the speeches of others. The call is this: You can be wise, you can ferret out the lies that are being told you, you can have discernment

Note the terms:

The simple: The naive. Another descriptor of the word used here is "the one easily persuaded" "The open minded"

The phrase "The open minded" really gets me because that's what everyone wants us to be "Open minded" Being open minded is actually not always a good thing. Being easily persuaded is not a mark of fortitude and strength.

The promise of the wisdom of God is the strength to resist flattery and cunning and to reject persuasive speech that is not of God

Knowledge: refers to those who are ignorant in the since of being unaware-- unaware of the dangers they are in because of their lack of experience

Discretion: The term refers to schemes do to do wrong. The term used here speaks of God's wisdom as a curb to wrong/sinful behavior

Verse 4 reminds me of Psalm 119:97-100 which says; "Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.


Verse 5 SCOPE God's wisdom will enable the wise to be even wiser

While verse 4 is geared towards those who are young and inexperienced, verse 5 addresses those who have already made steps down the path of wisdom - and the promise is this: You can grow even more, you can advance in wisdom and ultimately in your walk with God.

Verse 6 SCOPE: God's wisdom will enable us to understand the things of God, things that can only be spiritually discerned

Do you want to understand sayings and riddles, proverbs, and parables-- stuff that just goes over the heads of most people (Generally because they don't take the time to investigate)

"proverbs" - a saying, a maxim (a short statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct" i.e Actions speak louder than words, an adage

"riddles" -obscure utterances, perplexing questions, enigmas to be guessed

Samson used riddles. To the Philistine rulers he said "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet" Judges 14:14-- This riddle was based on a private experience- he had killed a lion and some days later found bees and honey in its corpse

Jesus often spoke using proverbs and used sayings that his hearers did not understand.

In Mark 4 Jesus' disciples asked him about this. To them he gave this answer ""The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "?'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'" v.11-12

Do you see the answer: The things and knowledge of God are a great treasure, the depths of which can only grasped when in a relationship with God. This is the call of Christ- to know him, to serve Him, to walk with him by faith. Parables can be understood- but the wisdom of God is needed. The working of the Holy Spirit is required. The wisdom of Christ must be applied. One must seek God- who can be found.

2. THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM v.7

In v.7 we are introduced to the verse that ties all of Proverbs together "The fear of the LORD (note how the personal name for God is used) is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction"

It is not enough for us to talk about WISDOM unless we connect it the One who gives wisdom- that is the LORD- the one whom we are to worship, revere, praise, lift up, hold in the highest position of honor.

The key to being a wise person lies in being in a relationship with God- this is where the fear of the LORD begins

Isaiah 55:6-7 says; "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon."

Be reconciled to God is the call of the Scriptures! HOW: Put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord

When Paul and Silas' jailor came, after the Lord caused an earthquake to break open the jails doors, and saw that neither Paul nor any of the other prisoners had escaped- though they could have- he said to Paul and Silas "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved- you and your household" Acts 16:30-31

To the crowd who asked Jesus "What must we do to do the works God requires?" he said "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:28:29

Jesus also said very clearly "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

The wise person heeds the words of God. The Fear of the Lord begins with turning to God in truth, not by our own way, but in the way that God has set forth in His Holy Word, the Bible.


3. JESUS IN HIS INCARNATION WAS AND IS THE EMBODIMENT OF WISDOM.

By use of poetic and literary device, in the Book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a woman, and yet in literal form: Jesus was and is the embodiment of wisdom.

-Jesus is the wisdom of God
-The New Testament makes it plain that Jesus Christ is, indeed, the incarnate wisdom of God.
-Jesus became wisdom incarnate. God became a man and dwelt amongst us- coming to save us from our sins and the judgment to come, but also showing us how we are to live.
-He is the "Word" by whom all things were made (John 1:1-3). He is "the truth" (John 14:6) and "the light" (John 8:12) by whom alone men can come to God and follow Him. He is called "the power of God, and the wisdom of God" in I Corinthians 1:24, and He called Himself "the wisdom of God" in Luke 11:49.

-Want to know how to live wisely. The ultimate example is Christ and his life

CONCLUSION

-I hope your appetite has been whet for wisdom, for God's wisdom.
-The promises of v.1-6 are there for the taking. We can be wise. We can have the wisdom of God. We just need to ask.
-Ultimately, wisdom starts with a relationship with God, a relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you know him?
-Don't reject God's gift- such is the height of what is means to be a fool