Episode 1. Wisdom Starts Here
Wisdom is something we’d all like – but frankly, sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start? Where do you discover the sort of wisdom that works? And how do you bite the bullet – take that step to start living in wisdom with it’s sacrifices up front and rewards down the track? It’s fantastic […]
Wisdom is something we’d all like – but frankly, sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start? Where do you discover the sort of wisdom that works? And how do you bite the bullet – take that step to start living in wisdom with it’s sacrifices up front and rewards down the track?
It’s fantastic to be with you at the beginning of another week. Man they roll by so quickly. And today I’m really excited because we’re kicking off a new series of messages, 20 messages in all over the coming four weeks. And the series is called Wisdom That Works.
Now I don’t know about you but I’ve made some pretty silly mistakes in my life, we all make mistakes and the thing is when we make mistakes they come with consequences. Sometimes those consequences are just, well mildly annoying but sometimes they’re devastating.
Sometimes we don’t even notice some of the silly things we’re doing, they seem trivial. And yet we do them over and over and over and over again and the consequences compound and before we know it we have a real situation on our hands.
Wisdom is about avoiding the mistakes so we can avoid the consequences. Wisdom is about taking the goodness and the experiences and the knowledge that others have developed and deciding to apply it in our lives so we can live a better life. Fewer mistakes, fewer consequences.
And it’s not just about avoiding some mistakes, it’s about, well it’s about knowing how to handle difficult situations. It’s about knowing how to be proactive in making good things happen rather than wallowing around in the consequences of repeated mistakes.
In fact there’s a lot to be said for wisdom. The sort of wisdom that, well that works.
Okay so exactly what is wisdom? I mean intuitively we know that wisdom’s a good thing and most of us wouldn’t mind a bit more. But have you ever stopped to think exactly what is wisdom? Well here’s a dictionary definition, have a listen:
It’s the quality of having the experience, knowledge and good judgement and the soundness of an action or a decision by applying the experience and knowledge and the good judgement.
That’s not bad. You boil that down and there are two parts. Knowing what to do and then actually getting on and doing it. See knowing what to do and then not doing it is pretty dumb and that’s why I for one have sometimes done some dumb things in my life.
Yeah sure sometimes I didn’t know quite the right thing to do so I ran smack bang into a brick wall, it hurt and so I went, “oh that didn’t work, I’ll learn not to do that again”. Maybe even better I listen to someone else who’d run into that same brick wall ahead of me and I learned from their experience.
But sometimes we know the right thing either because we just know, I mean I know that it’s wrong to rob a bank and I know that if I do there are going to be some very undesirable consequences. Or because I’ve been down that road before or because I’ve listened to someone who has.
So sometimes we know the right thing, we have access to the knowledge and the experience and the good judgement but we just don’t use them, we don’t put them into action. See I know that drink driving is dangerous, I know that, I’ve seen the road statistics, I’ve seen the random breath testing stations on the side of the road, so I have the knowledge.
But if I get into a car having had too much to drink and run over a pedestrian, I have to tell you some people do that, then do I have wisdom? No, I just had the knowledge. Wisdom isn’t just having the experience and the knowledge and the good judgement, wisdom is using it, it’s acting on it, it’s doing it, it’s living it. Wisdom is only wisdom when it involves the knowledge and the doing. Does it make sense?
Now quite a few thousand years ago King Solomon, the king of Israel, David’s son, was pretty much recognised as one of the wisest men on the planet. He had a few sons and so he decided to jot down some of that wisdom. We have access to that in the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.
And over these coming four weeks we’re going to spend some time ransacking that book for wisdom. Getting as much of the proverbial wisdom of Solomon as we can so that we can put it to work in our lives. And that’s the key, putting it to work. I can help you by unlocking this treasure chest of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. I can even help you by encouraging you to put it to work but only you can make wisdom happen in your life.
Remember this series is called Wisdom That Works. Okay where do we find that wisdom? Where do we start? Well let’s start at the beginning of the Book of Proverbs chapter 1, verse 1, the preamble, the introduction, the reason for wisdom, that’s what this is about. Proverbs chapter 1 beginning at verse 1:
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel, for learning about wisdom and instruction for understanding words of insight for gaining instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice and equity. To teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young.
Let the wise also hear and gain in learning and the discerning acquire skill to understand the proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Hear my child your father’s instruction and do not reject your mother’s teaching for they are a fair garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Well isn’t that what we’ve just been talking about? It’s about getting good wisdom into us for a good outcome. God’s wisdom is the sort of wisdom that actually works. I mean there’s plenty of wisdom out there, plenty of people claiming to have wisdom. This is the worlds wisdom but it’s a fake, it’s a “me” centred wisdom and you know that worlds wisdom eventually comes unstuck.
Because it’s not a God centred wisdom and that my friend is the starting point of wisdom. Shifting our thoughts and our hearts away from the seductive slight of hand that passes for worldly wisdom and coming back to the source of real wisdom. The sort of wisdom that actually works.
Have a listen again to what Solomon writes about where to find wisdom that works. Proverbs chapter 1, verse 7. He says:
It’s the fear of the Lord that’s the beginning of knowledge because fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The meaning of this word fear in this context isn’t just the fear of the consequences of Gods judgement if we rebel against Him, I mean there is that and it will happen but it’s awe and respect and reverence.
See when I was a young lad, if I played up I knew pretty much I’d get a belting from my dad but much better to live in respect of my dad knowing, of course, that a belting was in the offing if I mucked up. But actually living in a good respect of my father and avoiding the belting all together. They’re the two sides of this fear thing. Honouring and respecting but knowing if we don’t there are consequences down the track.
And it’s when we finally decide to stick our pride in our pockets because remember fools are the ones that despise wisdom and instruction, we don’t want to be foolish, when we stick our pride in our pockets, when we realise we’ve been trying to do it our way all along and hey, you know, that’s not working so brilliantly well, it isn’t bringing me the joy and the contentment and the satisfaction that I’ve been craving for.
When we finally figure out that wandering out here trying to do it on our own isn’t working, you see I think that’s the beginning of wisdom. I mean I can go to God and say, “God, you know something, I reject your wisdom and your instruction,” but we’re going to have to live in the consequences.
Or I can yield my life to God and do it His way. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. And throughout the Book of Proverbs there’s a sharp contrast between wisdom and foolishness, between good outcomes and bad outcomes. Friend, fools despise wisdom and instruction. Fools decide to go it alone. Fools race on out in the blue yonder and pierce themselves with many pains.
That’s what we’re going to be exploring over these coming weeks but the starting point is here, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and the choice is yours for your life, it’s mine for my life. The question is which one will we choose?