Thursday, September 14, 2006

Elements of Wisdom - Introduction


"The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;" (Prov. 1:1)

Proverbs is a practical book on wisdom. Although there are many themes in the book, as we shall explore, there is a central theme and that is wisdom. Solomon obviously instructed his son in Proverbs, but because of sin he became a bad object lesson contradicting his God-given wisdom in multiplying wives unto himself, among other things. It is absolutely foolish to strive to teach people spiritual truths without living a life that examplifies the truth. I believe there are a few things that could be as damaging to saints as a pastor who lives a double-standard life. The same goes with a parent who desires the best for their kid and yet will not lead by example. Jesus Christ himself did not condemn what the pharisees taught, but rather warned his disciples not to follow what they do (Matt. 23:3). In other words, just like Solomon, they did not have a life that matched their "Bible" lesson. Hypocrisy is just plain ugly and God hates it.


"9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son." (1 Kings 11:9-12)


The book of Proverbs then is very much interested not only in head knowledge but rather in skillful practice or application of Biblical truths. As the saying goes: action speaks louder than words. Wisdom is applying Biblical principles consitently and well. It involves both hearing and doing God's Word. It is not just what is said, but also what is done. God wants us to live godly lives in a crooked world, thus demonstrating His wisdom which often contradicts the world's wisdom.


P.S. I was skimming through a 'devotional' which I believe misinterpreted and even misapplied Prov. 8 to be the Holy Spirit personified. I believe that it is ok to say that in application Christ is personified in that chapter (on the basis that Christ is the power and wisdom of God in 1 Cor. 1:24), and that in actuality it is plainly Wisdom personified. BUT to attribute Pro. 8 to the Holy Spirit I think is a stretch. Thankfully, we don't get our theology from devotionals. I am not against the use of devotionals either, just being cautious and speaking, err typing out loud.

4 comments:

Jerry Bouey said...

Maybe more writers should just write studies and call them devotionals, like I do!

To me, devotionals is the time spend studying the Word and digging deeper into it (ie. the time devoted to the Word of God and prayer, where you devote yourself to the Lord), whether through reading a solid commentary, studying out a theme or tracing out a Word through the Bible, learning sound Bible principles to apply to our Christian lives. I have no desire for fluff - and yes, too much of the "devotional" material out there is a cheap substitute (not a supplement) to consistent, regular indepth Bible study and reading. God bless.

Bill Hardecker said...

Jerry,
Thank you for your comments. You certainly have blogged a lot.
I have written some thoughts on 'devotional' for a discipleship booklet, perhaps I will share some thoughts on devotionals some time in the future. Basically, we share the same views on devotional materials. I like how you distinguish substitute from supplement. Blog on!

Kate said...

I just love the book of Proverbs - such wisdom, such practical applications to daily living - and if applied, work!! :-)

Devotionals are great for the person writing them, in my lowly humble opinion. God being the economical God that He is, may use it to bless another. But this writer receives much more blessing from putting in writing what the Lord has taught me than reading any devotional written by others. Studying the Word brings the same rewards. We should not substitute other readings for what we ourselves can glean from God's Word.

Looking forward to gleaning from your blogs on Proverbs!!

Bill Hardecker said...

Thanks Kate, please feel free to add anyhting via comments to my blog bits.