Sunday, January 8, 2012

Biblical Wisdom for Success in Life (Proverbs 8:12-21)

Prov 8:12-21 "I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil;I hate pride and arrogance,evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine;I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth.  I love those who love me,and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.  My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full."

Here we have a good understanding of what bibiblcal wisdom is. It is associated with three importance words: prudence, knowledge and discretion (v.12).

(1) Prudence: Wisdom is associated with prudence, the habit of thoughtful and thorough consideration before one acts. It is the opposite of making rash and ill-conceived decisions.
(1) Knowledge: Wisdom is not built on ignorance. The more we learn (from our own experience and others - through listening and reading Scriptures and the books written by the wise), the more wisdom we possess. So, it has to do with knowledge acquisition.
(2) Discretion: Wisdom is ultimately also about discretion - the ability to make good and right choices. Careful planning and consideration with the right knowledge form the foundation for making good choices.

So, how do we know if we have biblical wisdom? The following are characteristics associated with biblical wisdom:

(1) "Fear of the Lord" (v.13): The fear of the Lord is the "beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10). When we have the fear of the Lord, we have a protection from making choices that leads to moral and spiritual corruption. Those who do not have the fear of the Lord ultimately lose their moral and spiritual compass. Without the fear of the Lord, we tend to make decisions on the basis of convenience and expediency rather than spiritual values and moral convictions because it is the belief in a holy and loving God that keeps us from wrong choices.

To "fear the Lord is to hate evil." Good is whatever is consistent with God's own loving and holy character and evil is whatever is contrary to His character. Morality is not some kind of objective reality in this Universe standing apart from everything else but is a personal and relational principle defined by who God is in His essential divine nature.

(2) "Counsel and sound judgement" (v.14a): Possessing biblical wisdom gives us the ability to give good counsel and make sound decisions. When we have biblical wisdom that has its foundation in the fear of the Lord, we will be able to give sound advice and make the right judgments about situations.

(3) "Understanding and power" (v.14b): Understanding is insights and power is the strength to persevere in the choices we have made. The wise person does not waver after making a decision because it is based on spiritual and moral insights informed by right moral foundation and knowledge.

What are the results of possessing biblical wisdom?

(1) "By me kings reign":  We are able to lead others. When we lose our spiritual and moral foundation, we lose the authority and mandate to rule.
(2) "Rulers make laws that are just": Societal transformation is possible through righteous and just laws. Every government needs leadership that has biblical wisdom. We see societies crumpling in many places where the political leadership have abandoned biblical convictions in their legal system.
(3) "Riches and honor": When our lives are built on biblical wisdom, we can be assured of success in this life - riches, honor, wealth and prosperity.

Father, You have said that if we lack wisdom we can ask You for it. Right now, we ask You for wisdom from above so that we can make right decisions and lead others in the path of success as Your Word defines it. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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