Get wisdom, and the rest will take care of itself.
NOVEMBER 2, 2023
Get wisdom, and the rest will take care of itself. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
We’re studying the Book of Proverbs, and it’s an interesting study. There isn’t a book in the Bible harder to teach than the Book of Proverbs, except the book of Jeremiah. I’ve often said Jeremiah needed an editor. I mean, you don’t, never mind. But Proverbs is very difficult too because it’s a lot of subjects, spoken in a lot of ways, but always geared to wisdom. I have a friend who says, he talks about the South, and he says, there’s a hidden message if you listen to Southerners. For instance, when a Southerner says, bless your, bless your heart, that doesn’t mean what you think it means. You’ve got to have ears to hear what’s being said. And my friend says, and this is a quote.
Proverbs are a lot like the sayings of the Deep South. There is a hidden message, and one does not hear that message until one’s ear is in tune, and you listen not only with your head, but with your heart.
That’s a good admonishment as we move into the Book of Proverbs. Okay, now we’re going to look at some Proverbs. You know, talking about Proverbs, a pithy statement that teaches an important truth. Someone sent me a list of famous sayings and proverbs, given by a teacher to her third grade class. Or the third grade class gave her these proverbs, these pithy statements. Let me give you some of them. Better to be safe than punch a sixth grader. Strike while the bug is close. It’s always darkest before daylight savings time. No news is impossible. Never underestimate the power of termites. Don’t bite the hand that’s dirty. You can teach an old dog, you can’t teach an old dog new math. A penny saved is not much. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you’ll have to blow your nose. None are so blind as Helen Keller. If at first you don’t succeed, get new batteries. If you get out of something, what you see on the picture, or you get out of something, what you see on the picture on the box. When the blind lead the blind, get out of the way. That’s wise, from third graders. Enough nonsense. Let’s set that aside and get to work. Just a disclaimer before we move into some of these proverbs on what follows. There is no rhyme or reason to the teaching points that I’m going to give you over the next few weeks. In fact, over a number of days, I went through the Book of Proverbs and simply picked out the many subjects that are included in this particular book, and I listed them. First time I ever heard my mentor, Fred Smith speak, I invited him to come and speak to a singles conference. And this is what he said to the singles conference. He says over the next 30 minutes or so, I’m going to drop some pearls. And if you find they’re helpful, they’re good, pick them up and use them. If you don’t find that they’re helpful and good, just leave them on the floor. But you might want to listen because there’s some good stuff in this. And he just began to talk, stream of consciousness. And Fred Smith was one of the wisest men I’ve ever met. I remember picking him up at the airport and said to him, now before this conference begins, Fred, don’t you mess it up, okay? I’ve said so many good things about you, it’ll hurt my reputation. And he said, Steve, don’t worry, I’ll be wonderful. Well, I replied, that’s real humility. And he laughed and said it has nothing to do with humility. If you’ve said that much that is good about me, if I mess it up, they’ll think that it’s their fault. Well, at any rate, I’ll never forget what Fred said to those singles. These are pearls. If they fit, if you find them helpful, pick them up and use them. If you don’t find them helpful, just leave them there on the floor. Well, that’s what we’re going to do over the next many days as we study the Book of Proverbs. Only these are not my pearls, these are from the God of the universe. However, take what is useful and leave the rest. And then later when you need it, you can come back and pick up the pearls that you left on the floor. This is from G.K. Chesterton.
If Christianity should happen to be true, that is to say, if it’s God, the real God of the universe, then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true. All things not only may have something to do with the Christian God, but must have something to do with Him if He lives and if He reigns.
Okay, let’s dig in. Let’s talk about everything you wanted to know about wisdom, but were afraid to ask. Proverbs 1:1 through 2a.
The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, to know wisdom and instruction.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Let me give you some more, Proverbs 2:6-9
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk uprightly, he guards the paths of justice and preserves the way of the saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity, every good path.
Wisdom is the principle thing: therefore, get wisdom, and in all you’re getting, get understanding.
Now, let me give you two rather lengthy passages of Old Testament scripture and then we’ll do a little bit of interpretation on this text if we have time. First is Job 28. Job’s friend, Elihu is the cleanup batter, have just given their little speeches and Job is going through a horrible time and they were there. And then starting at verses 1 through 4.
Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. Man puts an end to darkness and searches every recess for ore in the darkness. And the show of death, he breaks open the shaft away from people in places forgotten by feet. But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, it is not in me, and the sea says, it’s not in me. It cannot be purchased for gold. Nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in the gold, in precious stones or sapphire. Neither gold nor crystal can equal it. Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold. No mention shall be made of quartz, for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.
And then one other thing from the Book of Psalms.
Praise be the Lord, I will praise the Lord, with my whole heart in the assembly of the upright and the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever.
That’s the value of wisdom. And that’s what we’ll find in the Book of Proverbs. And that wisdom can change your life. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And with that, we wrap up another week of plumbing the wisdom and depths of Proverbs. Still more to come next week, but tomorrow, of course, it’s time again for the nearly world famous Friday Q&A when Steven Pete answer the tricky, challenging questions you have sent in. On tap for tomorrow, can I sell my medications to my friends? Now, that may be one of the most practical questions I have heard in a while. So, tune in for Steve and Pete’s answer. Well, when I remind you that Christmas is coming, you probably respond in one of two ways. One, yay, Christmas, or chill out, man. It’s just barely November. Well, whichever camp you’re in, I think you’re going to be interested in a special booklet we’re making available again. It’s called Christmas Meditations. It’s a collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions to help you focus and reflect on the impact of Christ’s coming. Get it right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the booklet, Christmas Meditations. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope, or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.