Seeing is not believing.
NOVEMBER 16, 2023
Seeing is not believing. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening. Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying Proverbs and we’re studying the only way you can study Proverbs by subject and not verse by verse. Because the Book of Proverbs is kind of like a textbook with a whole lot of good stuff in it, but you don’t have to read, or maybe a dictionary. You don’t just sit down and read through a dictionary. You check the dictionary for the wisdom and the definition that you find there. And it’s the same with Proverbs. And so, we’re just looking at different subjects in the Book of Proverbs. And we’re going to continue with that for a few weeks by subject, not by verse. Okay, this is the wisdom for right now. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing. Proverbs 2:6 through 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 his saints. Then you will understand righteousness, justice, equity, and every good path.
Let me say it again. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing. You know, I was just this left of wacko for a long time when I first started being a minister. And I knew that I had some good ideas because I had been trained in pastoral psychology and social ethics and Biblical critiques, wisdom that I would give to the congregation. Do you know what they did? They fell asleep. That’s what they did. Some of them even got angry. Some of them wanted a new pastor because I was giving stones when they needed bread. And then, I came to a period in my life when I said to God. God, I have trouble with all of this, but I don’t have any authority. I don’t have anywhere to go. And I’m going to go into vinyl repair if something doesn’t change. And so I said, I am going to by faith, believe that the Bible is true, and I’m going to teach that, and I’m going to teach that only. That was significant. At that moment, things opened up to me that you wouldn’t believe. I saw the world through different glasses. I saw people in a way I’d never seen them before. And do you know what happened? God happened, that’s what happened. Like, some of my fondest memories are that church. I mean, the church was dying. They had fights in the narthex. I mean, there was no way that anybody was going to pull that church out of the fire. There were articles in the major newspapers on the church. And I could go on and on and on. And after I believed and saw and they began to believe and see, things changed. We didn’t have a missions program. And we decided to have a missions conference and I’d never been to a missions conference before. And God brought missionaries to our church. And then we raised a mission budget, and then we doubled it, and then we tripled it. The Sunday school, we had to beg kids to be a part of the Sunday school. They came in droves. The church began to fill up with college students from colleges and universities. Lives were changed. God was moving in a special way. And do you know why? Cause I believed. Cause they believed. I stood in the pulpit and said, listen to me, this is God’s word. And I stayed one verse ahead of that congregation. Have I told you the story about the time John Wesley was told by a Moravian leader about faith, Wesley said, I can’t preach this. I don’t believe this. I just can’t do this. And the Moravian leader said preach faith till you have faith, and then because you have faith, then you will preach faith. Well, that could be faking it until you make it. But it wasn’t that. It was a volitional act to which the Moravian leader called John Wesley. Said to John Wesley, make a choice to believe this and preach it. And if you do, it will become the reality in your life. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing. And when you believe, you see the world in a whole new way. All right, let me show you another one. If you want it enough, You’ll get it. This is Proverbs 2:3 through 6.
Yes, if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
If you want some clarity on that, you’ve got to flip over to the New Testament, James 1:5 through 6.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Oh, that’s good. You say, but I don’t have that kind of faith. Listen, faith is a choice. It’s a volitional act, and God gives that faith supernaturally to his people. You’ve got to say, I want wisdom. In order to get wisdom, I’ve got to have faith in you to give me wisdom, and I don’t have the faith. So, you’re going to have to give me the faith so I can get wisdom. And do you know that God does exactly that for his own. Socrates had a young man come to him and say, that he wanted to know truth. And Socrates said, son, come with me. And they went down to the river. And Socrates led the young man out to the center of the river. And he grabbed him by the hair and pushed him under the water and held him there. And the kid is struggling and pushing and Socrates won’t let him go. And then finally, Socrates pulls him up by the hair and says to him, son, when you want truth as much as you just then wanted air, then you will have it. And so, the Book of Proverbs says, what is available to every believer is wisdom and understanding and street-smarts, but you can’t get from here to there without faith. And so, the first thing that God gives is the faith to believe that he wants to give you wisdom and will give it to you if you ask him for it. Now, don’t get ahead of yourself and ask for wisdom before you have the faith, that’s James 1:5 through 6. But trust that God is faithful, that he will give it to you, Proverbs 2:3 through 6. Wisdom, oh man, do we need that. Sometimes it looks like common sense. And we live in a culture where common sense has been banished. Sometimes wisdom looks like stuff that really works. And in our cities, whatever they’re doing isn’t working. Violence is increasing. Wisdom is stuff that makes a difference in people’s lives. And we have an epidemic of depression and high suicide rates in our culture. Wisdom is the way of God. And wisdom convinces the world that if you walk in that way, if you understand what God says, if you apply it in every aspect of your life, then get out of the way cause something good is going to happen. They say that if above us says, hold my beer, and watch this, you better turn and run as fast as you can. But when God says, take the faith I’ve given you, ask for wisdom, and then watch what I’m going to do in you life. That, I might say, is wise. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Steve Brown there landing the plane for this week in our journey through Proverbs. Remember to visit us at keylife.org to listen to these episodes again, or to read the transcripts, or maybe just to share with a friend. And be sure to join us tomorrow for the nearly world famous Friday Q&A. Hey, did you know there’s a wrong way to read the Bible? It’s true. In fact, it happened to a guy named Nicodemus. Well, Davis Johnson explores this concept in an article called Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect. You’ll find that article in the digital edition of Key Life Magazine, along with articles from Steve, Alex Early, and even me. Check that out at keylife.org/magazines and if you haven’t read our 2023 print magazine yet, that’s a whole different lineup of articles, there is still time to claim your copy. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1 800 539 5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. Or to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life magazine. And finally, do you value the work of Key Life? If so, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, you can include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, just text that 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.