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Posts Tagged ‘knowledge’

The Proverbs of Solomon

August 1st, 2016

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles. (Proverbs 1:1-6)

Solomon’s heart cried out for wisdom as a young man, and it it still the right thing to desire for us today. The passing of 3,000 years have not changed our need; in fact, if anything, it has increased it! The only way to fix humanity is to fix people. The only way to make society wise is to make individual members of society wise. In that sense every person has an obligation – both to himself and to society at large – to become a wise person. When you and I, at any age, seek to become wiser we are choosing the path of blessing – both for ourselves and for others.

Note the many words he used to describe wisdom:

Wisdom – the whole of biblical teaching that shows us ourselves and God

Instruction – the teaching that reveals the different parts of wisdom

Insight – the teaching that enlightens our understanding of human behavior

Instruction in wise dealing – the practical teaching that tells us how wise people should act

Righteousness – maintaining the standard of God

Justice – doing what is right for others

Equity – doing what is right and fair in all situations and for all people. The word is related to the Hebrew word mishra which denotes rewards, punishments, and equity in all of society.

Prudence – to understand what is right in each situation. This contains the idea of simple honesty, to be the same through and through.

Knowledge – the wisdom of what is right

Discretion – the awareness of how to identify and negotiate deceptions

These teachings tell us about the nature of god, his holiness and knowledge. He is knowledgeable in all aspect of the human heart – knowing both what He had originally designed us to be and how sin has impacted us. His knowledge is also redemptive in nature, teaching us how to negotiate the treacherous waters of this fallen world. There is much to learn here if we will live righteously, joyfully, and helpfully to others.

Christ used the illustration about the mote or speck in our brother’s eye.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:3-5)

Consider how much this parable of Christ has to say about the book of Proverbs, the pursuit of wisdom. We can help no one without first gaining wisdom ourselves, and wisdom tells us not only about what is right, but how to understand what is right, how to apply what is right, and how to achieve what is right.

In heaven we shall “know perfectly just as we are perfectly known” (1 Cor. 13:12). The wisdom of Proverbs shall be implanted in our hearts. But until that day we must learn and grow and commit ourselves to being wise people.

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Pleasing the Lord

June 28th, 2016

So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10)

How can our lives please God?

Faith is essential: According to Hebrews 11:6 we must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. The knowledge that he exists is gained through general revelation -through observing the created order, as Psalm 19 proclaims. But the knowledge that he rewards those who earnestly seek him comes only by special revelation, through the inner witness of the Spirit of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ upon our minds and consciences.

The great question we must ask ourselves is whether we believe the witness of the Word and the witness of the Spirit, whether or not we see the benefit of believing in God, in having a relationship with him through Christ. Once the Spirit enlightens our minds and calls us to him, we must respond in trust. “I believe that you can save me and give me a new life, Lord Jesus.” This is a simple pray of faith.

Bearing fruit: The very nature of the Christian life is not one of striving but one of bearing fruit. A servant must serve and to bear fruit means that we are both being changed by God in our lives and that we are his instruments to help others. Walter Marshall wrote:

Christ’s resurrection was our resurrection to a life of holiness, as Adam’s fall was our fall into spiritual death. And we are not ourselves the first makers and framers of our new holy nature, any more than of our original corruption, but both are formed ready for us to partake of them. And by union with Christ, we partake of that spiritual life that He took possession of for us at His resurrection, and thereby we are enabled to bring forth the fruits of it; as the Scripture showeth by the similitude of a marriage union. Romans 7:4: ‘Married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.’

Christ said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). The Christian life is one of constant abiding in Christ and through this abiding to bear the fruit of his own character.

The devotional reading of the gospels, simply following the life of Christ and meditating on his example, prepare us to be of use to God. We are of use not because we have decided to go out and do our own work for Christ, but because we have allowed him to simply be himself in us and through us. “Not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20), is the constant reality of the Christian life.

None of this means that we do not plan our lives or our ministry, nor that we do not need to exercise discipline, for the fruit of the Spirit in our lives also includes personal discipline (Gal. 5:23 and 2 Tim. 1:7). In fact, the one abiding in Christ will be more intentional in his life than ever before – “By wisdom a house is built” (Prov. 24:3). Yet he will also have the divine freedom of being spontaneous at the same time as the Spirit leads.

Increasing in knowledge: Too often there is a division among Christians in this matter of knowledge versus fruit-bearing. We tend to make them enemies of one another when they are cohorts and colleagues. It is a strange teaching indeed that suggests there is some conflict between following the Spirit and reading the Bible – He is, after all, the Author of the book. So as we follow Christ and please him, he will lead us more and more to his Word, to know it and to take its truths into our hearts.

But the knowledge spoken of here is not merely head knowledge, not merely the memorization of scripture, but the grasping of the personality of God that is described in the scripture. You can never understand any sport simply by reading the rule book. You must see a game and especially play a game yourself to grasp what it means. And with the knowledge of God, there must be more to it than just knowing scripture. We must let the Spirit lead us to the Father himself.

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” The original Greek used the word rhema for “word” and it specifically means the instruction or proclamation of Christ. This is the knowledge that is not merely set apart from life on the printed page, but the teaching that relates directly to our lives, that takes the eternal truths of God and the eternal Person of Christ and applies them to our circumstance today.

Please God by believing that he rewards those who seek him, by letting him bear his fruit in your life, and by growing in the knowledge of who he is.

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