I recently completed an in-depth study of the book of Proverbs. Reading one chapter for each day of March, I completed this study in 31 days. As I sought to learn wisdom and discernment from God, I found this to be one of the most rewarding Bible studies I have ever completed. Every day I was challenged by the Divine wisdom so prominently displayed in each chapter and verse of Proverbs. Reflecting on that study, I found five main teachings that have already impacted my life. It is my hope and prayer that they will continue to play a significant role in my life.
Wisdom is a Decision
The book of Proverbs continually personifies wisdom, presenting her as a woman who stands on the streets and cries out for those who pass by to heed her call. Those who hear her cry out are given the choice to listen and respond or to turn their backs on her. She will call for only a certain amount of time before she gives up and forsakes those who forsake her. From this I see that wisdom is a choice. It is a choice that I face. I am responsible to respond to wisdom when I hear her call for me. Ultimately, the decision to choose wisdom over folly is mine.
I have heard this call and it was the impetus for this study. Though only a novice, I believe Proverbs has given me a solid foundation on which to build a life of wisdom.
Wisdom Finds Its Source in God
God possesses perfect wisdom and is thus the source of all wisdom. To know and understand wisdom, I must first know God. A constant theme in Proverbs is that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If I wish to have wisdom, I must first stand in awe of God's wisdom, holiness and majesty. Just as I can best learn about an invention by speaking to its inventor, so I must learn wisdom from the Source.
God has chosen to display His wisdom in many ways. The foremost of these is in His Word and it is to this Book that I must turn to know God and to know about God. Another prominent way God has revealed His wisdom is in creation.
Wisdom Is Displayed In Creation
A wise God made this world, so naturally His wisdom is displayed in what He made. I can learn much about wisdom by observing this wise God's handiwork. Even the smallest, most humble animal can provide me lessons about wisdom. Those who are wise will acknowledge this and look to creation for examples of wisdom.
Several times the authors of Proverb pause to reflect on the tiniest of creatures. They show, for example, that the ant, though such a humble creature, displays an admirable work ethic and shows that God loves order. As a man seeking wisdom I need to learn to appreciate even God's humblest creature and see in it a training ground for wisdom.
Wisdom Affects All of Life
Wisdom is key to living a better life - a life that pleases God. If I am filled with wisdom I will be able to make good decisions in life while avoiding people and situations that would harm me. I will be able to discern what I should allow into my heart and mind and what I should avoid. I will realize that my words and actions will be a clear display of what is in my heart. This will teach me the necessity of guarding my heart against all kinds of evil.
God's plan for my life is that I would love and respect wisdom, knowing that wisdom is from Him. Wisdom provides the guidelines I need to live a life that allows me to fulfill the purposes He has for me.
Wisdom Is A Responsibility
As a parent I have the responsibility to train my children in the ways of wisdom. If I set their feet on the path the leads to wisdom, I can have confidence that as they grow older and begin to live life on their own, they will continue to adhere to wisdom. I have a responsibility not just to hoard wisdom for myself, but to dispense it to my children and to others who are willing to listen.
Any gift God gives, whether money, time or wisdom, is to be used for His glory. This means I need to use wisdom to help others escape their folly and see the beauty of living a life of godly wisdom.
This was my first careful study of Proverbs, but it certainly will not be my last. As I continue to learn God's wisdom, I know I will continually return to Proverbs as the textbook for godly wisdom.