By: Jeff Vanderstelt– Are you wise, or are you a fool? The Book of Proverbs can help you answer that question by addressing several critical issues. Here they are:
1) Who Is the Lord?
Proverbs 1:7 is the guiding statement for the entire Book of Proverbs:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Often when we read Proverbs, we’re looking for helpful nuggets to guide our busy lives. We approach Proverbs as a guidebook to conquer our chaotic lives through organization, rules, boundaries, and new technology. But Proverbs isn’t about us. It’s about the Lord. Fear of the Lord means looking to Him with reverent awe, and Proverbs places wisdom within the context of the fear of the Lord.
We need the Word of the Lord because we can’t understand wisdom apart from a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jesus embodied wisdom as He submitted to the Father and Holy Spirit in every moment and aspect of His life.
2) What Has the Lord Done?
Jesus is the true wisdom of God. Paul, writing about the power of the cross and the resurrection, declared this reality 1 Corinthians 1:
… to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 CORINTHIANS 1:24-25
Jesus faithfully pursued, listened to, and walked with God the Father and the Holy Spirit to the cross and into the resurrection. His work in the gospel displays and offers abundant life to everyone for every aspect of life.
3) Who Are We?
If we want to be wise, we must acknowledge that we’ve been fools who need Jesus—the wisdom of God for us. Wisdom comes to us as a gift from God. Because God saved us, called us, and chose us, the wisdom of God has come to us in Christ. Paul wrote:
Because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 CORINTHIANS 1:30-31
4) How Should We Live?
Proverbs 1:2-6 identifies key areas of wisdom. They include discipline; instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity; knowledge; discernment; and understanding. If we look to Jesus and follow Him, He will be wisdom for us. That means we’re not only forgiven for our foolishness, but we also get the Spirit of wisdom, who comes to dwell in us, giving us power and direction for a new life.
The Choice We Must Make
The Book of Proverbs tells us we have a clear choice: wisdom or foolishness. The wise know God and experience a full life. The foolish refuse God and experience death. The wise surrender all of life to God, while the foolish surrender their lives to the fleeting things of this world. Those who fear the Lord withhold nothing from Him. They joyfully give their lives to the One who is life.
Excerpted from Making Space: Doing What Matters Most. Published by LifeWay Press®. © 2018 Jeff Vanderstelt. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.