The "Why" of Wisdom
Spiritual Questions with Scriptural Answers (Part 4).
In every area of our lives, we need to know our “why.”
Why do you do what you do? Why do you avoid certain activities? Why do you work where you do? Why do you put energy into your relationships with family? Why do you or why do you not live for God?
What is your “why?”
The word “why” denotes purpose. My purpose for writing these articles each week is to hopefully help someone look to God and search His Word. What is your purpose for reading these articles? Again, we need to know our “why.”
In this article, as we continue our series on the “Five W’s of Wisdom,” we want to ask and answer the question, “Why should I be wise?”
Understanding Wisdom Literature in the Bible.
I invite and encourage you to open your Bibles to Proverbs 29. In this text, we will examine several reasons why we should be wise.
Before we dive into the text at hand, I would like to spend some space discussing our approach to “Wisdom Literature.” The contextual flow is difficult to grasp when studying the Proverbs.
One writer said that the Proverbs are short pithy statements that are not universal in meaning. Wisdom literature then is misunderstood by many. For example, consider a very well-known passage:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
As a father of four, I believe in and practice this verse with all of my heart; however, I understand the possibility of one or all of my children to choose to go a different path in life. God has unfaithful children. Did He do something wrong in “bringing them up?” Adam and Eve were His children. What about the children of Israel?
Parents have the responsibility to train their children in the way they SHOULD go, but that does not mean that their children will. The idea of “depart” means that he or she won’t forget what has been instilled in them.
I use this example to illustrate the unique language of wisdom literature, specifically in the Book of Proverbs. Keep these thoughts in mind when studying!
The Proud Heart versus the Trusting Heart.
Now to our text:
“He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Prov. 28:25-26).
First, notice the contrasts that the writer presents. There is the “proud heart” and the “trusting heart.” There is the “heart of a fool” and the “heart of one who walks wisely.”
The one who has the proud heart stirs up strife, thus he or she is not applying the wisdom from above. The Bible speaks of the importance of promoting unity, not strife (Prov. 10:12; 15:18; 29:22; Phil. 2:1-4). The one who trusts in the Lord will be prospered meaning he or she will be enriched by God.
To answer our question of “why” we should be wise, here is a simple, rhetorical question for you to answer for yourself: Do you want to cause strife which the Lord despises or put your trust in the Lord and be enriched by Him?
The Foolish versus the Wise.
Second, see the difference between the foolish and the wise. The foolish man “trusts in his own heart.” Why is that foolish? It is foolish because it is not within the heart of man to “direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). There is a way that seems right in the heart of man, but that way leads to death (Prov. 14:12; 16:25)!
Jesus said that “out of the heart comes evil thoughts” (Matt. 12:34-35; 15:18-19); therefore, the heart must be pricked by the Word of God to be open and receptive to the truth and transformation by the truth (Acts 2:37-38; Rom. 12:1-2).
While it is foolish to trust in your own heart, it is wise to trust in the Lord with all of your heart:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).
Why then should we be wise? We should want to be like our God Who is wise and we should desire to be prospered, enriched, and delivered by Him (Prov. 28:25-26).
In our next article, we will conclude our series by asking the question, “Where should we be wise?”
Drew Suttles is a minister for the Quitman church of Christ in Quitman, Georgia, and one of my best friends in this world. They live-stream all their Bible classes and sermons on their YouTube channel.
Drew also hosts the “Weathering the Storm” podcast on the Scattered Abroad Network. Drew talks about facing life’s challenges as a child of God. His podcast will be a blessing to your life.
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