Does Not Wisdom Call Out? Pt. 3
Study Guide , July 28, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
In our study today we want to look into what we introduced last time. We want to consider some evidences of wisdom. And one thing about looking at any evidences of wisdom is noticing that they are preceded with good planning. Even like we have stated – As disciples of our Lord Jesus, before we make any decisions in particular about life we need to make one particular decision about our life overall. Actually, it’s pointed out to us by the one who is often referred to as the wisest man that ever lived: King Solomon. Here is what he concluded: Eccl 12:13-14- “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” NASU
Of course, the unique thing about King Solomon is that God used him as the ultimate of example of both wisdom and foolishness. Remember that in the first part of Ecclesiastes Solomon is the ultimate example of the the futility of living for personal pride, personal pleasures, or personal possessions. He tested each of these to the ultimate human degree and concluded that the findings were: Vanity of vanities, emptiness and a wasted life. The really strange thing is that so many human beings are still testing out the findings of his test! But it wasn’t meant to be repeated! It has already been tested and it doesn’t work. But that is the ultimate evidence of foolishness…or insanity actually. Remember: Insanity is doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results. But that’s what so many people in our world are doing; they are just repeating Solomon’s experiment with self-pride, pleasures, and possessions, but expecting that the results will not be the same ones that he already found out…but they always are. And that’s why Solomon gave the world another conclusion, a different conclusion, a final conclusion to his experiment: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” Solomon found that living according to ‘self-rule’ is the depths of foolishness, but living according to ‘God’s rule’ is height of wisdom.
And do you recall what it means to ‘fear God’? To fear God is to love the things that God loves and to hate the things that God hates. It also means that we will then live wisely as a result of loving the things God loves and hating the things God hates. But in order to live wisely we have to live our lives very differently than the natural world around us lives; which is another way of saying that King Solomon’s conclusion was: “Do not live your life forwards…live your life backwards!” Don’t live your life testing out the three ‘P’s’ of ‘Pride-Pleasure-and Possessions’ for yourself to see if this time they might result in something different than vanity of vanities, emptiness, and a wasted life…when they won’t and never will. Rather, live your life knowing that the future rewards of having lived a faithful life will also be your present joys, due to experiencing God’s pleasure on you as you live faithfully right now. That’s one of the keys to present joy – knowing that what pleases God in the present will also bring joy to you in the present, and will reward you in the future as well. It’s the ‘double blessing’ of obedience. And it’s just the way our Heavenly Father is. He is so pleased when His children seek to please Him in what they think, say, and do, that He bestows present happiness on them and also marks it all down for future rewards when He establishes His new Kingdom on Earth. You can call obedience a ‘win-win’ response to God. That’s wisdom friends!
On the other hand, you can call any disobedience or selfishness or self-willed living a ‘lose-lose’ response to God. It’s emptiness now and it’s loss later. And that equals total foolishness. Realize that disobedience cancels out personal peace and happiness now and it also forfeits personal rewards for the Kingdom. That’s another reason for Solomon’s conclusion. Again, when the wisest man who ever lived gives his final conclusion about how to live life, for one thing, it means that no one is supposed to try to come up with another one! So live your life each day the way you will wish you had lived each day when you stand before Jesus and He reviews what you did with each day of your life that He gave you for the purposes of worshiping and serving Him. That’s what a wise follower of Jesus Christ does.
Another evidence of wisdom follows from Solomon’s conclusion, and it is basically this: Choose the consequences that you want before you choose whatever it is that you want. In other words, there are always consequences to everything we think, say, and do. Therefore, find out from God’s Word and from the examples of others throughout history what those consequences are and then choose what you do based upon what the consequences will be from what you have done. An example of this counsel to us is from what the Apostle Paul pointed out in Rom 15:3-4- “For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on Me”. For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” NASU
We don’t have to try to reinvent the wheel of human experience and its consequences. God has recorded all of that for us. We know exactly what the consequences will be for whatever choices we make concerning either living to please our God or living to please ourselves. There are plenty of examples of people who have already been there, done that! We now just have to make the choices that will result in blessed consequences. And to help with that, again, first find out what the consequences will be, then choose the action.
Like with ‘wisdom’; even wisdom itself is a consequence…it’s a consequence of having chosen those things which make for wisdom. For example, back to Solomon’s counsel in Proverbs 2. Here he points out that wisdom is conditional. It’s conditioned upon having chosen certain things. In order to get to wisdom you have to choose the things along the path to wisdom. Notice: Prov 2:1-6- “My son, if you take my words to heart and treasure my commands within you, if you pay close attention to wisdom, and let your mind reach for understanding, if indeed you call out for insight, if you ask aloud for understanding, if you search for wisdom as if it were money and hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God. The Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Gods’ Word Version
And the key word is? ‘If!’ And it’s a really big “IF”! So if we would choose to be wise people we first have to be people who choose to love God’s Words and choose to treasure God’s Words above all other words, and be people who choose to seek understanding, and be people who choose to search for God’s wisdom like we were searching for gold…which is what God’s Words are – gold and precious gems that make one rich in this life and forever! So the question is: Are you that kind of people, or person? Is Proverbs 2 a description of you?
Or let’s put it another way: What if you don’t take God’s words to heart and you don’t treasure His commands within you? What if you don’t pay close attention to wisdom, and you don’t let your mind reach for understanding? What if you don’t call out for insight, and don’t ask aloud for understanding? What if you don’t search for wisdom as if it were money and you don’t hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure? What is the consequence of all of that? One consequence of that is by failing to choose this path to wisdom you have already chosen another path – the path of foolishness. Plus, you have already chosen the consequences that come from a life of foolishness. And one consequence in particular is that we will then find that we won’t understand the fear of the Lord and we won’t find the knowledge of God. Therefore, we will find that the Lord will not give us wisdom. We will find that He will withhold from His mouth knowledge and understanding that we could have had ‘if’ we had only made the right choices. Again, through Solomon, God is trying to keep people, even keep His children from living a foolish life, a life where, for the unbeliever, all of it was wasted, and for the believer, that you don’t waste your opportunities to make your works count for both now and for eternity!
Everything we think, say, and do has consequences. That is an unchangeable law of the Universe. And so again, part of being wise is to choose the consequences of your actions before you choose your actions. Actually, it’s been pointed out that we live our lives in fluidity. The point is that our lives are not made up of independent – stand alone actions or deeds. Rather, all of our works and all of our ways flow together and continue to move and affect things for eternity. Like was said of Abel, that after he was gone, his works lived on. So do ours! Our works live on; good or bad, but our works live on; and Praise God our good works live on blessing others and blessing us for now and eternity. Know this: Every day you are setting things into motion that will have ripple effects all through eternity; every prayer you pray, every thing you say, every work you do, every deed that is done; each and everyone sets consequences into motion that flow on and on into eternity. So again, choose what consequence you want to set into eternal motion before you choose to act on what you want, or whatever it is that you decide to do; because whatever it is that you do or say will be transformed into a consequence in which we no longer have any say. And remember, we always reap what we sow. And foolish choices do not create wise consequences, they only create foolish consequences. But, Praise God, wise choices do create wise consequences…they create rewardable consequences…and joyful consequences for both now and for eternity.
Another evidence of wisdom is choosing to be careful about what is being produced in our lives; is it fruit or is it weeds? That’s something else we are to understand, and that is: We are always producing either fruit or weeds. Notice: Gal 5:19-23- “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these… But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” NLT
You remember that even some of the Corinthian believers whom Paul identified as ‘saved saints’ were living carelessly and were committing some of these very sins. Or, these sins were being produced out of their old sin nature, which was still active in their lives, as it is in ours. So ‘Watch out!’ In other words, the root of sin, or our self-willed sin nature, will always show up in the sins that grow out of it; or the weeds that grow out of it. The key here is to understand that ‘what’ or ‘who’ you are following will then form what grows out of you. Remember what Paul said? “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear…” So there it is: You will form whatever you follow; or whatever you follow or whoever you follow sets the formation of either these weeds of sin or this fruit of the Spirit into motion.
Often in Christian circles you hear the subject of ‘Spiritual Formation’ being talked about. And sometimes it sounds like a deep or complicated process. But spiritual formation is actually just the process of becoming formed more and more by who or what you follow. In essence, if we are following our Great Shepherd, we will become formed more and more into the image and actions of our Great Shepherd. If we look away from the Shepherd and follow other sheep more than our Shepherd, we will then find ourselves becoming formed more into the likeness of those other sheep. That’s why even in good solid Bible churches we say, “Don’t follow each other…follow Christ alone.” Yes, learn from one another and serve with one another, but only follow Christ, our only Great Shepherd.
Or then, there is this: if we stray and follow goats, what happens then? Well, then we will find ourselves becoming formed more into the likeness of those goats. And the problem there is that those goats, or unbelievers, are actually following a Wolf, that may even be in sheep’s clothing or even a shepherds clothing, but it is still a Wolf. And therefore, those goats are really becoming formed more and more into the Wolf’s image.
So the point again is this: Be very careful who you are following and how close, because you are being formed by whom you are following; be it in theology or in education or in entertainment or in medicine or in music or in government or in anything and everything else. One help here is to watch for is ‘what is being formed’ in you? The evidence will show up as either spiritual fruit or worldly weeds. And it might even take the observations of others to help you see the difference.
And that last point is also some more evidence of ‘wisdom’…seeking out the counsel of others and being teachable and open and receptive to correction. So it appears that we will need to continue this study.