Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?

A DETECTIVE’S SEARCH IN PROVERBS–PART 1

HAVE YOUR BIBLES READY FOR A TREASURE HUNT:

Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “wise guys”.  In fact, there was a 1986 film starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo titled Wise Guys.  the movie was described by Wikipedia as “A comedy revolving around two small-time mobsters from Newark, New Jersey.

On April 18th, 1986, Roger Ebert the film critic said this about the movie when it arrived on the Big Screen: “Wise Guys is an abundant movie, filled with ideas and gags and great characters.  It never runs dry.”

The Internets “Your Dictionary” definition of Wise Guys is, “are people who are brashly and annoyingly conceited, knowing, etc.; smart aleck.”

WHO THEN ARE GOD’S ‘WISE GUYS’ AND WHAT’S A  PROVERB? – A STUDY IN PROVERBS:

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

“THE PROVERBS (truths, obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:”  (Proverbs 1:1 AMP).

In verse one, Solomon begins to reveal the reason for these proverbs.  “WISDOM” and “KNOWLEDGE” are two key words and are both similarly used in PROVERBS 1:7, 9:10.

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline”  (Proverbs 1:7).

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding”  (Proverbs 9:10).

I just began reading THE PROVERBS, not for the first time but as a devotional reading this past week.  Although Solomon is credited with writing some 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32), the book of Proverbs contains only about 900.  Consequently over the next few WORD DETECTIVE blogs, I will only be addressing a partial collection in the series.

The word “proverb” denotes “a description by the way of comparison.”  Many people make the mistake that KNOWLEDGE is WISDOM; a person with several degrees, certificates of biblical studies, etc.  And the reality is?  Many may NOT have any practical sense at all and may not know how to use the knowledge he or she thinks they have.

THE ‘OPEN DOOR’ OF GOD’S WORD:

Over the doors of the school of Plato these words were written in Greek:  “Let no one enter who is not a geometrician.” 

But Solomon opens wide the doors of his proverbs with a special message of welcome to the unlearned, the simple, the foolish, the young, and even the ‘wise guys’:

“That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,  Receive instruction in WISE dealing and the discipline of WISE thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity,  That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth—  The WISE also will [1] HEAR and [2] INCREASE IN LEARNING, and the person of understanding will [3] ACQUIRE SKILL and [4} ATTAIN TO SOUND COUNSEL [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly”  (Proverbs 1:2-6 AMP).

Now I capitalized and numbered some key words in those five verses for emphasis; and for illustration of “Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?

THE 4 KEY WORDS:

1.  HEAR or LISTEN.

2.  INCREASE YOUR LEARNING.

3.  ACQUIRING SKILL.

4.  ATTAIN SOUND COUNSEL [even Pastors need Pastors].

“WISDOM” and “INSTRUCTION”:

Hokmah” in the Hebrew is a significant term found in approximately 150 places with the dominant sense of “WISDOM.”  WISDOM refers to knowledge coupled with inner quality that embodies the heart and life in conformity with purposes and character of God. hokmah has this meaning throughout most of its usage in a variety of contexts.  However, in several paces it also has the alternative meaning “SKILL,” or “ABILITY,” and can be communicated to us by the Spirit of Yahweh; to particular individuals~ *(taken from the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words-Stephen Renn Editor).  So the word “WISDOM” here in Proverbs 1 means “skill” and suggests a right use of knowledge.

“INSTRUCTION”:

The word means correction or chastisement.  In the Greek version, the same word is used in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP:

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for INSTRUCTION, for REPROOF and CONVICTION of sin, for CORRECTION of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in RIGHTEOUSNESS (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),    So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work”  (disciplined in righteousness).

“DISCERN and COMPREHEND” – (verse 2).

In the King James Bible, it says “to PERCEIVE the words of understanding.”  In the Amplified version it reads “discern and comprehend…”

To perceive suggests the possibility to hear words of understanding and especially spiritual things.  For it takes a special enlightenment of Holy Spirit for a man/woman to understand spiritual truth:

“Why do you misunderstand what I say?  It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying.  [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching]”  (John 8:43 AMP).

In 1 Corinthians 2:14. the apostle Paul says that the natural man can understand the natural but cannot understand the supernatural.

So if your “SPIRITUAL WISDOM” is coming from another source, it’s NOT from God but from man.

AN “INTELLIGENCE” WHICH INSTRUCTS –  (PROVERBS 1:3-4).

“WISE” or “WISDOM” mentioned here is a different word than verse 2.  It is “intelligence” which instructs in PRUDENCE (verse 4); the understanding sense of a “wise guy”; one who is skilled in applying that knowledge to his/her life.

“JUSTICE”:

Justice is more commonly rendered “righteousness,” while “judgement” is putting wisdom into practice (verse 3).

Verse 4 says “that PRUDENCE may be given to the simple”.  Who are the “SIMPLE”?  They are the inexperienced or unlearned and not the mentally deficient.  The philosophers excluded the young as unfit for their teachings and righteous principles of the time.  But the WISEST of men stoops to the humblest–a type of the WISE teacher mentioned in Matthew 18:3-4; 19:14-15.  So the older people have a duty to teach and the younger a duty to submissively learn.  There is no other way to pass on knowledge.

“INTEGRITY” or “PRUDENCE” has to do then with rightness or uprightness.  So the whole end of knowing wisdom, instruction and perceiving understanding is that one might practice holy living.  FALSE RELIGION is almost always guilty of hypocrisy preaching and not practicing (Matthew 23:2-4).

True Wisdom ~ (verse 5).

“True WISDOM is never stationary but always progressive.” [Faussett].  God’s ‘wise guys’ never assume to have attained perfection of KNOWLEDGE; it’s the FOOL who thinks he has attained a plateau of learning beyond who no one can teach him or her any further.

When I was a sophomore in college, I decided that I no longer needed to carry a full load of classes.  I had a good part-time job at a local grocery store that wanted me to become a FULL-TIME worker; a career!  That meant more hours, more money and more toys!  What more could a 20 yr old want in life.  It was a “NO DUH” moment–or was it?

Eventually after three years of college, thinking that I was wise in the purest sense, I dropped out of school and made the grocery business my career instead of graduating with a Teachers Degree in Biology.  That decision was made from a natural man, who was unwise in his thinking; for it lasted only for another two years.

We get the word sophomoric from the word sophomore: meaning characteristics of a sophomore; intellectually pretentious, juvenile; over-confident, immature.  I was all of that when I was young and more!  But none of my thinking was ever derived from the “TRUE WISDOM” of God.  Are there sophomoric Christians in your life right now?

The ‘Wise Guys’ of God are submissive.

The proud and rebellious are fools and NOT wise guy’s.  But how often do we all proudly refuse wise counsel from others?  And how about the results of our actions; of the hearing and learning that is mentioned in Proverbs 1:5?

“That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles” (verse 6).

Anyone with workable ears can hear, but many do not understand what is heard.  This takes WISDOM.

“INTERPRETATION” is a big word!

It means eloquent speech or a speech that needs explanation because it seems mysterious.  The more we learn the more we need to learn.  Life’s mysteries open up as we learn and to stop learning is… folly.

The Fear Of the Lord (verse 7).

I wrote an entire blog sometime ago discussing The Fear Of The Lord for many people have misunderstood its true meaning.

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge.”

Solomon’s text for this section of Proverbs One is: “Beginning” = “principal part” and without a proper reverence for God and no knowledge will profit much without it.  “FEAR” = reverential trust and love; as a child has for its father.

To finish verse 7, Solomon refers to those who despise Wisdom, instruction, and discipline as “FOOLS.”  In the Bible a fool isn’t someone who is mentally deficient but one who is in rebellion to God’s Word; the TRUTH, His Wisdom and not mans.  One who lives as if there were no God at all:

“THE [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart,  There is no God.  Corrupt and evil are they”  (Psalm 53:1).

i.e., an unsaved person.

In Part 2 of the investigation into Proverbs and “Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?; I will continue the study with: “Are Not The Benefits Of Wisdom Worth the Effort?”  If you want to look ahead to Proverbs 2, underlined in your Bible or jot down the “IF” s and the “THEN” s.  Get out your spiritual magnifying glass!

Human and Spiritual Wisdom, Understanding and The Differences

Spiritual Understanding

  THE “WISDOM OF SOLOMON”:

“The beginning of Wisdom is:  get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)!  [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.]  And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation)”  ~ Proverbs 4:7

“A stated purpose of this book of Proverbs is to impart skillful and godly Wisdom.  Proverbs is a practical book dealing with the art of living, and it bases Wisdom solidly on the fear of the Lord (1:7).  WISDOM in the Proverbs has a broad base of meaning, covering such things as practical knowledge in discerning between good and evil in the ordinary affairs of life; the discernment between truth and error or that which is lasting and makes for success in life; and the insight of man beyond the human to the divine realities discerned and deduced from that which God has revealed”  [Taken from the Amplified Versions introduction to The Book of Proverbs].

This blog is not a study about The Book of Proverbs but an introduction to human and spiritual wisdom with understanding.

For the past few days, my morning reading in the Bible  has been in the book of Ecclesiastes; the author being king Solomon.  I came across a verse in CHAPTER 3, that somewhat puzzled me at first about the WISDOM OF SOLOMON:

“For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even [in the end] one thing befalls them both.  Yes, they all have one breath and spirit, so that a man has no preeminence over a beast; for all is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)”

I thought, where in the world did Solomon come up with the idea that a man has no preeminence over a beast?  Does the Bible really teach that? No!  Ecclesiastes gives a startling picture of how fatal it is for even the wisest of men to substitute man’s “wisdom” for God’s wisdom, and to attempt to live by it.  King Solomon’s reign began with God, gold, and glory.  It ended with bafflement, brass, and bewildered acceptance of man’s having “no preeminence over a beast”!–man, who was made “in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27) and “but a little lower than God”! (Psalm 8:5).  Also that man was given “complete authority over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26).

THE WORD “SOPHIA” Greek Word for Wisdom:

The Three Meanings.

1.  In the usual meaning of wisdom, understanding; 


“And Jesus increased in wisdom (in broad and full understanding)”  (Luke 2:53 AMP).  “But wisdom is proved right by all her children”             (Luke 7:35 NIV).

2.  In the meaning of the wise economy of God in the creation of the world; in His Providence over the world and in the salvation of the world from sin:

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!    For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has [ever] been His counselor?”  (Romans 11:33-34 AMP).

“But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God–[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence]”  (1 Corinthians 2:7 AMP).

3.  In relation to the Son of God (Jesus) as the “Hypo-statical Wisdom” of God:

“But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God,  [revealed to us knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness”  (1 Corinthians 1:30 AMP).

How Do You Use Godly Wisdom rather than Human Wisdom?

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle).  [It is willing to yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity)    And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts]”  (James 3:17-18 AMP).

Questions to ask ourselves:

1.  How do you resolve issues in your life?

2.  How do you get your point across to others around you?

Most of us would like to think we are wise in our understanding.  We speak eloquently enough so the other person would understand what we are saying and that said, life would be great!  Unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way.  Many times there is a ‘blip’ in our communication and understanding, then an argument on whose right or wrong.

The Bible States What Godly Wisdom Really Is!  First, lets look a little deeper into what wisdom is and how to recognize it:

INSIGHT;  The ability to see things from a different perspective that many times others don’t see.  When we think of someone wise, we think of someone who’s scholarly; with much education.  But the Bible states that God will frustrate those who consider themselves wise and intelligent (those with human wisdom).

“For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing.  Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not god shown up the nonsense and the folly of this word’s wisdom?”  (1 Corinthians 1:19-20 AMP).

Why would God want to frustrate those who are educated and wise?

Human wisdom is limited and can only see and understand so far; where godly Wisdom transcends the limitations of the mind; it comes from someone much higher than ourselves; from One who knows more, sees more, understands more…God!

Humans make mistakes, misunderstands but God makes no mistakes and understands all things and yet…we who have been deemed righteous still are attracted by human wisdom.  I noticed a post on Facebook the other day that certainly was incredulous:

“Attended a lecture at Western Washington University tonight on philosophy & religion,

specifically about the problem of evil & suffering in the animal world (like animals killing each other).

The speakers were a biology & philosophy professors.  It was an enjoyable challenge to follow their lines of thought.”

Why would mature Christians go to a college lecture to answer questions about what the Word of God so aptly explains in Scripture? That is a rhetorical question: spiritual immaturity!  Since human wisdom comes from a limited mind; because man can become selfish and boastful claiming all thoughts as his own.  With godly Wisdom, though it is given, take no credit in their understanding of things…give glory to the One it came from…God.

With human wisdom, man only understands the physical, that which he can see.  But godly Wisdom is able to understand past the physical; to things that are unseen.  All because God gives up the wisdom to see things that are unseen to see things more clearly…what we are seeing in front of our faces.

“There is no [human] wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord”  (Proverbs 21:30).

“He who leans on, trust in, and is confident of his own mind and heart is a [self-confident] fool, but he who walks in skillful and godly Wisdom shall be delivered”  (Proverbs 28:26).

“For I [Myself] will give you a mouth and such utterance and wisdom that all your foes combined will be unable to stand against or refute”  (Luke 21:15).

Where are you in your Christian walk regarding godly [Spiritual] Wisdom and understanding?

You might ask yourself right where you are, “I know I depend too much on human wisdom and understanding…so how do I obtain a greater understanding and wisdom in my life?  I certainly desire it!”

The Letter of James gives one of the best answers I could find in Scripture and hold close in my thinking:

“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him”  (James 1:5 AMP).

Some key words spoken here by James:

1.  “any of you”  means exactly that; ‘any’ not just those that are ‘gifted’; church leaders; those who have been Christians forever, your Pastor.

2.  “let him/her ask”.  If you don’t ask you will never receive wisdom or anything else for that matter.

3.  A giving God who gives to everyone…liberally and ungrudgingly, without scolding because you asked Him!

“I came that they [you and I] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” ~ John 10:10

Can you imagine having Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding in abundance, to the full, till it overflows?

4.  The “If” s in Scripture are always conditional; IF you ask, IF you will do, IF anyone thinks himself to be religious, IF My people who are called by My name…

In the case of James 1:5, The IF is concluded by 4-words:  it will be given. Wisdom will be given to you in abundance if you asked;’ till it overflow’s!.

HERE’S MY PRAYER AND FOR ALL THOSE SEEKING SPIRITUAL WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING:

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…Philippians 1:9-10 NKJV.

ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!