The Call of Wisdom
Can you hear me now?
The famous Verizon Wireless commercials spoke to the frustration we all feel at some point using a cell phone. When you’re talking with someone (is it me or does it seem like it’s always during important conversations?) and either they didn’t hear the last minute of what you were saying or you hear every 3 words of what they are saying so you check your signal bars on the phone and then say……”Can you hear me now?” Well that’s what this next section of Proverbs is saying to us of wisdom.
READ PROVERBS 1:20-33
These first couple of verses tell us that wisdom isn’t whispering, she’s loud! But there are a lot of other noises vying for our attention and apart from the grace of the Holy Spirit of God giving us ears to hear, we’ll be distracted, led away by the other noises. Read verses 20-21 again:
These two passages really resonate with me as a call to pray for our kids especially the ones that are starting to spread their wings either in the work force or at college. The “streets” of a career or college aren’t necessarily noisier, but they are new noises which can be much more distracting and dangerous. As our children are growing up, we try to be so careful at what they listen to, watch and/or are exposed to. But as they get older the responsibility falls to them and it’s around the college age that your ability to control that exposure starts to fall off dramatically. But it’s there we continue to pray for them and start putting feet to our faith that the Lord will complete any good work He has started in them. I’m NOT saying you throw them in the deep end of a secular educational institution or work force and say “sink or swim”, but our parenting becomes much different as they transition into an adult. It’s not easy to make this transition a lot of times so we can continue to pastor them. But before you think I’m saying that’s the only time you have to worry about so if you make it through those first few years, you’ll be fine, I am most certainly not.
There are noisy streets at ALL stages of life and our flesh, the world, and the enemy never have a lack of distraction to meet your age appropriate needs. We must remind ourselves multiple times a day every day that there is no ONE completely reliable but the Lord and no THING completely reliable but His Word. Daily distractions like entertainment (including Sports and Outdoors), the pressure of finances, over working, even food can be a distraction to us that drowns out the call of wisdom on our noisy street. Do we have the grace to hear wisdom’s cry? If not, let us ask the Lord for ears to hear today!
So what is wisdom’s cry? Let’s look at verse 22:
It’s like the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” or “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Although it may seem like that for a moment in given situations, it is not ultimately so. Whatever bliss or enjoyment that ignorance can sometimes bring, it is short lived and always foolish. What Solomon is describing here in verse 22 are 3 characteristics of foolishness:
- Love being simple – simple is being defined here as naïve, ignorant.
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. – Proverbs 25:2 (ESV)
There was a news story several years back about the Tampa police department allowing an unknown (and fake) sign language interpreter to sign gibberish during a televised press conference. The Tampa Police Department spokesman said that the lady just showed up and told him she was there to provide the sign language interpretation for their news conference. He assumed that someone else at the department called the service they use for interpreters. “I allowed her to do it. I didn’t ask enough questions,” the TPD spokesperson said. This was a simple mistake but one that was hurtful to the deaf community and costly to the reputation of the Tampa Police Department. When the impact of failure is not considered and proper follow up not performed, it can have extremely undesirable consequences.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. – Proverbs 22:3 (ESV)
When we walk in the Light of God’s word we gain the wisdom, discernment, and knowledge that keeps us safe in Him and brings glory to His name.
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. – Psalms 119:130 (ESV)
- Delight in scoffing – scoffing is when one is verbally degrading from a place of arrogance.
“Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. – Proverbs 21:24 (ESV)
Sports is an area we can get into trouble quickly in regards to scoffing because the goal is to dominate your opponent and when you do, scoffing wants to rise up. In football, there are rules in place to prevent it from getting out of hand, but you still see it when a player makes that unbelievable tackle and as they stand up over their ‘victim’… their body language says it all. Scoffing should have no place in a believer’s life, because at its core is the tearing down of someone else in a way that exalts yourself. It’s easier said than done unfortunately, but in the grace of Jesus Who has made us a new creation, it is possible.
Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath. – Proverbs 29:8 (ESV)
- Foolishly hate knowledge – knowledge here refers to perception, cunning, discernment.
The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: – Psalms 92:6 (ESV)
It does not take long as you’re scrolling on social media, in the news, or for that matter at a family reunion for polarizing topics like social issues, politics, and religion to create an animosity amongst those engaged leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth no matter how good the banana pudding was.
Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? – Psalms 94:8 (ESV)
We don’t like being wrong so much so that we’ll hate and/or attack what disagrees with our understanding of a topic. Ironically the tolerance of the ‘tolerance movement’ is not very tolerant when it comes to the Truth of the knowledge of God. Unfortunately, those traits of animosity towards those who follow Jesus and stand for His Truth are also growing exponentially at many college campuses. Not all professors are that blatant, and it happens not only in classrooms, but work places across the country. Our call is not to be the smartest person in the room, but to speak THE Truth (Jesus) in love. That sometimes means being silent about issues that can cause a needless divide so you can have the platform of speaking the truth that really matters. His Holy Spirit in us will show us the difference if we will listen.
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. – Proverbs 26:4-5 (ESV)
Though the negative impact of foolishness should always concern us, we are quickly promised in verse 23 that if we turn from these 3 characteristics, He will pour out His Spirit on us and make His words known to us… What a blessing!
23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. – Prov. 1:23 (ESV)
As we mentioned in the last article, His Holy Spirit in us is how we learn and comprehend His Truth. And all we have to do is ask. As it says in Luke 11:13,
13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! – Luke 11:13 (ESV)
Don’t believe it? Throughout the book of Acts, we see testimony after testimony how the disciples walked in this. Simple fishermen became mighty men of wisdom of the Word by the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives! Their wisdom and understanding could only be explained by a supernatural act so we cannot use the excuse of being ‘uneducated’ when it comes to His wisdom and understanding, we just need to ask, seek, and knock. Praise the Lord!
Continuing on with our main passage, we see that Solomon goes right back and states what the foolish do instead in verses 24-25:
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, 25 because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, – Prov. 1:24-25 (ESV)
There are several reactive statements here: <I called – You refused> <Offered help – It’s overlooked> <Offered Counsel – You ignored> <I correct – You reject> I find it interesting how there seems to be an overwhelming number of people today dealing with feelings of being overlooked, ignored, and rejected yet the Lord is saying here that our responses to His wisdom are the very feelings that plague so many. I wonder if we’re missing the cure by misapplying the symptoms and treatment. Is the rejection and loneliness we feel actually conviction from the Lord tied directly to our refusing to hear and follow after wisdom? May He give us eyes to see.
As we move on in this passage, there comes a chilling, sobering response from the Lord to ultimate foolishness.
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Whatever temporary bliss foolishness may offer, it will always lead to ruin and it’s laid out plainly in verses 26 – 28. Take a look at that list again:
- Laugh at calamity (that comes like a whirlwind)
- Mock when terror, calamity, distress and anguish come
- Not answer when you call
- Not be found when you seek Him
That all sounds pretty mean, but you have to understand that the Lord, the Maker, has grace and kindness extended so that none of His should perish and that His glory is magnified. We see this in Romans 9:22-23
22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory – Rom 9:22-23 ESV
–Or 2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. – 2Pe 3:9 ESV
But He reiterates in verses 29 – 30 of Proverbs 1:
29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof,
It really cannot get much clearer. If we hate knowledge, do not fear the Lord, have none of His counsel, and despise His reproof it will not go well for us. And it’s His kindness that warns us of this. If you do these things you will eat the fruit of YOUR way… not His. Verse 31 tells us those who live this way will be filled with their own devices. And verse 32 tells us they will be killed by their turning away and destroyed by their complacency
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. 32 For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them;
Now complacency here means abundance, security, quietness, peace. In other words you’ve grown comfortable in your sin, and that’s not a good place as we see in Revelation 3:15-19
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. – Rev 3:15-19 ESV
Solomon closes this passage off on a positive note in verse 33 as he’s laid the consequences of foolishness down pretty heavy in the previous passages.
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.
Again, it’s simple in one sense…. If you listen to the Lord, you will:
- Dwell secure
- Be at ease
- Without dread
So why do we wrestle so much with it? C.S. Lewis had a very surprising answer. “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures fooling about with [temporary pleasures of our flesh] when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ~ C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
The world says “Follow your heart”; The flesh says “Follow your hunger”; The enemy says “Follow anything or anyone but Jesus”. That’s a lot of noise on our busy streets, but wisdom is there crying out as well, “Fear the Lord!”And that is the beginning of wisdom, understanding and knowledge. For when you see the Lord for Who He truly is, you see yourself for who you truly are, and you repent, cry out for grace to the one true Savior, Jesus Christ, and He will save you.
1 John 1:9 (ESV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Get Agape in Your Inbox!
Subscribe to Agape News for the latest messages, news, events, & useful resources.
Live Generously, Give Cheerfully
If the LORD leads you to give as part of worship