Tag Archives: proverbs

The Wise Woman — Ursula Torbett

Christian sisters, is there ever a time that we shouldn’t be wise?  According to Proverbs 4:5-7, we need to get wisdom and understanding because wisdom is primary.  So how do we get wisdom?

Wisdom is sought diligently by those who understand its principles and neglected by those who don’t.  A wise woman builds her home with wisdom, weaving it in and out of the fabric of her life and the lives of her family (Pr. 14:1).  Contrast the foolish woman who destroys her home, tearing away the good, leaving the rubble of confusion and shattered lives.  As God said through Solomon, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established” (Pr. 24:3).

True wisdom is solidly built on a foundation comprised of learned experiences and godly knowledge.  The wise woman gains her wisdom by being a student of God’s Word and by learning from her mistakes.  She is quite different from the foolish, who are doomed to repeat their mistakes over and over again because they have neglected to learn the valuable lessons that accompany each folly and have failed to pay heed to God’s Word.

Wisdom Isn’t Greatness

Elihu stated that great and aged men are not always wise (Jb. 32:9).  Whenever this is the case, it is because they have not learned godly wisdom; rather, they rely on worldly wisdom.

The truly great things of life often come in the smallest or most humble of packages.  Take our Lord, for example.  Why did so many reject Him?  It was because they were looking for greatness, a king, someone of renowned stature and beauty.  The greatest man to ever walk the earth had no beauty or majesty (Is. 53:2).

Proverbs 30:24-28 gives some wonderful examples of very small and humble creatures that are exceedingly wise.  They don’t have the majesty of the bald eagle or the fierceness of the lion; yet God highlights their great abilities within their humble characteristics.

The ants, though not strong, are busy preparing food in the summer (Pr. 6:6-8).  They are hard workers wisely preparing for the next season.  The Lord honors the hard worker (Pr. 12:11, 24; 13:4; 14:23).

The badgers are feeble, but find shelter and protection in the rocks.  Those who seek wisdom seek the shelter of the Lord (Pr. 27:12; 29:25).

With no king, the locusts advance in ranks.  How many armies can accomplish this feat?  They are unified and of one mind, disciplined and ordered.  Do you wish to be counted among the wise?  Then accept discipline (Pr. 19:20).

Finally, the spider or the lizard (there is some discrepancy here among the commentators; however, we can draw from both.)  The spider spins its webs, using its legs to make a most beautiful and strong work of art.  Its beauty comes from within.  The lizard grasps with its legs to move quickly and with great ease.  They are everywhere, unnoticed, working in silence.

Wisdom comes from God, not man.  We should not be wise in our own eyes; rather, we should fear the Lord and depart from evil (Pr. 3:7).  Those engorged with worldly wisdom live without God.  They choose to live life full of perverted truths and false hopes.

With no king, sin was rampant in Israel.  Every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judg. 17:6; 21:25).  The wisdom of God addresses those who live their lives this way.  They are pure in their own eyes, yet not washed from their filthiness (Pr. 30:12).  They have deceived themselves.  Their greatness is from within, not from God.

Wise Women Teach Us

The first example that comes to mind is the very familiar parable of the ten virgins (Mt. 25:1-13).  A couple of great lessons really stand out in this account.

The most obvious quality of the five wise women was their preparedness.  Are there ever any guarantees that things will always run smoothly?  Those who prepare wisely face fewer crises than those who don’t.

Secondly, these wise women said, “No,” to the efforts of foolishness.  “No” is such an important and often neglected word.  Some of the problems with neglecting this very small word is that we become overcommitted, which leads to becoming stressed, which in turn results in our behaving in unbecoming ways.  Consequently, those who are closest to us suffer the most.  Even if we’re doing the Lord’s work, we must be careful to not over-extend ourselves.  This does nothing good for those around us and it can even hurt the work of the church.

If our “good” works turn into a laborious task of stresses, we do more harm than good.  We hurt relationships and can ruin our influence with family, friends and the lost.  When our family feels neglected because we have committed so much to everyone else, we lost much more than we were hoping to gain.  Sometimes it is best to let go, or just say, “No.”

The Queen of Sheba is the next example which comes to mind.  She sought out wisdom and even came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear Solomon’s wisdom (1 Ki. 10; 2 Ch. 9:3, 5; Lk. 11:31).

Today, the wise woman seeks the wisdom of One far greater than Solomon.  Her search for wisdom begins in prayer (Ja. 1:5).  We should pray daily for wisdom to help us guard our tongues, our thoughts, and our hearts.

Women of wisdom are blessed because they listen to and act on wise instruction (Pr. 8:33; 19:20).  They are drawn to wise teaching just as the Queen of Sheba was drawn to Solomon (Pr. 18:15).

The third example comes from the wise Israelite women who skillfully spun multi-colored yarns and fine twined linen during Moses’ day (Ex. 35:25-26).  Matthew Henry comments that these women were wise-hearted because they spun heartily to the Lord.  So much bountiful work for the Lord can be accomplished if hearts are right.  They had a spirit of cooperation.

Wise workers are sober-minded, redeeming the time (Ps. 90:12; Ep. 5:16; Co. 4:5).  A wise woman measures out the time in which she has to accomplish a task and sticks to it until it is done.

Wisdom encompasses the idea of humility and meekness.  Our works are to be done in the meekness of wisdom (Ja. 3:13).  The knowledge of the wise is coated in humility (Pr. 11:2), and those who open themselves up to God’s Word gain understanding (Pr. 14:6).

The last example of a wise woman which comes to mind from Scripture is found in the woman from the city of Abel (2 Sa. 20:11-22).  The wisdom and prudence of this respected woman saved her people.  The biggest breakdown in solving problems usually comes down to a lack of proper communication.  This woman understood the importance of listening to understand the desires and demands of others.  She communicated with both sides and after wise deliberation was able to bring peace to her people and justice to others.

The wise woman has a mouth of righteousness that speaks wisdom, and her tongue talks of justice (Ps. 37:30).  The lips of the wise woman disperse knowledge (Pr. 15:7).  She speaks what others need to hear to help benefit their lives.  They seek her advice and trust her.

Obtaining Wisdom

How do we obtain wisdom?  Unfortunately, we aren’t born with wisdom.  It’s a developed trait.  Some are more sober-minded or serious than others, but they still need to develop wisdom.

We should start at the beginning.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Pr. 9:10).  Should we not have a reverenced awe for the One who is the very definition of wisdom and Who is the possessor and giver of all wisdom?

God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to those who are good in His sight (Ec. 2:26).  Goodness comes from keeping the Lord’s commands with the right attitude.  The wise woman heeds instruction, loves her own soul and finds good because she keeps understanding (Pr. 16:20; 19:8).  Striving to be good, she trusts in the Lord and thereby is greatly blessed.  God blesses those who are good in His sight with the precious gifts of wisdom, knowledge and joy.  Only a wise person can truly understand and appreciate the value of such wonderful blessings.

Scripture says that God “stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly” (Pr. 2:7).  The Lord has provided wisdom in His Word for those who are wise enough to “get” it.  This verse should make every Christian so happy.  Great joy should accompany the knowledge that the Lord is our protector and our shield.  He is a shield against Satan and His Word is a shield against the foolishness of this world…but only for the upright, only for the wise.

Wisdom Is Precious…And Wise Women Know It

Wisdom is better than rubies and all things we desire (Pr. 8:11).  Gold pales in the presence of it (Pr. 16:16).  Coral, pearls and rubies are of no value compared to wisdom (Jb. 28:18).

The greatest riches are found in the wisdom and knowledge of God (Ro. 11:33).  They are more precious than all the riches of the earth (Ja. 3:17).  May we all continue to strive to humbly obtain it through study of and obedience to the precious Word of God!

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice…Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Proverbs 1:20, 33

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The Challenge To Teach The Truth – Dave Wood

The Proverbs writer once challenged young men to, “Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Prov. 23:23).

One might wonder why Solomon needed to challenge any young Israelite to appreciate the truth.  Is it possible that Israel suffered from the very issues that plague Christians today?  Namely, there will be times when the truth is not popular and you will be pressured to “sell” it.  Paul would instruct his “child in the faith” to “preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).

Marshall Keeble explained that preaching the word, as used in this verse was “…preaching when they want to hear it and preaching when they don’t.”

Solomon’s challenge is still pertinent to preachers today: “Buy the truth and sell it not…”

There is considerable pressure for a preacher to just use pleasing words and not disrupt the status quo.  A preacher, however, is a proclaimer of God’s Word.  With that thought in mind a preacher ought always to let God have His say in every lesson and sermon given.  Let us consider this challenge issued by God’s inspiration.

“Buying the truth.”  What should this mean for the preacher, especially the preacher who is involved in a new work?  Naturally with a new work there can be great pressure on the preacher and his family.  This man has many new faces and names to learn and alongside those faces there are personalities for this preacher to understand.  There exists a desire in every man to be accepted and appreciated.  To meet these pressures, a man might think to soften his Sunday morning sermon or to skip certain verses in a Bible class.

But we are to buy the truth, which gives the idea of making an investment.  When it comes to truth (i.e., God’s word, the Bible, the gospel) no expense is too high.  “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in so doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16).

Men, in order to “take heed…unto the doctrine” you must know the doctrine.  You must know the truth!  Because you cannot proclaim what you do not know, the challenge is to invest time in studying God’s Word.  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

Timothy was challenged to study, to give diligence to the truth of God’s Word.  There is a sense of urgency in Paul’s admonition.  Do not put off knowing God’s will, do not put off doing God’s will, and do not put off teaching God’s will!

“Buying the truth” also means that you might, at times, be at odds with people.  In Romans 1:18 Paul described some people as holding down the truth by their unrighteous behavior.  When mankind shrugs off the truth of God’s word they certainly do not appreciate a reminder of God’s counsel.  It becomes offensive to such a darkened heart.  Those at Galatia had listened to false teaching and Paul reminded them again of the truth.  “For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).

If there is a choice to make between pleasing God or men, make sure to please God.  It is difficult to know which way the winds of men are blowing.  What is popular one day has perished tomorrow, but truth is always right.  The preacher’s challenge is to buy the truth.

Solomon’s warning is two-fold.  It is not enough to make an investment in the truth, but never, ever sell it.  In other words, the challenge given is to not be a sell-out.  Balak, the king of the Moabites, had a problem.  The Israelites were coming.  Balak had heard about a man who lived a long way from the Moabites, in Mesopotamia.  Balaam was a man whose talents were for hire.  do you remember this man?  Balaam had a reputation for blessing people or cursing people.  His reputation was such that representatives in Moab would make the journey to Mesopotamia to secure the services of Balaam.  Balaam had a great opportunity to stand firmly with the Lord and he wasted it.  Both 2 Peter 2:15 and Jude 11 mention Balaam and how he sold the truth for financial gain.  This man had a price.  Do you?  Do not sell the truth, no matter what!

A preacher sells the truth when he fails to teach all of God’s commands.  Paul confidently declared to the Ephesian elders, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

When Paul declared the whole counsel of God, was there anything that he left out?  What would happen if Paul felt fear of being rejected and shunned?  Preachers have put a price tag on godly counsel by refusing to preach on Matthew 19:9 where Jesus stated there is only one reason which a person can seek a divorce and be remarried without living in adultery.  Preachers put a price tag on the truth when they add to God’s word by teaching that the inclusion of mechanical musical instruments in worship is acceptable to God.  This is not God’s counsel because there is no authority for it anywhere in the New Testament.  Preachers put a price tag on the truth when they bind their own scruples on others.  There are those who feel it is wrong to eat “in the church,” so they wrest and twist the scriptures to their satisfaction.  Either way, whether a preacher is taking away from the counsel of God or adding to the counsel of God, he has auctioned off the truth.

There are members of the church who will attempt to persuade preachers to teach and preach their own way.  There is only one thing that will save souls and that is the pure, unadulterated gospel of God.  Consider Paul’s thesis statement for the book of Romans:  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

To hear some preachers teach, it is obvious that they think their abilities are the power to salvation, because in their lessons they make more references to their personal stories than to scripture.

There is one path that is always right, there is one message that is always true, and it is found in the Bible, not in the minds of men.  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).

The challenge stands to everyone in the Lord’s body, whether preacher, teacher, elder, or deacon: buy the truth, and sell it not.  Now what will you do?

Broad Street Church of Christ, Statesville, NC