From the Archives: Pursuing Wisdom

originally published June 5, 2011

In the first Psalm, David contrasts the ways of the righteous and the wicked. In the first chapter of Proverbs, Solomon does the same thing between the wise and the foolish. He goes on to encourage his sons (and by extension all readers) to pursue wisdom.

David was a poet and a musician. He not only wrote songs and played instruments, but he made trumpets for the temple musicians. In Biblical times the Psalms were sung. Think of this book as their hymnal. Solomon was David’s son, and world renown for his wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom sayings, some perhaps written by Solomon himself and others collected. In both cases, righteousness and wisdom must be pursued. One must seek after them, like walking down a path. There is more than one path, and we must think about which we are choosing.

David tells us the righteous are like trees planted by rivers of water. The tree roots dig in, firmly holding the tree in place while it is abundantly nourished. The righteous person digs into the Word of God the same way. By being firmly rooted in his Word, by meditating on it, the righteous person is not tossed about from one idea or teacher to another. The wicked are driven as in the wind. One might try a little of this or a little of that, looking for what suits them or provides answers. They might dabble in Christianity, a little Oprah, a little Scientology and so forth. Some arrive at the idea there is no God (Psalm 14:1). The righteous are firmly rooted in the truth, standing on solid ground, and hold fast even when the world falls apart around them. Righteousness and wickedness, and their ends, and compared so that the reader can choose wisely.

Solomon goes on in Proverbs 1 to personify wisdom as a woman standing in the street calling out seeking followers. Wisdom, like righteousness, must be sought after. The righteous meditate in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:2) meanwhile the foolish despise instruction (Prov 1:7). No matter how “smart” one may naturally be, wisdom doesn’t just fall into anyone’s lap. I’ve heard it said that even when opportunity knocks we must get up and answer the door. Solomon has a lot to say about laziness as well. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; it is the first step in the right direction. The way to wisdom is a path one must choose to walk.

We often think of wisdom as coming with age and experience. There is nothing more sad than an old fool – wisdom is not guaranteed. The fool rejects instruction. Some will simply choose not to learn from their mistakes, and refuse to listen to wise counsel. They will grow old lacking wisdom despite the many experiences they had to learn from. Jesus tells his followers that if any lack wisdom to ask of God, who gives to all liberally. If we fear the Lord, meditate in his law and word, and ask him for it, we may become wise. It is a choice and a lifestyle. The path to wisdom and righteousness may be difficult, but we are promised the reward will be great. Laziness may appear to pay off right now, just as the wicked appear in this lifetime to prosper. But David also mentions the judgement. On Judgement Day Jesus will separate those that are his from those that not, like dividing the wheat from tares.

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Mind Blown by Psalms

No matter how many times you read the Bible, no matter how much you think you know, there will always be new discoveries to make.  It’s an old story that never gets old.  And so it’s been with me here lately in the Book of Psalms.

Many people love the Psalms and Proverbs, even if they rarely enjoy other Old Testament books.  Our church has been studying through Psalms on Sunday nights.  For the first time in my life I have a pastor that is a few years younger than I am.  He often defers to me as an authority on the scriptures.  But I have to tell you this: Psalm 139 the other night – blew… my… mind. Continue reading

Thanksgiving

Christians do not agree about the celebration of Halloween.  There is some dispute over Christmas.  Let’s embrace Thanksgiving for all its worth.

There is an argument to be made for the Christian roots of Halloween.  The very name is created from the words Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day.  But let’s be honest, unless you’re Roman Catholic most American do not celebrate All Saints (or even know what it is).  Would you celebrate Christmas Eve if you didn’t believe in Christmas?  Halloween may also have roots in paganism, and is certainly associated today with the occult and many “non-Christian” activities as well. Continue reading

Happy Monday

Several of my Facebook friends are participating in the 30 Days of Thanksgiving.  Each day you post one thing your thankful for.  I think I’m going to post one verse or group of verses from Psalms each day.  Check the new feature in the left-hand side bar.  (If you’re in a reader, drop by the website every now and then.)

Speaking of Thanksgiving – There is much disagreement among Christians over the celebration of Halloween.  There is some dispute over Christmas.  We should totally embrace Thanksgiving.  Expect a full length post on this soon.  We are not commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ.  (I’m not saying we shouldn’t, but more on that later.) We are expressly commanded to give thanks.

Power crews, utility trucks, National Guardsmen, TSA agents, water and a host of other people and supplies have gathered from all over the nation to assist in the recovery effort following Superstorm Sandy.  Christians, here is our chance to be the body of Christ. Continue reading

There is Much to be Thankful For

A psalm for giving thanks.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
-David, Psalm 100

Easter and Christmas are the most prolific Christian holidays celebrated in the United States, but in the strictest sense those are not commanded in scripture.  As far as we know, the followers of Jesus never did anything special for his birthday.  Recognizing that the Son of God came into the world as incarnate deity is paramount to the Christian faith, but what I’m saying is that no verse in scripture instructs us to celebrate Christmas.  Further, Christians worship on Sunday rather than the Sabbath, or seventh day, because the resurrection was on the first day of the week.  In a sense, every Sunday is Easter Sunday.

We are instructed to give thanks. Continue reading

Pursuing Wisdom

In the first Psalm, David contrasts the ways of the righteous and the wicked.  In the first chapter of Proverbs, Solomon does the same thing between the wise and the foolish.  He goes on to encourage his sons (and by extension all readers) to pursue wisdom.

David was a poet and a musician.  He not only wrote songs and played instruments, but he made trumpets for the temple musicians.  In Biblical times the Psalms were sung.  Think of this book as their hymnal.  Solomon was David’s son, and world renown for his wisdom.  The book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom sayings, some perhaps written by Solomon himself and others collected.  In both cases, righteousness and wisdom must be pursued.  One must seek after them, like walking down a path.  There is more than one path, and we must think about which we are choosing. Continue reading