What would you do if God showed you there is something that you need to get? Would you ignore it, delay it, or go immediately and lay hold of it?
In Proverbs 4 God is telling us all that there is one thing that we should get. It’s not better behavior, improved church attendance, or a religious activity. He tells us to pursue wisdom. In Proverbs 4:7 God exhorts us to get wisdom. In fact, the repetitive way that this is stated in verse 5 is a method that Solomon used — remember the mention of Hebrew poetry in the post from day one — to place great emphasis on a topic and reiterate it. He is saying that of all the things in the world to pursue, we should pursue wisdom, and double our effort in doing it.
Here is where this becomes astonishing. Take a deep breath. Here it is: the pursuit of wisdom is not a journey toward religious rules. It’s not at all. Pursuing God’s wisdom is not about becoming more religious (those of you who are 10th degree black belt, industrial strength Baptists might need to reach for you heart medication or inhaler now). Pursuing God’s wisdom is about pursuing a Person. God’s Wisdom is found in His Word, and even more so, found in His Living Word: Jesus. Consider these two verses:
“but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24
“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”1 Corinthians 1:30
Get a dose of this: We find wisdom in God’s Word; Jesus is the Living Word of God (John 1:1, John 1:14), and Jesus is the Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). Does it seem like someone just turned on the truth defroster and your foggy spiritual windshield cleared up a bit? Here is the knee-buckling, heart-sparking part: We are to pursue Jesus, and we do so by reading the Word of God, as we do the Holy Spirit then makes the Living Word (Jesus) alive to us in the written Word (Bible). Think of it this way, you are not reading the Bible to accumulate wisdom; as you read the Bible you get to know Christ and in getting to know Him you grow in His wisdom. He doesn’t drop wisdom pellets into your soul as you read the Bible. He reveals Himself to you and as you grow in knowing Him you become more like Him and receive His wisdom. Allow Ephesians 1:17 to pull back the curtains a little bit and let more light in on this:
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,”
Don’t zip past this. This verse shows us that it is in knowing, and growing in knowing, Jesus — “in the knowledge of him — that we receive wisdom. Holy Saturated Fats! That’s incredible. We gain wisdom through knowing Christ. It’s not about religion, it’s about your relationship with Him.
This post might have been a bit long. Sorry, sort of. But, the one thing that I hope that you receive in this post is this: Solomon wasn’t wise because he was religious or supremely moral (in fact, he kind of messed up a lot on both of those), he was wise because He knew and depended upon God. The same is true for us. You will not become more wise through religious somersaults or moral pull-ups, you grow in wisdom through knowing Jesus Christ.
In the first post I suggested that you watch out for three regular characters in Proverbs: the wise, the simple, and the foolish. Let me introduce the main character of Proverbs: Jesus. He is the One who is the wisdom of God and imparts it to you as you get to know Him.
Grasping this will help you see how the blessings of growing in the wisdom of God listed in Proverbs 4:22-27 become reality in your life. They are not formed by rule-keeping, they are received from a Person — Jesus. He is the One who:
- Gives you life (22)
- Keeps your heart (23)
- Guards/restrains your words (24) — I sure need this one!
- Keeps you on track, focused, and moving straight ahead (25)
- Helps you consider your steps and life-direction (26)
- Helps you bear true on His course for you (27)
A set of rules, or religious activity, cannot do those things for you. But, Jesus will do them in you and for you! As you read the Bible, you are getting to know the One who is eager to do those things for you. Bible reading takes on a whole different meaning now, doesn’t it?