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Monday, September 16, 2013

Characteristics of Wisdom — Proverbs 8 and 9



        Proverbs 9 is about a Woman called “wisdom” building a house. This is not a temporary house, but a solid, permanent house this Woman is building. Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. Proverbs 9:1 Usually a man would be the one to build a house, but here God has characterized wisdom as a Woman. This Woman is building a spiritual house.   She symbolizes the Bride of Christ made up of both males and females, Jews and Gentiles, bond servants and free who are full of the wisdom of the Word of God.
        This Woman called Wisdom cries out. She desires to be heard. She desires to bring others to her King of Wisdom.

Woman called Wisdom

        Let me take you back to the first mention of “Woman” in scripture in Genesis 2:23. God has shaped and formed a bride for the first Adam out of a blood-soaked rib from Adam's side. Adam whom God had given the authority to name all living things called her “Woman.” Both Adam and the Woman were holy at this time. They were clothed in God's glory and light—were naked and unashamed because they had no sin. So, as “Woman” she was the holy bride of a holy man! Woman is an honorable title meaning “Queen.” Adam and the Woman are a foreshadowing of the holy Man Jesus and His holy Bride. The end was in the beginning! Jesus birthed His Bride through the wound in His side that poured out the blood of salvation and the water of the Anointed (Holy Spirit) Word that brings forth spiritual life.
       This “Woman” in Proverbs 9 is a picture of the Bride of Christ full of the wisdom of the Word building the Temple of God in the hearts of humanity. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge. Godly wisdom has to do with values and character.
        Wisdom has built (established) this Woman's house. First this Woman cut seven pillars to uphold (support) the house. We have already seen that Jesus has 7 spirits that uphold Him. In other words, the fullness of the Holy Spirit will rest upon Him--Spirit of the fear of the Lord, Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power and knowledge. This Woman who is building the House of God will also have these 7 spirits in part not in fullness like Jesus who was sinless. These 7 pillars uphold the structure completely and perfectly. This Woman called Wisdom will have a permanent place in which to reside--a rock solid place built on a firm foundation.
        Not only has she hewn out 7 pillars from a rock to uphold this permanent house, “she has killed her beasts (meat, flesh) and mixed her wine.” Proverbs 9:2 In the Older Testament, beasts” (animals) were used for sacrifices to God as well as a drink offering of wine. In the New Testament, true believers in Jesus are to be living sacrifices to God since Jesus was the Living Sacrifice of God for us. It is the Lamb who is worthy to “receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” Revelation 5:12  Here we see that Jesus has received wisdom, power, riches, strength, honor, glory and praise for a total of 7 the number of perfection. We must allow the Godhead to put our beastly flesh to death as our sacrifice to God so we walk in the Spirit with the Word established in us by doing it as we build God's House. Wine represents the blood of Jesus, but it also represents true (pure) teaching and blessing in scripture. Jesus is the carrier of the wine of pure Truth that brings spiritual life. Fermented wine symbolizes false truth – impure doctrine. Revelation 17 speaks of the harlot woman who is drunk on impure wine – the wine of fornication. Followers of Christ are to be filled with the wine of the Holy Spirit and Truth. (Ephesians 5:18)
        She has also set her table. Proverbs 9:2 This Woman named Wisdom has set a table fit for her King in preparation for His coming. Jesus who is the Word is this Wisdom. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (see Colossians 2:3) Jesus says to His disciples in Luke 21:15, “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict."  The pure Truth cannot be disputed! 
        She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point in the city. Proverbs 9:3 This Woman sent out the younger ones she has taught to reach others and invite them to her feast of wisdom also. She calls from the highest (elevated) place in the city. She has gone higher and wants others to come to the table of her King-- the Anointed Word-- so they can go higher also. Right up to the end, the Spirit and the Bride of Christ are calling people to "Come" to Jesus for salvation and eternal life.   “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Revelation 22:17

7 Attributes (Pillars) of Wisdom – Proverbs 8 :12-14

        In Proverbs 9, the Woman called Wisdom is building a permanent house, but in Proverbs 8, she is outside calling out from the high places “where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud.”  She is bold. She is out in the open in the highest place so everyone can see and hear her. Wisdom takes her stand and cries out at the path of right and wrong. She raises her voice “to all mankind.”v4  Humanity has higher intellect than the beasts of the air and the field. She is calling out to humanity.  This is what the Bride of Christ is to do – reach out to all mankind and teach right from wrong. If those invited refuse to come, then go out into the highways and byways and invite them to come to Jesus and His Word of salvation and wisdom.
        Jesus told a parable about a great banquet in Luke 14:16-24. The Word of God is a great feast of wisdom. In this parable, a certain Man (Jesus) invited people to a great feast but they made excuses as to why they couldn't come. Work kept the first from coming. Then gaining material goods kept the second. The next was their wife and marriage. They were all too busy to spend time with Jesus and His Word. Instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, they were busy getting rich in the worldly ways.  So Jesus tells His servants to go out and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. In other words, those who are in need and distress. Invite these to come.  The wisdom of the Word will address any need a person may have.
        This Woman called Wisdom isn't just sitting around doing nothing. She has worked hard building a house and preparing a great meal. No one who accepts her invitation will go hungry. She will share her wisdom with all who desire it. Gaining wisdom is a choice! This Woman called Wisdom tells all to come and eat her food and drink the wine she has poured out. It is her spiritual food and wine that she wants others to partake of.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have prepared a banquet for us in the Word of God.  It can only be eaten and received by those who come to it daily.   Wisdom is available to all who seek it. God gave us the Book of Wisdom – the Bible –to feed, teach, guide and equip us. James says that if any lack wisdom, we are to ask and God will give it to us in great measure. The Wisdom of the Word is the way into the Holy City because Jesus is the Word!
         Solomon, the King of Wisdom and Peace, mentions seven pillars of wisdom in Proverbs 8 beginning in verse 12: I wisdom dwell with prudence. I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.”
  1. Prudence – This is practical knowledge (good judgment). Those who are wise will also be practical and have good judgment. Wisdom and prudence live in the same house. Those with prudence will not be easily misled but will think about the results of any of their actions. In the Gospels, Jesus warned His disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” This is prudence! Proverbs 14:15: A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
  2. Knowledge and discretion – Wisdom possesses knowledge and discretion. Wisdom gathers knowledge and facts about any subject but it will also give us good judgment. The Wisdom of the Word will give us the knowledge of God and His ways by revealing Him to us, but He must also be revealed through us by our actions, words and deeds.            Discretion is the freedom to act on one's own after thought and a plan of action – judging wisely and objectively. Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course.” Pharaoh looked for a “a discerning and wise man” to rule with him as his right hand man over all of Egypt. (Genesis 41:33) God sent His chosen and precious Son to rule over all the earth as His Right Hand Man. Pharaoh chose Joseph to rule over an earthly kingdom, but God chose Jesus, His only begotten Son, to rule over an earthly and a heavenly, eternal Kingdom.
           Godly wisdom will give discernment in making decisions. It keeps us operating in harmony with the principles and purposes of the Lord. Wisdom judges things in the light of scripture and God's ways and will. “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.” Wisdom sees things in the light of eternity not just the earthly. Wisdom will warn of danger or evil so we will avoid it.
  3. Fear of the LordThe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! For believers, this is a reverential fear and awe of His holiness, beauty, power, authority and love. The fear of the Lord will make us hate evil, even the evil (sin) within us. It will also help us to hate pride and arrogance within us and make us humble. God gives grace to the humble. “No good thing will the Lord withhold from them that fear Him.” Psalm 84:11
  4. Counsel – “Counsel and judgment are Mine.” The Bible says there is wisdom in many counselors (Proverbs 11:14), but our main Counselor is the Wonderful Counselor Jesus (Isaiah 9:6) and the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth/Wisdom. These two are one! They work together – Spirit and Truth/Word – as One. David says in Psalm 119:24, “Your statutes (Word) are my delight, they are my counselors.” And Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” We must go to the Godhead and the Word to receive God's counsel. If we seek the counsel of others, we must be sure that we are seeking the counsel of those who know and understand God and His ways.
           Throughout the Older Testament, kings, judges and rulers sought the counsel of “wise men” when making decisions regarding the kingdom. God wants us to do the same. David and his son Solomon were given wisdom from God, but they still sought the counsel of other wise men in making decisions.
  5. Sound judgment (wisdom) Proverbs begins by saying in 1:3 that the proverbs of Solomon were for “attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right, just and fair.....”
             Sound judgment and wisdom also come from the Lord and His Word. Christ is the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24) Since Jesus is the Word of God and the wisdom of God, we gain sound judgment and wisdom from the Word. We must take the wisdom we learn from the Word and apply it to our lives and any decision we are about to make or action we are about to do. Sound wisdom is compared to the wisdom of the world and our flesh which is not sound. Wisdom comes through the “hearing” and the “doing” of the Word. As we walk in His counsel, we will have sound judgment/wisdom.
  6. Understanding – God is also the source of understanding. We must know the Source if we are to get understanding. No one truly understands the ways and mind of God except the Godhead. Understanding also comes from the Word of God. Knowledge with understanding brings wisdom. “I gain understanding from your precepts (Word), therefore I hate every wrong path.” Psalm 119:104 Again in Psalm 119: 144, David writes, “Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.” In other words, help me grasp what you are saying that I may have spiritual life.
           “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-- His eternal power and Divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:10 In other words, the “natural” (visible) on earth reveals the “spiritual” (invisible). This is what I am trying to show you in my teachings. The earthly and the spiritual harmonize. The visible is a picture of the invisible because it is all God's creation. It is why both God and Jesus used the “natural” to teach “supernatural” truth.
            Since humanity is of the earth, He wants His followers to reveal Him to others through our actions, words and deeds.
  7. Power – God in His infinite wisdom sent His Son and the power of His Holy Spirit to not only save us but to also give us power to learn of Him, obey Him and carry out His purpose and plan for our life. Doing the other six pillars of wisdom will strengthen us in His power and might.
       It is knowing, understanding and doing the Word that will transform us into the image of the King of Wisdom – Jesus. We must receive His instruction first and then do it. It is in the “doing” that it becomes alive in us and changes us. Christ must be revealed to us through the Word, but then we must receive Him and the Word into our hearts by doing it. If we don't receive His Word, then it doesn't belong to us. We have cast it aside. Where the Word of God dwells richly, the light, love and image of Christ shines brightly.

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