WORDS OF THE WISE
Date: August 8
Category: After Repentance
"Listen (consent and submit) to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them in your mind [believing them]; your lips will be accustomed to [confessing] them."
This is a very instructional passage. First of all it says in verse 17a that we are to, "Listen (consent and submit) to the words of the wise…" So the people who are wise are the people whose words we should be listening to. Not only should we listen to the wise, but we should also consent and submit to them, meaning we are to agree with and obey those words that we hear. Then in verse 17b we read, "..and apply your mind to my knowledge." So we are to concentrate our minds upon knowledge and receive what we are listening to. Then in verse 18a we read, "for it will be pleasant if you keep them in your mind [believing them]…" In other words, if we believe what we have learned and meditate upon that knowledge, then it will be beneficial for us. And verse 18b says, "..your lips will be accustomed to [confessing] them." So eventually you will be familiarized with what you've learned and start confessing those words of wisdom as well.
But what are the words of the wise reffered to in this passage? Well we can find the words of the wise throughout the entire Bible, but what is specifically meant here is found in Proverbs 22:22 until Proverbs 24:22. Those three chapters primarily contain what those words of wisdom are. Those are the words that we should be listening to, meditating upon, and talk about. I will attempt to summarize some of the key things from these chapters in today's devotional.
In Proverbs 22 it says in verse 22, "Rob not the poor [being tempted by their helplessness], neither oppress the afflicted at the gate [where the city court is held]." In other words, we should treat the poor fairly. Then in verse 24 we read, "Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do not associate." So we should not befriend people who are hot-tempered and who always act out in anger. We have no place being with such people because eventually we will learn their ways (verse 25). Then in verse 26 it says, "Be not one of those who strike hands and pledge themselves, or of those who become security for another's debts." So we shouldn't go into debt ourselves and we certainly should not go into a partnership debt with someone else. Verse 29 says, "Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men." So when we do more than what's expected, we will stand before people of high authority and receive promotion.
In Proverbs 23 it says in verse 4, "Weary not yourself to be rich; cease from your own [human] wisdom." We should never desire riches so much that we neglect seeking God and His wisdom. Verse 12 reads, "Apply your mind to instruction and correction and your ears to words of knowledge." In other words, always listen to instruction and heed to correction; our ears should always be open to words of knowledge. Then in verse 13, "Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the [reedlike] rod, he will not die." Children need discipline. One of the worst things that parents can do to their children is withhold discipline from them. Verse 25 says, "Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice." So we should always be good to our parents, respecting and obeying them. Our parents should always think of us with gladness and joy.
Then in Proverbs 24 we read in verse 3, "Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation]" A family life is only built successfully when it's built on the solid foundation of skillful and godly wisdom. Verse 14 says, "So shall you know skillful and godly Wisdom to be thus to your life; if you find it, then shall there be a future and a reward, and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off." So if you seek after wisdom first, then you will have a hope and a future. You will receive your expectations in life.
There are many other things that can be mentioned in these three chapters. But I believe that these are some of the key words of wisdom that we should heed to. We should apply our minds to this knowledge because when we believe these words, then we will find pleasure and fulfillment in life. If we continually listen and meditate upon these words, then eventually we will be accustomed to speaking them. Speaking them is so important because as we speak the Word of God, we will bless God and we will bless ourselves. If you summarize the words of wisdom here, you can see that the essence of it is to have a proper relationship with God and a proper relationship with people. Those are the things we should nurture!