A MAN OF UNDERSTANDING
Date: August 1
Category: Wisdom and Understanding
Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 17:24
"The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge and inquires after and craves it, but the mouth of the [self-confident] fool feeds on folly."
"A man of understanding sets skillful and godly Wisdom before his face, but the eyes of a [self-confident] fool are on the ends of the earth."
There are three key things that are needed to succeed in life: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Understanding is based on knowledge, and wisdom is based on understanding. So there is no way you can have wisdom without understanding, and there is no way you can have understanding if you don't have knowledge. That's why we read in Proverbs 15:14a, "The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge and inquires after and craves it…" The word, "seek" in Hebrew is "darash," which means seeking to exertion, to exert energy, to use time, effort, and even to sweat if necessary. That's how we are to seek after knowledge.
We gain knowledge by reading, listening and learning. If we read something just once, it doesn't mean that we understand what we have read. Sometimes we have to read it again and again. That's why it's important to read something several times over (like the Word of God) and even read someone else's commentary on the subject as well to learn even more. Several different people can look at the same thing and interpret that thing differently. In the Bible, there are four different gospels. Four different men witnessed the same event, but they all wrote four different gospels about it. They wrote about similar things and events (the Lord Jesus Christ), but they interpreted those events differently.
So as it says in Proverbs 15:14a, "The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge and inquires after and craves it." That means that he will read, research, listen, learn, study, and even memorize to acquire knowledge. Knowledge is power. As you increase in knowledge, you'll also increase in power. Then the second part of verse 14 says, "but the mouth of the [self-confident] fool feeds on folly." Those are confident in themselves often talk nonsense. They often talk foolishness. That's why it's always better to be confident in God and His Word than in us. If we put our confidence in God's Word, then we'll speak words of wisdom and not words of nonsense.
Then we read in Proverbs 17:24a, "A man of understanding sets skillful and godly Wisdom before his face…" Skillful and godly wisdom is wisdom what will help us succeed in God and in life. Someone who has understanding will put skillful and godly wisdom before his face, meaning he will make that his main focus. He will make that his greatest goal. That's why a man of understanding will always succeed in life. Then we read in the rest of verse 24, "but the eyes of a [self-confident] fool are on the ends of the earth." So again, the self-confident will always look at everything else except gaining skillful and godly wisdom. The eyes of someone who isn't focused are all over the place, meaning he never finishes one task or achieves one goal. That's why the self-confident fool isn't successful.
So a man of understanding will always look towards gaining knowledge. Not only that, but he will always seek after skillful and godly wisdom. That's why success comes to him. He has all three: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. And he will use all of that to make wise choices in life to bring about success. For example, if a man of understanding is a student who has homework, he will do his homework first and then play. If a man of understanding is a man who has a mortgage, he will pay off the mortgage first and then take a vacation. If a man of understanding is a man who's struggling in his relationship, he will do whatever he needs to do to make his relationship successful. Someone who is focused will always pay attention to things that need to be done first. But a fool who is self-confident will always sway from one thing to another without ever accomplishing anything.
So today, let's be an example of the wise man we read about in these passages. Let's be people of understanding. If we are people of understanding, then we will seek after knowledge and we will place wisdom before our faces. If we do all that then we will make wise and godly decisions. Those wise decisions will cause us to be successful, both in our spiritual lives and in our natural lives.