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I think it’s important that I introduce today’s episode by talking about my expectations for this series.
Though I have discussed some real-life, practical elements about how to help our kids grow in their knowledge and understanding, I recognize that the bulk of our content so far has been more theoretical — more philosophical, primarily theological.
And that really was the point.
The Teach Your Children to Learn Series introduced The Circle of Learning, and this series is helping us better understand what the Bible really means when it talks about knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and the fear of the Lord.
Now, for those of you who are looking for some really practical steps to take with your kids, I have three things for you.
But — for those who have been a little unhappy at the amount of practical content in this sub-series — I want to discourage you from looking down on the material we have covered.
Remember, all Biblical Parenting includes teaching. All learning starts with knowledge.
Before we can help our kids be genuinely successful in their acquisition of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in the fear of the Lord, they must first be taught what those things are. They need to possess the theological realities before the practical realities will be attainable.
Therefore, these episodes were designed to teach you how to teach your kids what the Bible says about knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and the fear of the Lord.
We’re also equipping you to address the root of each of your children’s learning-related sins. This information dethrones the attitudes that produce laziness, disdain for education, and the inaccurate philosophies that keep us from true wisdom.
Again, we must start with the mind before we can ever hope to be successful in the body. Spiritual belief flows out into physical behavior.
So, no, please don’t think I’ve lost my knack for making this truth practical. These episodes simply have a different purpose.
Now, before we jump into today’s material, don’t forget to do all of your Amazon shopping by using our affiliate links.
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And while you’re at TruthLoveParent.com, check our our Blog, Taking Back the Family, for today’s free episode notes, transcript, and additional resources.
And now let’s talk about how your family can be wise.
It is my plan to look at the verses from Proverbs that talk about wisdom. But there are so many of them that — for the most part — I’m limiting the verses we’ll be studying to the ones that actually contain the word “wisdom” and not all of the verses that have the word “wise.”
But even though today’s format will be similar to the episodes on knowledge and understanding, we need to approach a discussion about wisdom differently.
First, we need to talk about what wisdom really is.
I’ve mentioned before that most people tend to think that wisdom is a special kind of knowledge. It’s something you can be told, and once you know the wisdom, you can be considered wise.
But that’s simply not the case.
Based off the biblical material we’re going to see today, I believe wisdom may be best defined as “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who correctly uses their knowledge and understanding.”
Those of you who have heard me speak on this topic should recognize that this is a new definition.
I used to say that wisdom was “The ability to correctly apply knowledge to any given situation.”
And that’s still an accurate definition, but I wanted to expand on that understanding of wisdom. So now, I have three new definitions of wisdom that include a broader look at the types of wisdom as well as a description of how we apply our knowledge in each case.
Now, we’re going to talk about the three kinds of wisdom in just a moment. For now, though, let’s talk about how we apply our knowledge.
As I get older, I recognize that there it is almost always valuable to be more specific. Now, I didn’t say it’s more valuable to be as specific as you can be. Over-specificity is definitely a thing. But most people aren’t nearly as specific as they should be. There are way too many grey areas, fuzzy meanings, and sloppy interpretations that occur in most conversations.
So, this is my attempt to be specific in a helpful way.
What does it mean to "correctly apply our knowledge to a given situation"?
It means that we are going to act, speak, feel, and think correctly based off the information we have and the understanding we possess about that information.
Wisdom is not simply how we think. It affects our feelings and behaviors as well. In fact, I will say that a person who possesses knowledge about wisdom, but whose life choices and feelings don’t align with what they know to be true . . . they are not wise.
Someone who is a fool in his speaking does not have wisdom. Someone who does foolish things is not wise.
I shouldn’t have to actually say that, but I find that I do.
People simply don’t understand what wisdom is.
So, let’s not be those people.
Therefore, let’s start with . . .
1. The Nature of Wisdom
I want to read Proverbs 1:1-7. If you have your Bible, please follow along, otherwise, listen carefully. This is Solomon’s purpose statement for writing the book of Proverbs.
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction.”
I’ve already said that wisdom isn’t the knowing, it’s the doing. But we can’t do what we don’t know and understand. The Proverbs were written — as were every other book in the Bible — to help us know and understand what wise living looks like. Once we know what it looks like, we can move to the next step.
Solomon continues, “To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;”
Once again, please notice the emphasis on wise behavior, and the next three things Solomon names — righteousness, justice, and equity — are all ways we need to act.
He continues in verse 4, “To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The one big thing I want you to take from this is that wisdom is not only a theory — it really exists; wisdom is a concrete and identifiable thing.
But I also want us to recognize that wisdom is achievable.
Solomon wrote the Proverbs so that his children — and all of God’s children — could be wise. And the only thing holding us back from being wise is our own foolish hatred for wisdom and instruction.
Now, I don’t want to get the cart before the horse; we’re going to end today’s show talking about how we can acquire wisdom, but I do want to read Proverbs 8 before we go much further.
Last time I read from Proverbs 9 which tells a story about how the woman Wisdom and the woman Folly are looking for the naive in order to influence them.
The naive are the simple fools. They’re fools, but they’re not fools by choice, they’re fools by nature and lack of instruction. We all start naive, but as we learn and grow in our understanding, we stop being naive.
Anyway, in Proverbs 8, Solomon gives us a more robust version of the woman Wisdom. Please listen attentively as I read.
“Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:”
Once again, please note that wisdom is easy to find anywhere people go. But not only is she there to be found, she’s making herself known. She’s calling out to everyone who will listen.
She says, “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.” Quick side note — these terms “men” and “sons” are general terms for all people. Ladies and daughters are definitely included.
“O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom.”
Okay, so she’s actually targeting the people who need her most.
Listen, God is targeting your family with this call. God does not want to keep wisdom from any of your kids.
In verse 6 Wisdom says, “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. 7 For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. 9 They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge.”
Not only is she easy to find and targeting the ones who need her most, she’s giving them the absolute best that they could have.
And as she describes what she has to offer, she’s showing us what wise living looks like. A wise life is noble and right. A wise person speaks truth and righteousness and hates wickedness.
And she continues in verse 10, “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. 11 For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”
She’s trying to convince us how valuable she is. And then she goes on to describe wise living even more, “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 14 Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. 15 By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly. 17 “ love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 To endow those who love me with wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.”
And then she explains from where she came, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.”
That passage is so beautiful.
To be wise is to enjoy the most glorious of relationships with God.
And then she ends her call with another invitation. “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. 33 Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. 35 For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord. 36 But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”
Wow, there is so much more I could say about this, but I need to pick up the pace a bit so today’s episode won’t be too long.
Still, there’s more we need to understand about the nature of wisdom.
A. Wisdom can be good.
In the introduction I mentioned three different kinds of wisdom.
The first is Divine Wisdom.
If the general definition for wisdom is “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who correctly uses their knowledge and understanding,” then the definition for Divine Wisdom is “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who correctly uses their biblical knowledge and understanding to please God.”
Divine wisdom is illustrated in Proverbs 18:4, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” Divine Wisdom is definitely good.
And Proverbs 19:8 says, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.”
Divine Wisdom is always and forever good because it belongs to the perfect and good God.
But there’s a second form of wisdom, Didactic Wisdom.
The word “didactic” refers to something that is taught and learned.
If I learn the concepts of addition, understand them, and use them to correctly answer addition questions, I’m using Didactic Wisdom.
Now, Didactic Wisdom and Divine Wisdom can be used in conjunction. I can do addition all to the glory of God by correctly using what I know about addition, but also offering my math homework as an act of worship to God.
But Didactic Wisdom can also be used apart from Divine Wisdom. I could correctly apply my math knowledge for my own self-glory.
Didactic Wisdom can also apply to doing things that are sinful.
I can learn how to lie and cheat and steal and do a good job at it by applying what I’ve learned and understood.
A good biblical example of this ignoble Didactic Wisdom comes from Luke 16. In that chapter Jesus tells a parable of an Unrighteous Steward who uses craftiness and cunning to save himself from what may have been a dire situation.
This man was worldly wise in that he cheated his boss in order to make his own life easier after his boss fired him.
Of him Jesus says, “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted wisely; for the sons of this age are wiser in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.”
An engineer doesn’t have to believe in God to wisely apply what he’s learned about physics in order to put a man on the moon.
But don’t misunderstand. Didactic Wisdom is very good and very necessary. If we don’t use what we know, we’re waisting our learning.
However, when separated from Divine Wisdom, Didactic Wisdom will never endear us to God. It’s not good enough to do the right things in the right ways if our motivation is sinful.
Yes, hopefully our kids will achieve certain levels of Didactic Wisdom before they’re old enough to understand and submit to Christ. Once they’re born again, they will then be empowered by the Holy Spirit to start growing in their Divine Wisdom. But even before that takes place, we want our kids to use what we teach them.
Our child’s ability to speak their first word is an example of Didactic Wisdom in action. And we can be happy about that.
But we must never allow ourselves to think that being a good student is the same as glorifying God.
Because if a person is not Divinely Wise — though they may be Didactically Wise in many areas — when it comes to his or her relationship with God, they fall under this third category.
This category of wisdom is called Delusional Wisdom.
Delusional Wisdom may be defined this way: “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who incorrectly uses their knowledge and understanding.”
Let’s start with some biblical examples of this.
In Proverbs 26:5 we learn, “Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.”
And Proverbs 26:12 says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
And Proverbs 26:16 tells us, “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can give a discreet answer.”
Also, Proverbs 28:11 says, “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him.”
By the way, the episode “What Happens When Your Family Does What’s Right in Its Own Eyes?” is one of our most downloaded shows because it’s such an incredibly powerful truth.
Just like our understanding can be tainted by our sin, our wisdom can be as well.
Delusional Wisdom can apply to didactic realities as well as divine realities.
A small child may be convinced they can correctly tie their shoe only to create a massive, knotted mess. That’s Delusional Wisdom applied to a didactic situation.
An atheist may be convinced that God doesn’t exist only to be condemned to hell by the God they were certain couldn’t be real. That’s Delusional Wisdom applied to a divine reality.
This is Delusional Wisdom because they’re only right in their own eyes, but they’re not actually right at all.
This is why we must recognize that wisdom can be good.
Divine Wisdom is always good. Didactic Wisdom can be good or bad depending on what we’re doing. But it will never be perfectly good unless it’s coupled with Divine Wisdom.
And Delusional Wisdom is never good.
But Divine Wisdom is not just good . . .
B. Wisdom is power.
I’m sure you remember what Wisdom said in chapter 8 about being present with God before the Creation of the World and how God use Wisdom to bring everything into existence.
Proverbs 3:19 says the same thing, “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth.”
But it’s not just powerful for God, Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; 4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”
Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are the most powerful power. They’re the greatest strength one can possess.
And this is why . . .
C. Wisdom can save.
Proverbs 3:13 reads, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom.”
How is a wise man blessed?
Didactically Wise people are able to achieve earthly successes, and both Didactic and Divine Wisdom are blessed by their ease in accumulating more knowledge and understanding that they can use wisely in their lives.
Proverbs 14:6 tells us, “A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.”
And Proverbs 15:14 says, “The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.”
Wise people are saved from ignorance and the consequences of it because knowledge and understanding come easier to them.
But the most significant blessings of wisdom come only to those who are Divinely Wise, and those blessings are spiritual blessings.
Proverbs 10:31, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.” I’m glad that wisdom saves me from having my tongue cut out. Basically what this is saying is that we’re saved from the consequences of our sin.
Proverbs 14:8, “The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit.” Wisdom saves me from deceiving myself.
Proverbs 24:14, “Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off.”
And Proverbs 29:3 tells us, “A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad.” Wisdom can save us from relational carnage with those who love God.
And this is why . . .
D. Wisdom it valuable.
We saw many ways that wisdom is valuable in Proverbs 8, but consider Proverbs 16:16 as well. “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!”
Of course wisdom is valuable. Look at everything it accomplishes for the person who exercises it!
Now, as we transition to our next point, I must impress upon our minds the importance of this realization.
2. The Source of True Wisdom
Yes, by now you all know that God is the source of wisdom. Even if it’s mere Didactic Wisdom, God is the one who created us to learn and empowers us to learn, so He is the source of all that is good and valuable.
Proverbs 2:6-11 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity. Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you.”
And in Proverbs 21:30 we’re reminded, “There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the Lord.”
But what does it really mean that wisdom is “from the Lord”?
It means that though you may be able to achieve some Didactic Wisdom without acknowledging God in your life, you and your kids will never achieve any form of Divine Wisdom unless you purposefully and deliberately pursue God.
We’ll see this more as we consider how to acquire wisdom, but this point is so vital that we absolutely must be changed by it. You and your kids will never accidentally become Divinely Wise. It will not happen.
Yes, it takes work, but it takes the work of God for the glory of God and rooted entirely in the person of God.
Our families must purposefully seek out the Source of wisdom if we want to possess wisdom.
We cannot look to the world for wisdom. We can’t trust unregenerate people to help us be wise. We cannot be wise by listening to anyone who contradicts the Bible.
And if we don’t seek out the Source, we’ll fall into the category of . . .
3. The People Who Reject Wisdom
Listen, the entire book of Proverbs is about the people who reject wisdom. They’re called fools. Whether they’re naive or they’re scoffers, fools avoid wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 23:9 tells us, “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.”
There is no way around it. Only the fool rejects Divine Wisdom. Only a fool hates learning and understanding. And only a fool despises the Didactic Wisdom that should result from learning.
And — of course — only a fool exercises Delusional Wisdom.
But the real problem is that all people are born fools. We all enter this existence on a trajectory for destruction because that’s exactly . . .
4. The Consequences of Rejecting Wisdom
Proverbs 17:16, “Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no sense?” Fools can’t buy wisdom. In order to get wisdom, you have to stop being a fool. You can’t be both at the same time.
But’s is worse than that.
Proverbs 18:1 tells us, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.” Those who reject sound wisdom separate themselves. Fools don’t have valuable relationships. Time and again division and strife and disunity explode into the relationships of fools.
And Proverbs 24:7 tells us, “Wisdom is too exalted for a fool, He does not open his mouth in the gate.” Fools don’t have valuable influence.
The “gate” was a place in ancient cities where officials and decision makers met to talk amongst themselves, devise plans, and conjecture. In places where wisdom is valued and used, fools aren’t welcome to participate.
And, of course, we know that the fools has said in his heart “There is no God.” And that level of foolishness ends in death, separated for all eternity from Christ.
But don’t allow the fact that your kids were born into this world as fools headed for destruction to discourage you. Remember that there is hope.
I did a series called Parenting a Zombie. Those episodes detail exactly what a fool is, but it also outlines the cure for foolishness.
Unlike most zombie movies, there’s a real cure for the zombie fool.
I said it at the beginning, and I’ll say it again. I want you to be encouraged that God wants and is working toward your children becoming wise.
It’s not a forgone conclusion that they’ll forever be fools. Yes, they come into this world as fools, but they can be wise if they move away from foolishness and toward wisdom.
So, not let’s talk about . . .
5. How to Acquire Wisdom
A. We need to believe in God.
Let’s start be reviewing what we learned in our Merest Christianity Series.
In order to acquire wisdom we must start by believing God. We must believe that He is Who He says He is. And we need to believe what He says about the importance of wisdom and how to gain it. This is called fearing the Lord.
Proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” We fear Him by believing Him.
Now, we’re going to talk a lot about fearing the Lord on our next show, but I did want to acknowledge that you and your kids will never have Divine Wisdom if you don’t start with the fear of God.
We need to start by acknowledging God’s preeminence in our lives. He is the source of wisdom and sovereign of our lives. Therefore, we will never be truly wise if we don’t submit to Him.
Then when we believe God, we will desire the wisdom of God.
Proverbs 7:4 tells us, “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ And call understanding your intimate friend.”
If we believe wisdom is valuable and good and something worth having, we will want to spend as much time with it as possible.
From there we need to learn what God requires of us. What does it actually look like to live wisely. This will require that we spend time with the Source of wisdom — God Himself. As we read the Scriptures, we need to be looking for how God would have us live.
We also need to grow in our understanding of God’s expectations for our lives. It’s not good enough to just know the facts. We need to interpret them correctly. We need to understand the ideas that stand under the facts we’ve learned. We need to really get it.
And all of this study will reveal that we desperately need God’s help living the way He commands. We’ll never be able to live wisely without the power of the Holy Spirit. So we will naturally ask Him to help us.
James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
And when you step back and look at each of those steps you will recognize that all of that is . . . in fact . . . being wise.
That’s the thing about wisdom. You acquire it by being wise.
Let me put it this way, do you want to be wise? Then be wise.
And, no, this is not as unhelpful and confusing as it may first appear.
Let me change the illustration a little. Do you want to pick up the water bottle sitting in front of you? Well, then pick it up.
It’s not complicated; you just have to do it.
Since wisdom is not knowledge — since wisdom is the action of doing what we’re told — then in order to get wisdom, we must simply act wisely.
Wisdom cannot be detached from acting wisely. They’re one and the same.
Do you remember what Proverbs 2:6-11 said? “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity. Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you.”
Pursuing God is not only the first step to living wisely, it’s actually living wisely.
Those are the foundational requirements for wisdom. We need believe God. That will cause us to desire the things of God. From there we need to learn what God requires of us. We also need to grow in our understanding of God’s expectations of our lives. All of this study will reveal that we desperately need God’s help living the way He commands, so we will ask Him to empower us to live wisely. And all of that is . . . in fact . . . being wise.
As we pursue it, we become it. As we reach out for it, we’re being it.
Proverbs 4:5-7 reads, “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.”
You start being wise when you take your first steps to acquire wisdom.
Now, let’s look at just some of the ways wisdom is reciprocal.
Remember, The Circle of Learning is a circle on purpose. The accumulation of knowledge should naturally lead into understanding which then naturally flows into using that information correctly. But the circle doesn’t stop there, it continues right back around into knowledge and understanding and wisdom all over again.
That’s why Proverbs 10:13 says, “On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found.”
And Proverbs 14:33 says, “Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding.”
And Proverbs 17:24 tells us, “Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding.”
And Proverbs 31:26 reveals, “She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Wise people are intelligent people, are understanding people, are wise people.
But as we acquire wisdom, we’re going to learn that it requires that . . .
B. We need to work for wisdom.
Yes, wisdom is impossible for humans to live; we need the Holy Spirit to even have a chance, but the process of sanctification is a cooperation between us and God whereby He transforms us into His image as we submit to and work along with Him.
Therefore, it does require that we strain.
Proverbs 2:1-5, “My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God.”
Proverbs 3:1, “My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments.”
Proverbs 3:21, “My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion.”
Proverbs 5:1, “My son, give attention to my wisdom.”
And as we work hard to live wisely, we’re going to learn that . . .
C. We need to embrace discipline.
We’ve talked about this point in the past two episodes, and we need to revisit it here.
Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”
A child’s own way, that which seems right in his own eyes, will never be Divinely Wise. And it’s the rod and reproof that help a child understand that their way was foolish and destructive.
The rod is the consequences that come as a result of sin, and reproof is the biblical parenting stage of telling our kids that they were wrong and helping them reinterpret what they did in light of God’s Word.
And it’s when our kids participate in reproof that they become wise.
Now, just telling my kid that they’re wrong and giving them a consequence will not make them wise. Nothing I will ever do will make them wise. But when they choose to accept my reproof, when they confess their sin and repent, that is their very first step into wisdom.
That is them wisely submitting to God, and as they make the wise choice to participate in the reproof, then the rod and reproof give wisdom.
Thank you for your patience today. There is still so much more that we could say, but we need to be done.
Obviously, we still have one episode left to discuss the fear of the Lord and tie all of this up into a pretty bow with some practical advice, but I want to leave us with the end of Proverbs 1.
Last time we read about the woman Wisdom in Proverbs 9, and then today we looked at her story form Proverbs 8. Well, she’s introduced to us for the first time in Proverbs 1:20-33.
Listen carefully, “Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 ‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”
Those verses just beautifully summed up everything we’ve learned so far.
But then Wisdom offers this admonition — this warning — “24 Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
We don’t want out kids to foolishly devolve into calamity and distress and anguish. We want them to listen and live securely.
That is going to mean that we parents must teach them about The Circle of Learning and that we require them to participate in it.
We can’t make them, but we can require it, and we can give the necessary rod and reproof when they don’t.
And we can continue to model wisdom for them and teach and reprove and pray for them.
And — Lord willing — their eyes will open and they will truly believe God and His Word and desire to live wisely.
The key is, we should never be okay with the mere acquisition of knowledge. But we can’t be fine with just understanding. And — believe it or not — it’s not good enough to parent our kids to simple Didactic Wisdom.
We need to parent to Divine Wisdom.
So, to that end, I hope you’ll join us next time as we once again open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
We’ll be discussing “Your Family’s Fear of God” and look at practical ways to ground our children’s Circle of Learning on the Lord instead of their own strength.
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