While the Super Bowl is held in the United States and played by American teams, the whole world now takes an interest and joins American football fans in feasting on the football news and game. The National Football League (“NFL”) has done a tremendous job of selling American football to the world by holding games in other countries and televising games throughout the world. When we realize the job they have done selling football, it should encourage us Christians in assuring that the Word of God is taken to other lands. While organizations and conventions have enabled thousands of missionaries to be sent, we should ask the Lord what part we can play, whether it is through working with them on short-term mission trips or contributing financially directly to them. Or, maybe the Lord is calling one of us to the mission field.
Pray today that God will show how you may have a part in spreading the Word of God to the world!
“Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:3)
This is the week for which football fans have been waiting, many of them for the past year. Super Bowl Week is a solid week of analyzing a single professional football game, Super Bowl XLVII. Ironically, the game does not always live up to its hype, yet millions and millions world-wide will spend this Sunday afternoon watching every play and advertisement. Ever wonder how many people will attend church this Sunday? Ever wonder how many people will read and study their Bibles this week? Sports can be exciting and fun, and we can attempt to follow the big games, but putting them first is the same as worshipping them as idols. Nothing should take the place of God and His Word at any time in our lives.
On your list of priorities, is God first, or do you allow other “idols” to take His place?
“Thou shalt have none other gods before Me.” (Deuteronomy 5:7)
God’s wisdom as shown in the book of Proverbs leads to successful living. In fact, successful living can only be accomplished with God’s wisdom. Robert L. Alden said, “Proverbs provides both a goal and route. The goal is successful living, and the route is the way of wisdom.” So, what is a strategy for effective living? Begin with: God’s wisdom; respecting and appreciating who God is; reverence and awe in recognizing the almighty God. Requires: Moral application; trust in God and His Word; allowing His Word to speak to us personally; and a willingness to obey. Requires: Practical application; acting on God’s direction in daily devotions. Results: Effective living; experiencing what God does with our obedience.
Have you chosen the correct route to successful living?
“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)
As a divine gift, there is a prerequisite for this “wisdom,” that being the fear of the Lord. Contrary to cringing before Him in terror, “the fear of the Lord” is having an attitude of reverence and awe toward God. Two quotes from unknown authors assist in describing this prerequisite: “The foundation of wisdom lies in knowing what to fear. Wisdom is fearing the right thing.” “Perhaps if we feared God more, we would fear everything else less.” Fearing the Lord is a desire to follow and imitate God as He revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, without self-reliance, and not in a spirit of pride. Likewise, though, wisdom herself cries out for those who will do everything to pursue her. It is our choice whether or not to seek wisdom, the first step being to fear the Lord.
Are you diligently seeking wisdom through fearing the Lord?
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
Unger’s Bible Dictionary describes wisdom in its dominant use in the Bible as, “An attribute of God, intimately related to the divine knowledge, but manifesting itself in the selection of proper ends and the proper means for their accomplishment…Wisdom is in the deepest sense a divine gift.” Essentially, wisdom is the art of successful living, living this life in preparation for the next life, and allowing wisdom to lead in the path to living forever with God. When we live life in such a manner we will exercise the knowledge and ability to make the right choices at the right time, the consistency of making the right choice being an indication of maturity and development. It is evident that spiritual wisdom differs from the secular usage of human cunning and shrewdness.
Are your choices made with Heaven in mind or to get ahead in this life at any cost?
“O LORD, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.” (Psalms 104:24)
Forty-five times in the book of Proverbs the same Hebrew word for “wisdom” is used, basically meaning experience and shrewdness. It is used of the skill of craftsmen, sailors, singers, administrators, and counselors. Being knowledgeable, experienced, and efficient in their areas of expertise, they were considered skillful, thus “wise.” Cleverness and shrewdness characterized this type of wisdom. In the spiritual realm, a person who possesses this “wisdom” in reference to God is one who is both knowledgeable and experienced in following God’s way. This means being skilled in godly living, focused on the application of moral and ethical principles that result in skillful, godly living as well as being able to cope with life in a God-honoring way. Let us continue tomorrow.
As you think about wisdom in connection with godly living, can you say that your way of living meets these standards?
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Proverbs 1:5)
Think with me of the wisest person we know. How does this person demonstrate his or her wisdom? The Bible speaks frequently of wisdom with wisdom in Old Testament writings being a complex idea, especially in the book of Proverbs. Even though it is difficult to define simply, Marvin Tate attempted to do so in the Broadman Bible Commentary when he stated: “Wisdom in the book of Proverbs is very much concerned with the art of good living; the techniques of the well-lived life. On a broad basis of experience, tradition, and piety, he seeks to master life and live successfully, making the correct ethical decisions.” The book of Proverbs is God’s book on how to wise up and live, and is often called His “treasure book of wisdom.” In the next number of days, let us look at “wisdom,” primarily as it is used in the book of Proverbs and Old Testament.
Do you know someone you consider to have wisdom? Is this person’s wisdom spiritual or worldly?
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.” (Proverbs 1:1-2)