Applying Wisdom; June 9, 2020


Proverbs 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.

This chapter of Proverbs has so much extremely helpful stuff in it that I have loved for many years that I decided to write on the only two verses in today’s reading that are not underlined! The book starts with the assertion that these are “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel,” (Proverbs 1:1) but Solomon himself doesn’t seem to have abided by some of the most important things in it, specifically verses five and six in this chapter. Likewise, he obviously didn’t transmit this wisdom effectively to his own sons, because his successor was so foolish that he promptly lost half the kingdom! All of that goes to verse one here, because Solomon himself, as well as his son, forgot these wise words and did not keep these commands in their hearts. It all comes back to what James said: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) Human beings seem to be experts at deceiving themselves by isolating truth as an intellectual concept and failing to apply it. That may be the key to the difference between “intelligence” and common sense. You can have a high IQ and still be essentially useless in society. We have all suffered the effects of the leadership of people who were “the smartest person in the room,” yet failed to honor God and apply His truth. Human decision-making always suffers from insufficient information, and both military tacticians and computer experts will tell you how dangerous that is. The only one with full information is God, so it certainly makes sense to listen to Him and do things His way. Anything less is hubris, and history is filled with sad examples of the results of such conceit.

I have long felt that James wrote the verse I quoted just for me! In line with that, I have long loved verses five and six of this chapter. I am quite a case history of the distinction between knowing something as information and having it in my heart to apply it. By the grace of God a good portion of His Word has made that migration, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Right now I am in the middle of a situation that intellectually, I have all the answers for. However, I have no answers for touching someone’s heart and opening it to God’s truth, evicting the buildup of the devil’s lies. It is only as I have and exercise that humility that God will be able to use me to bring about His good plan for the person in question. My need to depend on God and listen to Him certainly doesn’t stop there, but extends to every detail of my life. It is only as I receive and apply what He says to me that I will have the success that He and I desire, for His glory.

Father, thank You again for all that You are doing. Thank You for the many ways You are teaching me. Thank You for the lessons from this year’s vegetable garden. Thank You for the lessons that come through the people around me. Help me receive all that You teach me, not just as a “data bank” but as effective operational instructions, so that I may be and do all that You desire of me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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