Where Can Wisdom Be Found?
Many people are full of the “in Him” truths — full of righteousness, healing, salvation and authority truths — but they don’t take care of the things in their natural life. We do live in two worlds: natural and supernatural. We still have to live on the job, the righteousness of God still has to change the oil in the car, and the joint-heir with Jesus Christ still has to make dinner. The prosperity and protection truths are a reality, but we still need to have wisdom in the natural, everyday life. That’s where the book of Proverbs comes in – wisdom for the nitty-gritty existence. The greatest man of wisdom in the Word of God apart from Jesus Christ is Solomon, so we’re going to study his writings.
As an introduction, look at Job 28:12-28.
vs. 12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?”
vs. 13 “Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living.”
vs. 14 “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’”
vs. 15 “It cannot be purchased for gold, nor can silver be weighed for its price.”
vs. 16 “It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire.”
vs. 17 “Neither gold nor crystal can equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold.”
vs. 18 “No mention shall be made of coral or quartz, for the price of wisdom is above rubies.”
vs. 19 “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold.”
vs. 20 “From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?”
vs. 21 “It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air.”
vs. 22 “Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’”
vs. 23 “God understands its way, And He knows its place.”
vs. 24 “For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heavens,”
vs. 25 “To establish a weight for the wind, and apportion the waters by measure.”
vs. 26 “When He made a law for the rain, And a path for the thunderbolt,”
vs. 27 “Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out.”
vs. 28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
Verse 13 points out man’s inability to find wisdom, so we must quit going to man to find it. Man looks to nature but verse 14 says it is not to be found there. Nor can it be purchased. Notice in verse 23 that GOD is the one who knows all about wisdom. Then in verse 28 we find that wisdom is the fear or reverence of the Lord.
If we want to be wise today, the place to begin is to know that all wisdom comes from God. We can’t see God with our physical eye, but the Bible says God became flesh; he was the Word made flesh. So if we want to know where wisdom is to be found, we find it in God’s word. God’s word IS God. God has declared that he has exalted his word above his name. To find wisdom, we must start with the reverence of the Lord. Therefore, wisdom will come by reverencing the WORD OF GOD.
Proverbs 1:1-7 says,
vs. 1. “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:”
vs. 2 “To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding.”
vs. 3 “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;”
vs. 4″To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion—”
vs. 5 “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,”
vs. 6 “To understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.”
vs. 7 “The fear of theLord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Knowledge and wisdom are basically this: knowledge is taking in the Word of God; wisdom is putting out the Word of God. Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge. But notice in verse 7 that knowledge comes from the reverence of the Lord. Knowledge and wisdom both start by reverencing God’s word. If you want to be knowledgeable, go to God’s word. If you want to be wise, apply God’s word, and it will make you successful in all areas of your life.
Wisdom Is To Be Passed to Others
Refer to verse 1 again. The book of Proverbs is poetry. In fact, a proverb is a two-line poem. These proverbs were written down as Solomon’s remembrance of what his father David taught him. Now David began to teach Solomon after the death of Absalom. David failed with his first two sons, Adonijah, and Absalom. He did not teach them what made him a success.
David passed on wisdom to his child Solomon only after failure with his first two children. But Solomon did not pass it on. That’s the rough part: David passed it on to Solomon, but Solomon had a son named Rehoboam. Rehoboam destroyed the kingdom. His whole kingdom declined because Solomon did not pass on wisdom to his children. He did not instruct them in the ways of the Lord. So Proverbs is the wisdom Solomon learned from David.
So often we become successful in the Word of God, and we’re just a little bit too proud to tell anybody else what scriptures we stood on. After all, “I did it”. We should be open with what promises made us a success and how the word worked for us. We should be open, especially with our own children. We should pass on from generation to generation what the word has done for us. Wisdom is built upon wisdom. How I instruct my children, how my father instructed me, is a foundation that God can take and add more to it. If I give instruction to my children, as a foundation, God will add to that foundation and they will become even wiser in the next generation. Should they pass it on to their children, they will become wiser. In other words, wisdom is as infinite as God. There is as much wisdom in the Godhead to be given to man today as there are limitations to God.
The word “proverb” means a rule or a standard. In Hebrew, it means to be like. So who are we trying to be like? God. These are the proverbs of God, coming to us through Solomon. If we’re going to be like God, we can’t just call God down here and tell him we want to be like him. We become like God through his word.
This Hebrew word for standard or rule is similar to what gardeners do when young plants begin growing. They place a stick beside the plant to help it grow straight until it is strong enough on its own to stand upright. You can’t look at a plant and say, “Now plant, I’m going to trust you to grow up straight. I’m just going to depend on you that you know which way to go. I’ll turn you loose and you just grow straight.” You know what that plant will do: it will grow in every direction. It will fall on the floor and wander all around. What you should do is take something that does not change and place it beside the plant and tie that plant to it. The stick is the standard, and you want that plant to grow straight and tall, like the stick.
Education today is telling us to turn our kids loose and let them set their own standard. That is in direct opposition to the Word of God. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” The word of God and discipline take foolishness out of the child. So what do you do with your young child that is so flexible and pliable? You put him up next to a proverb, a rule or standard that will not change, and you take your child’s life and tie it to the word of God. The word of God will not change. Then as your child begins to grow up, he will grow up like the word of God. It is important that the child be trained in the young years of his life in the way that he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it.
The Wisdom of Solomon
Just how wise was Solomon? Look at I Kings 4:29-34.
vs. 29 “And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.”
vs. 30 “Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt.”
vs. 31 “For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.”
vs. 32 “He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.”
vs. 33 “Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.”
vs. 34 “And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.”
Note in verse 32 that he spoke 3000 proverbs. That indicates that the book of Proverbs doesn’t contain all that Solomon wrote. God put only the best ones in; the ones that were left out just weren’t needed. They just amplified the ones that were already there. God gave us the best in the 31 chapters of Proverbs.
As you get filled with the word of God, there is no telling what will come out of your mouth. “Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Can you imagine 1005 new songs? We would never be tired of the same ones over and over again. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) Solomon became so full of the word, meditating in and studying the word so much that when he opened his mouth, out came proverbs and songs.
Verse 33 of I Kings 4 is a little outline of the book of Proverbs. Cedar trees are great things, hyssop is something small: in other words, we’re going to study great things and little things. Don’t you think it is a wise idea for us to study proverbs if the kings of the earth came to hear Solomon’s wisdom? Do you think he is a qualified person to study under? It would have been nice to sit at the feet of Solomon as he was spouting off all those proverbs, writing them down as he spoke. Well, if you think Solomon was something, we have Jesus. Matthew 12:42 says, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” We have a better covenant, established upon better promises. Jesus is MADE UNTO US wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30).
How Do We Get Wisdom?
Now let’s see how Solomon got his wisdom so we can get ours that way. God’s methods have never changed.
Look at 2 Chronicles 1:6-12,6 “And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before theLord, which
vs. 6 “And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before theLord, which wasat the tabernacle of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.”
vs. 7 “On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?”8 “And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.”
vs. 8 “And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.”
vs. 9 “Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.”
vs. 10 “Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?”
vs. 11 “Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king—”
vs. 12 “wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
Notice in verse 6 that the Lord appeared unto Solomon AFTER he had offered a thousand burnt offerings. Many people ask why God doesn’t ever appear to them. When was the last time they offered up sacrifices and praises unto him? Notice before God appeared, Solomon offered a thousand sacrifices. He wasn’t doing this to cause God to appear; he was doing it because he loved the Lord. He was so blessed with what God had done for him that he just began to praise him for who he is. That pulls on God’s heartstrings so much, he will come and speak to you. Also, notice in this passage that the way Solomon got wisdom was by ASKING for it. Remember that James1:5 says the same thing. So the first thing we need to know is, If we need wisdom for everyday life we should start off by asking God. That’s where it comes from. Notice Solomon didn’t ask men for it. Job already told us it doesn’t come from men. It’s been hidden from men. Wisdom comes from God. One final point from this passage is God’s graciousness. When Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge, he also received riches, honor and long life in addition. He had sought for a higher thing from God but received these blessings as well.
Wisdom Comes Equipped With Two Hands
Let’s look at another scripture in Proverbs 3:13-17
vs. 13 ” Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;”
vs. 14 “For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.”
vs. 15 “She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”
vs. 16 “Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor.”
vs. 17 ” Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”
Notice that the man in verse 13 had to search for wisdom. It didn’t just fall on him. Also, notice the “she” in verse 15 still refers to wisdom, although there is a shift in pronouns. This theme will be carried on throughout the book of Proverbs. She is continually referred to as a beautiful, virtuous woman. We will be showing the opposite extreme, that of man’s wisdom. Man’s wisdom in the book of Proverbs is presented as a harlot. But God’s wisdom is more precious than rubies, as we see here in verse 15.
Again in this passage in Proverbs, as in 2 Chronicles, we see that riches, honor and long life are mentioned. Don’t just seek after the riches and the health; seek after wisdom and these things will be added to you. Wisdom comes equipped with two hands: one has riches and the other has length of days. Glory to God!
Notice also, that riches and honor are in her LEFT hand. Length of days is in her RIGHT hand. Usually, we refer to the right hand as the predominant hand. For example, Jesus is seated on God’s right hand, the side of honor. He speaks in Revelation about the sheep on his right hand. There is nothing wrong with your left hand. There’s just one hand that is used more often and is considered the more honorable hand. Remember in Matthew 5:29, “If thy right eye offend thee. . .; if thy right hand offend thee. . .” so, the right hand is the predominant one. Notice that in the predominant hand is length of days. Riches and honor are in the left hand. We should get our priorities straight: health is really greater than having all the riches in the world. How many people today would sell all their riches to have an extra year of life?
Now turn to the book of Joshua, chapter 1:7
vs. 7 ” Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”
Notice that he is instructed not to turn to the right hand nor to the left. Wisdom always comes equipped with a left hand and a right hand, but don’t turn from the word of God which produces wisdom. Don’t turn and pursue that which she holds in either hand. Many people start out in wisdom then begin to prosper and they turn to the left hand, forsaking wisdom. And many people start to seek after the word of God, and get healed, so they spend the rest of their life seeking out health in this natural life. Don’t do it! Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you: the left hand and the right hand WILL be added unto you. Notice that you will prosper no matter what direction you go.
In 3 John 2 we read, “ Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
Notice the contents of the right and left hands again. If you seek after wisdom and meditate in the things of the Lord, the left hand and the right hand come free at no extra charge. So seek after, stay in, meditate in, pursue wisdom and the two hands will continue to increase. Is there any limit to the prosperity of the soul? Then there’s no limit to how much God will prosper you in this life.
Meditate on the Word of God
Now there are five different Hebrew words for wisdom. Let’s look at the one that is used most frequently, which appears in Proverbs 1:2. “Chokmah” means to pound something in. You have to meditate, meditate, and meditate, day and night. The more you meditate the more you pound it in. That’s why it is important that you read the word of God daily. Once you’ve read a chapter, you should depend on the Spirit of the Lord to bring up certain scriptures you studied and meditate on them over and over. It was presented to you from the word but by pounding it in, the scriptures really become yours. You won’t lose them if you pound them in. Have the word of God driven into you, just like you learned the multiplication tables. You didn’t read it one time and get it; you kept saying over and over that 2 times 2 is 4. You went over and over it until it became so much a part of you that you CAN’T forget it. No matter what happens, you’ll never forget that 2 times 2 is 4.
And no matter what happens, you’ll never forget that in wisdom’s left hand is riches and honor, and in her right hand is length of days. Pound it in, pound it in, pound it in.
Begin reading the book of Proverbs each day, reading the chapter corresponding with the date of the month. Reading Proverbs regularly will build into your life the wisdom of Solomon. Think of the result of reading the book through completely twelve times in the span of one year! As you face situations, the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance a scripture from Proverbs that will enable you to deal wisely in all the affairs of life.