Monday, November 28, 2022

Walking in Wisdom (Proverbs 28:26)

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. [Proverbs 28:26, ESV]

    In this day and age, people are less likely to trust others than ever before. With the Internet growing in popularity by the day, and having a presence on social media becoming almost a necessity in the West, we have been exposed to an abundance of opinions, ideas, and perspectives. On virtually any issue, one can find somewhere online where people are arguing about it.

    The reality of ideas and opinions is that most of them are awful. There is a reason why, despite there being countless religions, only a few manage to stay relevant (by the way, the popularity of an idea does not mean that the idea is correct, or that the idea is even good). There have been more books written about politics and government than one could ever read, yet the majority of political science is founded upon untested ideas (or tested and consistently horrendous ideas), posited by people who have no way to verify what they are advocating for.

    The human mind is incredibly susceptible to deception, to coercion, to manipulation, and to control by another person or group of people. Minds change at the drop of a hat, and long-held beliefs can be changed in order to suit that which the individual can observe in the short-term. Whether you are in your twenties (as I am), or you are in your seventies (as I hope to be some day), we have all made mistakes, we have all judged a situation incorrectly, and we have all failed at one point or another.

    However, we have a God who knows all, Who has always existed, Who created wisdom, Who created us, Who has given us all that we have. While no man can experience success throughout his life, God has never faced anything but success. All that God is, all that God does, and all that God says is perfect.

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool…

    This is true. If I had a dollar for every mistake I made, I would be poor, as I would have spent my dollars on something silly. There is no limit to human stupidity, so there is no point in testing the boundaries of our capacity to make mistakes. Most people would agree with the maxim, “trust nobody”. Unless one is a secret agent or something, it is not very reasonable to not trust anybody, and it is certainly not a practical way to go about life. In reality, we should trust certain people, but we should always subject the ideas of others (and even of ourselves) to those of God. When we walk according to what we know, what we see, and what we think, we will lead ourselves to destruction. No matter how smart a person is, he can never know everything, nor can he see everything, so what business would he have in thinking about anything? When we walk according to what we think is best, we will lead ourselves to failure, to sadness, to regret, to misery. The road that we lead ourselves down will end in death, so we must take a detour while we still can.

    …but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

    The detour that we need comes through walking in wisdom. If one should not walk according to his mind (which he should not), and the pathway to deliverance is paved with wisdom (which it is), the next question he should ask himself is, “Where do I get wisdom from?”

    Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…”, so we can start there. In order to begin walking in wisdom, we must find the beginning of wisdom. In order to begin the journey of wisdom, we must have a holy fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord can mean several different things, but that is a topic that deserves its own essay. The simplest explanation of a “fear of God” is also the explanation that is most relevant to this essay: a reverence for God, for His holiness, for His power, and for His perfect will and judgment. In order to gain the wisdom of God, we must begin by knowing the Character of God. As we grow in our understanding of God, we develop a reverential fear of Him, which will allow us to receive the wisdom that God gives freely and without reproach.

    James 1:5 tells us that, if any of us lacks wisdom, “let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach”. As for what will happen when one asks God for wisdom, the end of James 1:5 makes things very clear: “...and it will be given him”.

    James 1:6 tells us that, in order to receive the wisdom that we have asked for, we must ask God in faith. If we do not ask God in faith, we should not expect to receive the wisdom that we have asked Him for [James 1:6-8]. But where do we get faith?

    Romans 10:17 gives us a very straightforward answer to this question:

So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. [Romans 10:17, ESV]

In conclusion, Proverbs 28:26 tells us that the way we should go about life is by walking in wisdom. In order to get wisdom, we must have fear of the Lord, which we develop through knowledge of God. Through our knowledge of God and our fear of Him, we are able to ask God for wisdom, knowing that He gives wisdom to those who ask, without reproaching them for asking.    In order to actually receive the wisdom that we have asked God for, we need to ask in faith, with no doubting. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

So, how can one apply this verse to his life? I believe that the key to walking in wisdom is knowing God and developing a relationship with Him, which can be accomplished by knowing His Word, speaking to Him in prayer, and by asking God to take the lead in his life. The path to walking in wisdom is not a linear one. Rather, by studying the Word, by spending time in prayer, and by seeking God’s guidance, one develops a holy fear of God, a better knowledge of Him, and the faith that is required in order to receive wisdom from Him. God has given us the Bible so that we can know Him, and through knowledge of His Word we can walk according to His commandments. By honoring God’s Word, we walk in wisdom, and for that we shall be delivered.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Introduction (Philemon)

It may seem strange that I would bother writing about Philemon, considering its brevity, as well as its apparent lack of meaning. I have r...