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Riddles and Dark Sayings

Riddles and Dark Sayings

We are now ready to close out the preamble to the Proverbs, and Solomon does that in a surprising way.  Proverbs 1:5 tells us one of the primary purposes of this book, and of wisdom itself, is to allow to us “hear and increase learning (or, to receive teaching, insight, instruction)” and to “attain (or, get, buy, possess, no matter the costs) wise counsel (or, wise guidance, direction, or good advice).”

But we already know that. What we don’t know is why?

Why do we need wise counsel?  What’s the purpose, the pay-off, for us in real time? What’s out there that is so important we’re supposed to learn, to understand, to have insight into?  What about the last part of this passage?  What about the “riddles and dark sayings”?  Because it seems the “wise man” and the “man of understanding” will “hear and increase learning” and “attain wise counsel” for only one reason: “to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles” (Prov. 1:6).

And what does that mean?


The Climax of the Definition of Wisdom

Remember, a truly wise man is not one who has already attained wisdom, but one who’s keenly aware that he hasn’t, and is desperately striving forward to be more like Christ, or to “press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Phil. 3:12).  He’s one who’s not satisfied with the spiritual status quo and is not content with his Bible College Diploma signifying he has learned all there is to know about Christ and His Word.  No, the wise man longs to dig deeper, to pray harder, to speak louder, to shine brighter, and to love more intensely than he thought humanly possible.

And to this “wise man”, to the “man of understanding”, comes one of the greatest blessings of all.  He, by virtue of the wisdom given him by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, will learn to “understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles” (Prov. 1:6).  To him, the doors of the deeper truths of the things of God are opened and he is graciously invited to come and dine.

We know the meaning of proverb, but what’s an “enigma”?  And what’s all this about the “words of the wise and their riddles”?
 

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332:  The Deeper Things of God

332: The Deeper Things of God

You know, there’s more to our life in Christ than most of us realize.  And that’s because most of us are satisfied and content with far less than what God has planned for us.  Consider one of the primary purposes of acquiring wisdom:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, (why) to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles – Proverbs 1:5-6.

The climax, the zenith of wisdom is to be able to understand an “enigma” (or, a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand, also a riddle, a symbol or parable, a discourse requiring an interpretation) and the words of the wise and their “riddles” (or, difficult questions, perplexing sayings, statements with double meanings, or dark or obscure utterances).  It is the ability to comprehend the deep, dark sayings of the Lord. The hidden truths, the obscure meanings of His Words.

Yes, that is our inheritance in Him via His wisdom.  So how are you doing in the wisdom arena?  To find out more, keep listening.
 

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331:  The Stuff Life Throws at Us

331: The Stuff Life Throws at Us

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball.  Scripture tells us to expect “trials and tribulations” (James 1:2) and even “persecutions” (2 Tim. 3:12)— but what seems to knock us down the hardest are the things we don’t see coming, just the bad stuff that happens to fallen people living in a fallen world.

All people, both good and bad, sometimes get cancer, lose their jobs, or suffer from broken relationships.  No one is promised an easy road this side of heaven.  Which, if you think about it, should make heaven more appealing.  But often it doesn’t. Instead, we get overwhelmed and depressed by daily life.

Did you ever wonder why?  And have you ever wondered why your prayer life gets overwhelmed by the problems of life when it should be the other way around?  If so, this message is for you.  To find out more, keep listening.
 

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Are You a Wise Guy?

Are You a Wise Guy?

As we learned from our last study together, Solomon has some pointed words to say to the simple and to the impetuous young men. Remember?

To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion (Prov. 1:4).

But he also has much to say to those who lived on the other end of the continuum: the wise, the learned, the men of understanding who seek wise, Godly counsel.  You see, Proverbs is a book given to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16) and is for all of us: the young, the old, the dedicated as well as the apathetic, the hot, the cold, and the lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-17), the theologically trained and the ones who only know one thing, “that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).  It’s for everyone.  And regardless of our sinful, broken past or our life of privilege and opulence, the wisdom of God revealed in the Proverbs calls each of us, no matter who we are, wherever we are, into a deeper relationship with Him.

And in the closing two verses of the preamble to this grand gift to us, Solomon lets the pendulum swing hard to the other side and turns his attention to the opposite of the simple and naive.  He now addresses the wise and astute, the ones who should know better, who do know better, and shows us how to understand the book we are now reading.

Let’s take a look at what Solomon had to say to those who live on the other side of the spiritual track.


The Wisdom of the Wise

In Proverbs 1:5-6 we read:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.

As you can see, Solomon is addressing two categories of people in this passage: a wise man and a man of understanding.  But who are these people and what about their character draws us to them?
 

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Four Verbs, Part Two

Four Verbs, Part Two

As we discussed yesterday, in digging deep into the preamble of Proverbs 1, we came across a few intriguing verbs: know, perceive, receive, and give and also the nouns associated with those verbs: wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, knowledge and discretion.

In Proverbs 1:2-4 we again find:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity
To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion.

As a reminder, notice again the natural progression of action.  To know, then to perceive something, then to choose to personally receive and embrace what we now know and perceive, and finally to share, to give what we have now received to someone else.

We’ve already looked at the first three verbs.  Now let’s spend some time trying to see and understand what the Lord expects us to do with what we’ve now received from Him, in Christ, by grace.

And the answer to that question is found in one simple word: give.

But a few questions remain.  What are we to give to others?  And who are the others we are to give something to?


To Give

So what are we to do with what we have received from Him?  We are to give it away, we are to give our very lives to others.  This is the meaning of: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39).

Question:  But what are we to actually give to others?
Answer:  What we have received from Him: grace, love, understanding, hope, and wisdom.

Question:  And who are we to share and give His wisdom to?
Answer:  Everyone. But specially the “simple” and the “young man.”

Look again at Proverbs 1:4:  To give prudence to (who) the simple, to the (who) young man knowledge and discretion.
 

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330:  “Will You Meet With Me?” – God

330: “Will You Meet With Me?” – God

Our lives are busy, incredibly busy.  But the One who gets slighted when we fail at proper time management is usually the Lord.  Think about it.

We schedule a time with Him and stay up too late the night before and oversleep.  Who gets slighted?  Who gets stood up?  Our boss?  Nope.  Our friends?  No way.  Our spouse?  Not on your life. Then who?  The Lord.  The very One we say we love more than anyone.  How can that be?

Probably because we don’t enjoy our time with Him as much as we enjoy our time with our spouse or friend.  That’s why we choose them over Him.  And probably we don’t respect Him as much as we do our boss.  That’s why we choose pleasing our boss more than pleasing our Lord.

If any of this sounds familiar, there is a change that needs to take place.  And to find out more about that change, keep listening.
 

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Four Verbs, Part One

Four Verbs, Part One

As we dig deeper into the Proverbs we quickly come across a few arresting verbs: know, perceive, receive, and give.  And, of course, we see the corresponding nouns associated with each of these verbs. In Proverbs 1:2-4 we find:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity
To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Notice, if you will, the natural progression of action.  To know, then to perceive something, then to choose to personally receive and embrace what we now know and perceive, and finally to share, to give what we have now received to someone else.

But what does it mean to perceive something or someone, maybe a new truth or a deeper understanding of a known truth?  And how does someone then receive that true or understanding to themselves that they have just perceived?  What does that process look like?  And how does that exchange actually happen?  And finally, ultimately, to whom do we give what we have received? And what specifically do we give them?

The answer is found in the nouns connected with our actions, our verbs.

But let’s begin by looking at the four verbs.
 

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Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Revelation 3:15-17