Some people will go through great pains to achieve their goals. Most of these people seek financial riches. Others seek fame and glory through movies, music, sports, or television. All of these, while of themselves are not evil, are temporal at best. When you read Ecclesiastes 2, titled “The Vanity of Pleasure, Solomon lamented at all he sought and acquired because at the end of his life he saw that it was all just wasted time:
“Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17)
I am not advocating that all Christians take a vow of poverty; I am exhorting us to re-examine what we consider riches. If we are going to go to great pains to achieve our goals, then let our goals be worthy ones. The same Solomon who lamented his fool’s errand at the end of his life, also knew better when he was a younger man:
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)
On Monday nights at our men’s Bible study, my pastor is teaching on wisdom and he made the simple yet profound connection between wisdom and understanding. He said, “Understanding is wisdom in action.” This is exactly what Solomon wrote of in Proverbs 4:7. Solomon is saying that the acquisition of wisdom must be completed by putting it into action. It cannot be put on our mantles or in a trophy case. Wisdom is a tool from heaven that allows us to live a righteous life on earth.
“Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:104)
Humans naturally think that they can be in control of their lives. The smarter and richer they get, the more powerful they become and the greater control they have over their lives. The Prophet Isaiah shows the foolishness in this thinking:
“For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, ‘No one sees me’; your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; and you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’” (Isaiah 47:10)
Man, that is a harsh rebuke, but go back and read it carefully. Let’s take the first clause; trusting in our wickedness. David explains why this is foolishness:
“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:2-3)
Oh but Brother Dave, that is not me. I may trust my own instincts and I follow my heart, but I know that I am on the right track. The Prophet Jeremiah tells us that this too is a fool’s errand:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Isaiah wrote that our wisdom and knowledge, that of the world, warps us. The Bible is filled with examples of the tragedy that trusting in ourselves brings to our lives. One such example is found in the Book of Ezekiel where God talks through His prophet to the King of Tyre. God brings the bad news to this haughty man who has made himself a god:
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, the most terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor. They shall throw you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the midst of the seas.’” (Ezekiel 28:6-8)
Contrary to the popular false teachers of our day, God doesn’t want you to have your best life now. He knows that doesn’t come until we leave this fallen world. No, God wants us to have understanding so that while we live in this fallen world, we can bring as much of His kingdom to earth as is possible. God wants to use you and me to make that happen. Jesus has called us to be the salt and light of this world for that very reason. This is why the pursuit of wisdom and understanding is so vital to the Christian life. Commenting on Proverbs 4:7, Matthew Henry wrote:
“Wise and godly men, in every age of the world, and rank in society, agree that true wisdom consists in obedience, and is united to happiness. Get wisdom, take pains for it. Get the rule over thy corruptions; take more pain to get this than the wealth of this world.”
What path of pursuit are you on? Are you hell bent on becoming rich to the detriment of your very soul? Do you neglect your faith and family for the almighty dollar? You are literally on a fool’s errand.
But there is good news my friend. You can get off that terrible treadmill right now. Repent of your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you. If you’ve never asked Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of your life, do so right now. Just quit what you’ve been doing and turn to Christ. You may have to take great pains to get wisdom, but Jesus has already suffered the greatest pain for your salvation.
“True wisdom consists in obedience.”
Take that first step towards wisdom; obey the call of the Holy Spirit for you to come to Christ today.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers