More on Wisdom and Trust

The silence in my house settles like a blanket, as I clear my mind to hear the Lord. “Keep…..” I hear, But Keep what? Then it all comes out: “Keep running the race with perseverance, marked out for you, Fix your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…….” and I turn to Hebrews 12:1-13. “Yes Lord I needed that”. A picture of running the Comrades marathon comes into my mind’s eye. (I’ve never done that). The discipline and constant reaffirmation of the value of the prize to finish. I find it tempting to feel sorry for myself as I face every day with the goal so far in the future. Maybe I’m only at “Polyshorts”. Prov 4:26,27 seems to affirm that: “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left.

But what about the idea of trust and wisdom? After our prayer meeting yesterday Ludwig sent a link to a talk by Tim Keller on Jeremiah 17. If you look back you will see I was speaking about that chapter last blog. His message was an eye-opener, however. I can’t give the whole message but he focused on vv 6-8, where God compares the one who trusts in man and turns away from the Lord to a bush in the desert. He described such a bush, struggling and ugly with few leaves, no nourishment for its roots and even when a storm pours water on it, can scarcely benefit. To the one who trusts in the Lord who is like a tree planted by a river, where its roots reach out into the stream. It faces the fear of heat and the worries in the year of drought, but never fails to bear fruit.

But here is the interesting thing.Vs 7 says (better translated in the ESV) Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. So the difference is the one trusts in the Lord and the other’s trust is the Lord. Splitting hairs? Not at all.The one who trusts in the Lord is trusting the Lord for the result or rewards he will get from placing that trust. So there is an expectation that if you trust in the Lord He will answer this prayer, or will provide that solution etc. The problem with that is that if your expectation is not met then your whole ability to “trust” gets a major knock and you will have less and less confidence in trusting Him next time.

The one whose trust IS the Lord however has placed his love and trust completely upon the Lord. He has placed the Lord central in His life. He is like the one whose roots reach down into the water and there is no fear or worry when the heat or the storms come because He knows the Lord is in ultimate control. Thought provoking!

Wycliffe the famous bible translator is reputed to have said you can measure who/what anyone is trusting and loving the most, by asking what do you spend most of your time thinking about in your unguarded moments? Last time I suggested that the measure is who do you run to in the moment of crisis?

My friends I share these thoughts with you because I find myself on a roller coaster sometimes – moments of supreme trust and confidence and then something unexpected and challenging happens and suddenly doubts flood in. Tim Keller reminded of Ephesians 3:14-21 and the importance of vs 17 where Paul prays that the reader may be rooted in God’s love.

So where are you rooted? I will keep praying for all of us that we will be rooted in that love which is immeasurable and promised completely to each one of us in Christ.

Wisdom, humility and understanding (listening).

So we have said trust is one of the 7 pillars of wisdom. So let’s open that up a bit more.

Prov 16:16-20. We said that trust was a choice. Now look at vs 16. Choose understanding (wisdom). OK but just choosing it isn’t going to make it happen. It is the start of an attitude which seeks wisdom. Well what have we said from the beginning, how do we connect with the source of wisdom, Jesus Christ? We need to listen to Him. We need to choose to listen to Him.

But the next few vv remind us of something extremely important, which affects our ability to listen effectively:

What prevents us from hearing Jesus in our hearts? v 18.

What is the right attitude which will enable us to hear vv 19-20?

What do you understand by the concept of “blessing” as expressed in v 20?

In Israel the greeting is Shalom. This describes a wish for one to be in complete harmony with God and His creation. Of course in the NT, it is called blessing and can only be found in a right relationship with Jesus. But here we find the way to that blessing. cf vs 20.

Now the question is who (what) am I really trusting in? cf vs 20 now read Psalm 20:7; Isaiah 31:1-3; Jeremiah 17:5-9.

Ask yourself, when the chips are down, who are you really trusting?

And see the warning in Jeremiah 9. Yes? How easy it is to fool ourselves that we are really trusting in the Lord (and His wisdom). Notice too that the one who trusts in man or anything else other than God is called “cursed”. That is the opposite of blessed.

Wow made me think, this one!

Wisdom expressed as trust.

In Prov 9:1 we read that Wisdom’s house has seven pillars. Selwyn Hughes suggests that this describes 7 different aspects of Wisdom. I have decided to investigate it from this angle and look today at the first and most basic pillar of Wisdom which is trust.

In my time with Jesus during the last months I have been continually confronted with this most important concept. I mentioned in a previous blog that I had remembered a decision I made while still searching to “step out of the boat” as it were. This came from the title of a book “If you want to walk on the water you must first step out of the boat”.

So the question I am asking myself now is; how much am I actually trusting the Lord? Ludwig mentioned on Saturday that trust is a decision we make. At the simplest level it is that. However trust can only happen if the object of your trust has been sufficiently revealed to you so that you know Who you are trusting in and can confidently do it, based on this knowledge. So there is a very real spiritual aspect to trust. In addition to this we grow in trust as we experience the result of our trust. Here again I have experienced that God puts us into situations where we are called to trust Him. As we grow in faith, so those situations often become more and more demanding. Ultimately we find that the real gospel life is only possible if we live supernaturally trusting in Jesus.

Reading Prov 3:1-18.

Why don’t you read that passage for yourself, with the central focus on vs 5. Asking yourself how is this vs so basic to our Christian walk?

And then how do we reach this level of trust?

What role does God’s Word play in this? vs 1

What has love and faithfulness to do with it vs 3, and sharing your wealth vs 9?

It seems to me in this passage, basic to getting wisdom to trust the Lord lies two facets. God’s word and true humility vs 1 and 7.

Then in vs 12 the writer suggests that God uses His discipline to enable us to truly trust Him. This is a hard one but underlying that vs is the reassurance that God only disciplines those He loves. (maybe we should see by this vs how important our trust is to God).

Finally in vv 19,20 we see the reminder of who the One is that we are trusting in. I find that meditating on vv like those helps me enormously to build my trust.

Now if you want to, read Psalm 37:1-11

How does this enrich our reading today?

As you read these passages my prayer for all of us is in Ephes 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus, the glorious Father may give you the spirit of wisdom and understanding that you may know Him better”. That his will not be just an intellectual exercise, but that it will be heart-changing as you listen and hear Him speak.

Living with Wisdom.

Its cold and dark outside as I look across towards the Cape Flats and see the myriad of lights twinkling. It reminds me of the many people out there, A lot of them crowded into small spaces and I wonder how they find the time and space to spend alone with our loving Father. I once again appreciate the warm corner that I have to spend alone with Jesus, God’s word in so many translations, all sorts of. other helps. I feel so spoiled and yet blessed. I remember Mark Brooke-Smith from the early eighties going to spend a year living with a coloured family in Worcester. The fellowship and joy was palpable. Sitting around a fire on a Saturday evening with one piece of meat for the whole family, could not dampen the joy as one plucked a guitar so they could sing. Yet one thing he missed sorely – there was no place for him to spend alone with his bible and the Lord.

Its been a restless night, with several interruptions so my mind is all over the place. Slowly I get the message through to it “Be still and know that I am God”.

In the warm quiet comes the word “Come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Learn from me…..” Wait a bit, how am I going to learn from Him? I must open my ears and listen. Take my yoke….it is easy (ie it fits perfectly) and light. God does not expect me to do anything that He does not equip me for.

“But Lord I feel so weak and inadequate and confused. “When you are weak, I can show my strength through you. The wisdom of this world is foolishness, acquire and listen to my wisdom”

“But the concern the nurses expressed yesterday?”

“To remind you to trust Me in this complex situation”

And I remember my resolve to fix my eyes on Jesus and get out of the boat so that I can walk on the water of trust. I have been taking my eyes of Jesus and looking at the turbulent water and it is in danger of swallowing me up……………….and so … there was more

Proverbs 8:12-36 Speak to me through your Word Lord….

“I love those who love me and those who seek me find me vs 17

My fruit is better than fine gold vs 19 …… This fruit is produced aro of my relationship with Wisdom (Jesus) and through His love. It is a demonstration of His working through me..

Then from vs 22 the revelation (parallel to psalm 139) of God’s plan which He set up from eternity, from the beginning vv 23 ff Vs 27 I was there when He set the heavens in place. My mind is once again blown as I realize the enormity of His plan and the amazing fact that I am part of that plan (and so too each one of you)

Now from vs 32 There is that word again Listen!

What is the state of the one who listens vs 34?

What happens to the one who finds Wisdom? vs 35.

Joshua 1:1-9: “Be strong and courageous Joshua”. How should he gather strength and maintain it? …1:8?

Psalm 1: The book of Psalms opens with the word “blessed is the man…. ….Which describes a great theme of the book but in this short psalm, how is this man to order his life so that he can be blessed? vs 2?

So friends the long psalm 119 which mentions the law of God in almost every verse expands on this vs 2 of psalm 1. It struck me so forcibly that God’s word is really our access to Him and His personal voice to us. Meditating is chewing over what you read so that you can pass through the words on paper to meet with the Author Himself. He wants to personalize that Word for you. Under the new covenant we have the Holy Spirit who is speaking to us through the Word. But you will only hear Him if you “listen”

Mervyn Eloff often used to start his prayers in church with “Lord you are in heaven and we are on earth, so let our words be few”. Have you ever experienced how pleasant it is to spend time with someone who would rather listen to you blab about yourself than blab about themselves.

So to really come to grips with God’s word we need to meditate on it, chew it, memorize it and listen to the Author when He speaks and applies it to you.

What is wisdom?

Proverbs 4:1-9

Romans 1:18-23

1 Cor 1:18-29.

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom or understanding?

In the last blog we saw that wisdom is not simply a matter of obeying a set of rules. The application of wisdom has a spiritual element to it, a supernatural element if you like. So wisdom has the potential to give you “LIFE” and life in abundance, whereas trying to obey a set of rules just gives us a sense of burden because we, in all probability can’t keep them perfectly.

So wisdom is not knowledge it can involve knowledge but wisdom is the application of the best effect.

So how do we obtain wisdom (understanding)? Pr 4:1. Who is The Father? Does that not fit the theme of our blog?

How important is understanding for the reader? vv 4-9?

What is the ultimate test of wisdom? Romans 1:22

So, looking at the reference in 1 Cor we can see that wisdom is ultimately personified in Jesus. So if we are to have wisdom, we will be most wise if we abide in Christ and He abides in us. This involves truly listening to Jesus. Hearing His heartbeat through His word and applying it fresh to your mind and Spirit every day. And then our lives will reflect their true purpose which is bringing God the glory in all our thoughts and endevours.

So what have these passages said to you today, which is fresh and you can apply to your life?