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Form of Sound Words (2 Tim 1:13)
Friday, January 23, 2004
Now Playing: Can we understand His ways?
Topic: Wisdom
What do we do when we cannot figure something out? We pull out a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia. We go to the library, check on the internet, call one of our friends, or simply experiment. But in spiritual matters, the Lord can help us to find understanding about the struggles and issues we face every day.

We have a good example for us in Nehemiah. "(v.3) And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. (v.6) And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, 'Amen, Amen,' with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. (v.8) So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading". (Nehemiah 8:3,6,8)

King David counsels us, "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD" (Psalm 107:43). "Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works" (Psalm 119:27). "I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts" (Psalm 119:100).

Solomon adds his advice, Proverbs chapter 2 ==> "(v.1) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; (v.2) So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; (v.3) Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; (v.4) If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; (v.5) Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (v.6) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (v.7) He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. (v.8) He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of His saints. (v.9) Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. (v.10) When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; (v.11) Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee. " (Proverbs 2:4-11) " (v.19) A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer. (v.20) Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him". (Proverbs 29:19-20)

The prophet Isaiah warns, "(v.9) Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. (v.10) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (v.16) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.' (v.26) For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him." (Isaiah 28:9-10,16,26). And we find in chapter 44 of Isaiah, "(v.6) Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and His redeemer the LORD of hosts; 'I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (v.7) And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. (v.8) Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.' (v.18) They have not known nor understood: for He hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. (v.19) And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding..." (Isaiah 44:6-8,18-19).

Daniel has recorded for our blessing, "(v.9) Yet heard I the voice of His words: and when I heard the voice of His words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. (v.10) And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. (v.11) And He said unto me, 'O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent.' And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. (v.12) Then said he unto me, 'Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words'." (Daniel 10:9-12)

The prophet Hosea instructed God's people, "(v.7) They that dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. (v.8) Ephraim shall say, 'What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard Him, and observed Him:' I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. (v.9) Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein" (Hosea 14:7-9).

In Luke chapter 24 (read it all) we also find instruction and encouragement. "(v.14) And they talked together of all these things which had happened. (v.15) And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. (v.16) But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. (v.28) And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and He made as though He would have gone further. (v.29) But they constrained Him, saying, 'Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.' And He went in to tarry with them. (v.30) And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. (v.31) And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. (v.45) Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45).

We also learn from the apostle Paul exhorting those at Philippi, "(v.9) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; (v.10) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. (v.11) Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (v.12) But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;" (Philippians 1:9-12). To the Corinthians, he admonishes, "(v.1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (v.2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

The Hebrew people were instructed, "(v.1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (v.2) For by it the elders obtained a good report. (v.3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (v.39) And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (v.40) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (v.1) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (v.2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 11:1-3,39-40,12:1-2).

The Lord Jesus Himself taught, "(v.14) And when He had called all the people unto Him, He said unto them, 'Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: (v.15) There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. (v.16) If any man have ears to hear, let him hear'." (Mark 7:14-16) May God give us "ears to hear" what He has to say that we might find understand to walk in a way well-pleasing unto Him!

Posted by dondegr8 at 6:16 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 24, 2004 2:25 PM EST
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Now Playing: Can we discern or judge wisely ?
Topic: Wisdom
Choices aren't always easy. We make many somewhat trivial choices such as what kind of food to eat or clothes to wear. This may affect our health, or our perception by our friends or co-workers, but it will likely not do us any spiritual harm. But life often gives us a "fork in the road" where the decisions we come upon have genuine meaning. It is in these places where discernment becomes increasingly important. So how can we understand the mind of God and see what is an appropriate course of action to live our lives in obedience to the scriptures?

Some verses from the Old Testament may prove beneficial. "Then thine handmaid said, 'The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD thy God will be with thee' " (2 Samuel 14:17). "(v.9) Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? (v.11) And God said unto him, 'Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment. (v.12) Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.' " (1 Kings 3:9,11-12).

A few more examples include, "Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?" (Job 6:30). "And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean" (Ezekiel 44:23). "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not" (Malachi 3:18).

We have similar admonishment in the gospels. "And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. 'O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?' " (Matthew 16:3). "Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" (Luke 12:56).

The epistles contain more instruction, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). "(v.28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (v.29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (v.30) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (v.31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (v.32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).

The book of Hebrews gives us some very good advice, "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). "For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). May we seek from the Lord discernment to understand His ways and to do His will!

Posted by dondegr8 at 1:25 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 24, 2004 2:09 PM EST
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Now Playing: Where do we receive our guidance?
Topic: Wisdom
When we are on a long trip, usually a good map, our previous experience, or a good navigator (wife or friend) can help us to our destination. However, we know in spiritual matters, we need much more. "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).

Many in the Old Testament received guidance and direction in a variety of ways. "(v.27) And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten. (v.28) And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. (v.29) And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while" (Genesis 46:27-29). "(v.11)Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, 'Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. (v.12) I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. (v.13) I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives..." (Isaiah 45:11-13).

Solomon gives us good instruction, "(v.5) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding, (v.6) In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct Thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

David could express longing for divine fellowship. "(v.1) Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. (v.2) Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. (v.3) My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up" (Psalm 5:1-3). Solomon could say, "The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way..." (Proverbs 11:5). The apostle Paul advised, "The Lord direct your hearts into the love of Christ, and into the patient waiting for Christ" (2 Thessalonians 3:5). May we always seek our spiritual direction from above!

Posted by dondegr8 at 10:01 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:16 AM EST
Thursday, January 8, 2004
Now Playing: How can we show prudence ?
Topic: Wisdom
No one wants to be foolish and stupid in our day-to-day actions and responsibilities. How then can we find the wisdom and prudence we need as a believer? Solomon wrote quite a bit on the subject. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame. A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness" (Proverbs 12:15,16,23). "The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going." (Proverbs 14:15) "He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning." (Proverbs 16:21) "Houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD" (Proverbs 19:14). "A prudent man forseeth the evil and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." (Proverbs 22:3, 27:12)

We must be careful not to consider ourselves capable of judging rightly in our own natural wisdom alone. As Isaiah said, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight" (Isaiah 5:21). Jeremiah prophesied, "Is wisdom no more in Teman? Is counsel perished from the prudent? Is their wisdom vanished?" (Jeremiah 49:7) The prophet Hosea concluded his discourse by writing, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them..." (Hosea 14:9).

When He walked on this earth, the Lord Jesus could say to His Father, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight" (Luke 10:21, Matthew 11:25). May we not rely upon our own "wisdom and prudence", but lean upon Him who has all the answers to the perplexing situations we may face in our lives! "Behold my servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high" (Isaiah 52:13)

Posted by dondegr8 at 5:20 PM EST

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