Summer Wise – Summer Not
Week 1 – Wise Up
If God were to say, “You can have anything you want, what would you ask for? Would you ask to win the lottery? Would you ask for a new car, or a new body? A new husband? Don’t raise your hand!
One guy in the Bible has this opportunity. His name was Solomon. Many of you know his story. Solomon’s father was David, the third king of Israel. In 1 Kings 3, God said, “Solomon, I’ve been watching your life. You can have one thing. What do you want? Fame? Pleasure? Power? Possessions? You name it!” Solomon said, “I want wisdom.”
God was so pleased with that response that He said, “Not only am I going to give you wisdom, but you’re going to get the things that you didn’t ask for.” That is how Solomon became the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live.
This summer we are going to dive into the book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon. Since Proverbs is the book of wisdom, and it is summer, we have titled the series, Summer Wise – Summer Not.
The 31 chapters of Proverbs focuses on topics like money, sex, power, family and friends, work, success, failure, aging, and conflict. Over the next few weeks Solomon will invite us all to wise up. “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.” – Proverbs 4:7-8 (NLT)
So, what is wisdom anyway? Wisdom is NOT knowledge. There is a knowledge explosion in the world today. There is so much information available at our fingertips everyone seems to be an expert on everything. Knowledge is available to anyone with a smartphone.
Can you have a lot of information and be unwise? Absolutely! You can have a high IQ and still make dumb decisions! Wisdom is more than IQ, intellect, knowledge, or even common sense.
WISDOM: Seeing and responding to life from GOD’S PERSPECTIVE.
It is both an attitude and an action. The problem is that we don’t usually respond to life from God’s perspective. In fact, Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” – Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
Have you ever heard anybody say, “I’ll just go with my gut. I follow my natural instincts. I just do what feels right in the moment.” That is unwise, according to the Bible. Our natural inclinations are often wrong. There is a way that seems right, but it ends in death. It is a dead-end street.
Have you mistakenly traveled down a dead-end street? Then you finally realize you are on a road that is going nowhere. A lot of people are going nowhere fast in life because they’re unwise. Wisdom is found in seeing and responding to life from God’s perspective.
“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” – Provers 3:13-18 (NLT)
We live our lives in search of longevity, wealth, honor, pleasure, security, and happiness. God says they’re all wrapped up in learning to be wise. The book of Proverbs is packed with powerful principles on topics like wealth. Solomon says, “wisdom is more profitable than silver. Her wages better than gold.”
How would you like to have God as your financial planner? In the weeks ahead, we’re going to look at foundational principles for financial freedom from the book of Proverbs. Wisdom brings honor. Wisdom will prevent you from putting your foot in your mouth so often. Wisdom will help you know the right thing to say and do in every situation.
Wise people will experience greater pleasure in life. That is because living according to God’s principles makes life easier. Most of the problems we have life were brought on by our own dumb decisions. When you’re wise, it eliminates a lot of the problems that people typically face. Life gets easier when you’re wise.
Wisdom brings security. It will make your life safe. Wisdom gives a sense of security, self-confidence, and peace of mind. Wisdom helps you gain control. Things don’t control you, but you control things when you’re wise. You’re an actor not a reactor. Those who become wise will be happy.
Solomon asked for wisdom and God said everything else he could ever want is wrapped up in wisdom. That tells me Solomon asked for the right thing. That’s just a taste of where we are headed this summer.
This morning I just want to whet your appetite for this series. Wisdom is something we all desire, but so few possess. So, let’s get started. Where does wisdom come from? ANSWERS?
There is only one reliable source of wisdom. If you want to be wise you’ve got to go to the source: God’s Word.
1. Read GOD’S WORD.
Solomon begins by telling us the purpose of the book of Proverbs…“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.” – Proverbs 1:2-3 (NLT)
One translation says, “they can teach you how to live intelligently.” How many of you would like to know how to act in every circumstance? Anybody want to live intelligently? There are really only Two Sources of Wisdom in life – the WORD or the WORLD. You will get your insights on life from one of those two places – what God says or what the world says.
How many of you believe everything you watch on television? How many of you believe everything you read online, in the newspaper, or on the radio? How many of you believe everything you read in the Bible? Why do we spend more time listening to and reading things we don’t believe rather than reading what we do believe? It doesn’t make sense. Read God’s Word! The Bible is often referred to as the owner’s manual for life. When in doubt always read the instructions. If you want to be wise you’ve got to get back to the book.
But it takes more than reading the book. It takes more than studying it. I know people who are walking encyclopedias of Bible knowledge. They read it, study it, memorize it, even mediate on it. Bible knowledge is good. But without application, it is meaningless.
2. DO what it says.
“Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live!” – Proverbs 7:1-2a (NLT) The Bible makes no difference in your life if all it does is sit on your coffee table. For the Word of God to matter, you need to apply it in your life.
God’s Word is wisdom. It is full of practical and relevant insights that can be applied to your life today. Never forget God’s commands. Obey them. Do what it says. Read it. Study it. Learn it. Memorize it. Mediate on it. BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T FORGET TO APPLY IT! If you want to become wise, read God’s Word then do what it says.
Let’s say you were in an airplane flying over Antarctica. Imagine the plane goes down and you miraculously survive. Right before the crash, the flight attended gave everyone their own copy of a booklet called “How to survive hypothermia.” So, there you are in Antarctica, all alone with yourself and a book on how to survive hypothermia. You could the read the book over and over and still freeze to death. To live, you must do what it says.
“Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22 (NLT) That is the key to living an effective life in just one sentence. Don’t just listen to the Word. Don’t just hear it. Do what it says.
I am concerned that many people are deceiving themselves. They come to church, or tune in online, they listen to the words of some great songs, they hear God’s Word, and they listen to practical teaching, then go home and do nothing about it. Truth basically goes in one ear and out the other. They basically walk out of the room, turn off their device, and they forget what they have heard. There is little to no application.
The Bible says, if you do that, you are deceiving yourself. Wisdom requires more than reading the Bible or coming to church and hearing the truth on Sunday. I must apply it in my life. I need to put it into practice. To become a wise person, I must become a doer of the Word, not just a hearer.
3. Get to KNOW God.
Solomon to get wisdom you must read God’s word, do what it says, and get to know God. This is about developing a relationship. This is how we become wise…“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” – Proverbs 1:7 (NLT)
It’s foolish to try to live your life ignoring the One who made you. You were made for a purpose. God made you for a reason. The Creator has a plan for your life. It’s ridiculous to try to live life ignoring the very One who made you. The starting point of wisdom is to trust in the Lord.
So, what are you trusting in today? Who are you trusting today? Where do you look for daily guidance? Your Horoscope? The stock market projections? Your own natural instincts?
Why do people make foolish financial decisions? Why do people walk into marriages that are doomed from the start? Why do people start habits that they know eventually are going to kill them? Why do people take more on in their schedule than they can handle? Why do people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even know or like?
Why do people have an affair and think it won’t matter? Why do people fail to prepare for death when they know it’s inevitable? Why do people put off accepting Christ when He offers them the gift of eternal life?
Proverbs really sums up all those questions with one answer in one phrase. It is a lack of wisdom. When you lack wisdom, you make foolish decisions, and you pay a price. “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” – Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) Fear isn’t about being afraid in
this case. It simply means you take God seriously.
People often refer to God as “the man upstairs”, or their “co-pilot.” God is not “co” anything. He’s God. He’s the Creator. Wise people take God seriously. Knowing God results in good judgement and understanding.
Do you know God, or do you just know about God? Knowing God means more than knowing facts about God. Someone says, I believe God exists. So does the devil. You won’t find him in heaven. I believe in Lenin, but I’m not a Communist.
I believe in Hitler, but I’m not a Nazi. I believe in Jesus Christ and I am a Christian. Why? Because it’s more than knowing about Him. I know Him! I have a personal relationship to Him. I’ve committed my life to Him. That’s what it means to know God.
Jesus Christ came to earth so that we might know God. How can we relate to an invisible God up there in the sky somewhere? God came to us in human form. That is who Jesus is. He is God. If God had wanted to communicate with the birds, He’d have become a bird. If God had wanted to communicate with dogs, He’d have become a dog. Ants don’t understand me if I want to talk to them. I have to become an ant to communicate with ants.
God wanted to have a relationship with us. God wanted to communicate to human beings, so He became one of us. God came to earth in the form of a human being for 33 years. Now we can look at Jesus and know, “That’s what God’s like!” I can look at God through the life of Jesus. Jesus shows us what God is like!
The fact that He came is proof that He loves us, and He desires a relationship with us. Think about that. He wants to have a relationship with you. No matter who you are, what you have done, or what you have been…God, the Creator of all that is, He wants a relationship with you.
Saying “YES” to a relationship with God is as simple as ABC.
We must – ADMIT that I am a sinner in need of a Savior.
– BELIEVE that Jesus in the only One who can save me.
– CONFESS my sin to Him.
– RECEIVE the gift of eternal life.
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 (NLT)
Jesus made it so simple, nobody has to be left out. You can say “Yes” to God today. Yes, Jesus. I want you to be number one in my life. I want to know and understand Your plan for my life.
God gave Solomon one request. Solomon chose wisdom. If God were to give you one request, what would you ask for? I hope now you’d ask for wisdom. Nothing you could ever want could compare with wisdom.
According to Proverbs, wisdom offers long life, wealth, honor. It will make your life pleasant. It will lead you safely through life. Those who become wise are happy. Perhaps you’ve already said “Yes” to God.
I want to challenge you to make wisdom the goal for the rest of your life. Get to know God. Make time each day to read the Word. Then do what it says. Getting to know God is not one of many things you have on your to-do list. Make it the goal of your life. Don’t let anything stop you.
“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.” – Proverbs 4:7-8 (NLT). Be determined to become wise.
RECOMMENDATION: There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. I want you to encourage you to read a chapter a day for these next two months. The first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs are Solomon’s advice to his son.
He talks primarily about the importance of wisdom. Then he spends 2-3 chapters talking about avoiding immoral women. The next 15 chapters are advice for everyone. These chapters are full of advice about anything and everything in life. Some of it is kind of funny. The last 7 chapters of the book deal with advice to leaders.
We’re going to work our way through a number of specific themes and topics. There are contrasting proverbs and correlating proverbs. It might be good to make a list of all the verses that speak to you about specific topics of interest, which might be things like anger, marriage, parenting, or work. Make yourself a topical list of the things you learn from the book of Proverbs.
We’re going to camp out in Proverbs for the next few weeks. Summer wise – Summer not. Are you wise? How are things going in your life? No doubt some would say, fantastic! Things are going great. The Lord is at work. But others would have to say, not so much. Your life is totally out of control. Things are going downhill and there’s things you don’t have a handle on. Isn’t it about time that you wise up!
The absolute wisest thing you will ever do is give your heart and life to Jesus Christ.
I have never met anyone who made that decision and wished they had put it off longer. They always wish they had done it sooner. It is the wise thing to do. “Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:24b (NLT)
If you want to know what wisdom looks like, just look at Jesus. He embodies it. He is the personification of wisdom. That’s what it means to live wisely and have faith in Jesus Christ. I believe some might like to take that step today, and I want to give you the opportunity to say “Yes” to Him today.