Category Archives: 08 Wisdom 101

Wisdom 101 – Chapter Seven

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 THE FOLLY OF YIELDING TO A HARLOT

“Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend; to preserve you from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words.” – Proverbs 7 verses 4-5 (RSV)

When I decided to write one article on each chapter of the book of Proverbs I didn’t realise what a difficult time I was letting myself in for. Difficult in the sense that I am finding a lot of what I have been reading in the past couple of chapters and now here in Chapter Seven at odds with my world view. It seems strange that what I am reading, that I would never have questioned the validity of whilst I was in the life of the church, I do now.

It’s not that I want to promote prostitution or suggest that being involved in a lifestyle that involves being or using the services of an escort (as we now more politely speak of such matters) is a great idea. What upsets me is that the scriptures are condemning both those who practice the “oldest profession” and those who partake in sexual behaviour with them, are destined for “Sheol” (verse twenty-seven) literally – the place of the dead.

This uncompromising stance on the subject, shows a lack of compassion towards those who may have personal reasons for following such a path. Most people who get involved in prostitution, do so to help make ends meet financially. I don’t think many of them were particularly pleased about using their bodies in this way, the first time they did it. And those seeking out those who would perform such services may be lacking physical love or just adventurous.

I have excused Solomon for speaking in what could be seen as a misogynist tone, spoke about his words as not initially being “Scripture” but as letters from a father to a son about the experiences of his own life and that which his family had experienced, but this time I am struggling to accept what is being said as anything more than a rant against the lady who (in Solomon’s eyes) beguiled and tricked him into having sex with her.

It seems like he is either deeply hurt by the experience and wonders how anyone will take him seriously now should they find the skeletons in his cupboard, or that he wants to let the world know about what he thinks of the trickster who compromised his “goody two shoes image.” Nevertheless, I am going to offer one more excuse for Solomon, three thousand years ago the likelihood of  someone catching venereal disease from such an encounter could kill you.

We all have skeletons in our cupboard (and by the way this article is not speaking of one of mine) and yet to be repressed because of what others might think of us is not a great strategy for life.  The mistakes we perceive ourselves of having made are not to be celebrated; but in hiding them away, we fool no-one more than we fool ourselves. Mistakes are to be learned from, they help us show compassion to those making mistakes now and maybe hurting us in the process.

I do so hope that Chapter Eight and beyond will deal with others aspects of wisdom that won’t cause me such difficulty in identifying with as Chapter’s 5-7 have done. I personally believe that having one chapter deal with this matter would have been adequate, but Solomon not only put this high on his list of do’s and don’ts for his son Rehoboam, but decided to “go on about it a bit!” Yes it is wise to avoid such life complications but “an ox to the slaughter” seems OTT!

I never thought I’d use an image of prostitution as the picture of choice for one of my articles. The scriptures have had a strange effect on me this day, it would seem. I really don’t like the way Chapter Seven puts all the blame on the woman for what happens to the man in the story that Solomon told here of how the poor hapless man got dragged down to Sheol “like a bird rushing into a snare” when all he had to say was “No thank you, sweet lady of the night!”

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Six

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DO YOU WONDER ABOUT WISDOM?

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a vagabond, and want like an armed man!” – Proverbs 6 v10-11 (RSV)

My apologies to those of you who have been waiting for my impressions on Chapter Six of the book of Proverbs. I believe we all needed time to consider that chapter’s contents before moving on and we do return to the subject of sexual behaviour again with this article. For those of you who are picking up this series of mine today, these are merely my impressions and reflections as I read these scriptures and are not meant as a commentary.

Do you wonder about wisdom? When I ask that question, what I am asking is: Do you spend time  considering the outcome of your life like a chess player would?  Do you ever think if the strategies you follow, whether you’ve thought them through or are unwittingly living your life, are going to end in smiles or tears? Is there a wiser way of living your life, than the way you do it now and is there a good place to go to find out some tried and tested winning ways to follow.

In some ways the book of Proverbs, as I said last time, is merely a father passing on to his son what he had learned, through much experience of life as individual and as a King who was being asked to judge other people’s disputes. And yet this wisdom has stood the test of time and survived almost 3,000 years and therefore needs to be considered by those who do the wondering today. So, are you with me for another look at the wisdom of Solomon?

 Warnings Against Debt and Idleness

I think it was William Shakespeare who once said “Neither a lender nor a borrower be!” Here Solomon warns his son about even promising to guarantee to pay someone else’s debts for them if they are not able to pay them . He says that by so doing, you have put yourself into the power of another, whoever you give such a promise to in more common parlance “has one over you” He encourages you and I to find a way of escape from indebtedness, yours or another’s.

His warning goes further, he doesn’t only tell you and I to “give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber” before we attempt our escape (verse four) but also suggests we consider within nature one who has shown more wisdom than the slumbering one and that is the ant (verse six). The ant is not one who has another telling her what to do, but nevertheless “prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest” (verse eight).

We are human beings we don’t just have instinctive wisdom, we are able to comprehend what is wise and then take the actions necessary. Sleeping on the job is not an option open to those of us that desire to escape poverty and want. Are you taking your responsibilities towards what you owe to others whether it is a financial or otherwise? Idleness is a sure way to stop you from ever escaping your debts, and now is the time to take action!

Warning Against Sowing Discord

I can only keep repeating my earlier requests for you to get a copy of the scriptures and read this book of Proverbs for yourself. These are only my impressions and I do not want you to think for a moment that what I am saying in my articles here are exactly what the book of Proverbs is saying. As you read the words contained there for yourself, you may come to different conclusions. I can only tell you what I see and you are welcome to disagree with my findings there.

I am saying that because my intention here is not to “sow discord” but instead to start you off considering what is to be found in this great book of wisdom that will help you. It seems a little harsh to me that those who have little worth (whether financial or otherwise) are considered by Solomon to be wicked as well (verse twelve) but Solomon has said something like that before. He speaks of those in this context in far more detail:

They tell lies; they wink at you as if to let you know you mustn’t believe them; they tap their feet, biding their time. they are not in a hurry to get anywhere. They point with their finger, telling you what to do, with no intention of doing it themselves, pointing out the errors of others as if they are some authority on the subject. Solomon sees this all as a perversion of the life of one who leads by example. Instead “the wicked” are using their time to devise evil.

The sowing of discord doesn’t only hurt those who listen to the “worthless” ones who are speaking, but to these “wicked” men too. Calamity is coming their way, and it’s coming quicker than they can imagine it will do, too! I’m not quite sure what it means to be “broken beyond healing” and I am certain that I do not want to find out either! Those who have nothing better to do than trip people up on their journey of life need to be avoided!

Warning Against Seven Sins

Despite the religious context of this warning, a sin is a term used in archery when the arrow falls short of it’s target. In that context these words offer us the ability to imagine what the target might be. These “sins” are all a must to avoid, because if you do them, then the results will cause you to be a lesser person than you would prefer to be known as being, I am sure. So, here comes the seven, I’m sure your eager to know what they are:

Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies and a man who sows discord among brothers! I suppose it is possible to write a paragraph or more describing each one of these seven and yet I think I will leave you to measure yourself up to each one of them in turn and when you do please ask yourself how you will avoid them in the future.

Warning Against Adultery

Buddha said “You will not be punished for your anger, but by your anger!” In the final sixteen verses of this chapter of Proverbs Solomon says the same about those who commit adultery. He uses the example in verse thirty of the way people treat those who steal to satisfy their appetite when hungry. You can’t take what you want, when you want it, just because it is desirable to you, without there being consequences.

This piece of wisdom is hard earned by Solomon’s family, because Solomon was the result of an adulterous relationship between his father King David  and Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who David had killed in battle, thinking that this would save him from the consequences of his actions. David despite marrying Bathsheba nearly lost his kingdom (which went on to last 40 years) and his mind because of his conscience troubled him because of what he’d done.

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Five

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THE WISDOM OF CHASTITY 

“I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ears to my instructors. I was at the point of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” – Proverbs 5 v13-14

Up to now in my articles based on the book of Proverbs in the scriptures I think I have skilfully avoided prescribing a legalistic take on wisdom. I have kept my insights reasonably light and fluffy, my words have been specifically chosen not to offend anyone. I have been appealing to your common sense. Although some say the thing about common sense is that it’s not so common, I have hoped to gently push you in that direction if you didn’t already think that way.

However, chapter five is a completely different kettle of fish, the scripture at this point is more definitely prescriptive and legalistic in its tone. Up to now our present day society could accept the wisdom shared without much complaint and yet here we are being challenged about the morals of our own modern western culture. So hold onto your hats as we traverse together the wisdom taught by Solomon to his son(s) about the institution of marriage.

Warning Against Unchastity

The chapter starts with a instruction to continue to have wisdom and discretion, despite the subject matter becoming more specific and intense. Solomon is writing to his son, he is warning him of the lack of morality in a certain kind of woman; if however he had been speaking to his daughter the warning would have been of the lack of morality of a certain kind of man. Without this being understood, we would have to conclude that Solomon had  misogynistic views.

That being said, Solomon paints a picture of this person of loose morals being unaware of the way to live a life based on wisdom. In an anything goes, and to hell with the consequences that the path of life may take you to, the lack of wisdom although at first sweet will end in tears. Solomon is doing here what CS Lewis (the author of the Narnia stories) did thousands of years later when in his book “The Great Divorce” he wrote of the separation of two ways of life.

CS Lewis wrote in the pre-amble to his book that Dante had written of the marriage of heaven and hell and that he had written of their divorce. King Solomon and CS Lewis were of the opinion that to accept a permissive outlook towards life and ignore the wisdom of those who had lived longer and experienced more, wasn’t just foolish and stupid but that it led to the worst death of all, the death of your soul, it all may seem a little harsh to the modern ear.

We live in a time, certainly within our Western Culture, that prides itself on it’s tolerance towards the way people choose to live their lives. We also see interventions from the state, church, school or family on the subject of morals as being unwelcome on the basis that each person should be allowed to live their own lives without interference. I have myself, before coming to this chapter today been one  championing the cause of encouraging individuality.

I have to tell you that I haven’t liked what I have read here in Chapter Five and see what has been written here as one of the reasons that as a society we have turned away from the teachings of the scriptures. None of us like to be told what to do, least of all to be challenged about the way we are living our lives. However, I’d like to stop for a moment and see these words in the context they were written and not as part of the doctrines of a certain faith or religion.

Let us forget that they are the words of King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, that they are scripture, that they have been revered by hundreds of millions of people for millennia.  Instead see them as the words of a concerned father to his child (or children). In this context maybe we can imagine that the writer himself had had some personal experience of this experience as the words from the quote at the beginning of this article suggests.

If we see these words in the contest of this is what happened to me and it hurt me so much that I don’t want it to happen to you, that misogyny and telling us what to do with our lives goes out of the window, it’s now about a simple warning about where certain actions may take us. Of course our Western Society may not want to see it that way and will insist that the words are prescriptive and legalistic and for that reason we shouldn’t listen.

Marital Joys And Responsibilities

King Solomon seems to have had his own experience that had brought him to certain conclusions in his thinking, that we have maybe never properly considered? Hating discipline and despising reproof (verse twelve) he suggests may bring you to a place of regret in later life. So what is the answer to this conundrum, no doubt as the king he was approached by many people who had heard of his wisdom and wanted to hear his answers to the questions they faced.

So here in this chapter about chastity and unchastity, living a life of if it feels good (at the time) do it, or being straight laced and living a moral life, Solomon using his wisdom has come to the following conclusions. I played with fire and I got burnt, I was ashamed when my actions came into public view and even though I said to myself I wouldn’t regret what I had done or said, that is exactly what happened to me.

Maybe you know that playing with fire hurts and sometimes in the heat of the moment your human desires have taken you down a path that although very enjoyable, you have lived to regret or become damaged at the level of your soul as a result of what happened? Your conclusion may have been different to Solomon’s, maybe you have thought most people suffer from these kind of pains at some time in their lives and therefore  you accept it as par for the course?

Well what does the wisdom of Solomon say to his son, that he believes will enable him to avoid such damage to his soul? The instruction he gives, to help his son to avoid the pain that he experienced and that the pain others have told him about experiencing as they approached him to hear his wisdom, was this: Have a covenant of marriage, make a promise that come what may I will stay with one person and be faithful to them for all your life.

It doesn’t sound that exciting though does it and yet as we read from verse fifteen to nineteen the way this marriage should be, these five verses if they summed up your experience of married life would be perfect, wouldn’t they? Perversion says no, and yet if you want to have purity, peace, joy and contentment in your life, maybe these words of Solomon are some that you should consider, if your experience of married life doesn’t match up to what is described?

Solomon ends this chapter suggesting that it is a lack of discipline that takes people away from their marriage promises and that may result in a person to losing his soul. It was a different day and generation back then. Life has moved on and maybe Solomon would have more to say about this today in light of the culture that most of the Western World embraces; where approximately speaking for every two marriages in the UK taking place, one couple gets divorced.

Even in my young life divorce was happening, but it was hushed up, the people that it happened to were frowned upon by the majority of society and here less than fifty years later divorce is common place and is spoken of openly. Solomon’s wisdom on this matter seems outdated and unworkable and yet I don’t think that is because his wisdom doesn’t apply any more, I think there is something else at play here, please let me explain.

It is good that we are more tolerant of each others tragedies and I think it is compassion for each other that has led us to the acceptance that we all make mistakes; and yet we seem to be tackling the consequences of our actions rather than the source of our problems. In his writings Solomon spent four chapters discussing wisdom for life before he started speaking of chastity. I believe that a people of wisdom would know far better who was the best partner for them.

Jesus said “Do not be unevenly yoked!” A yoke was an implement in agriculture that pre-industrialisation enabled the farmer to plant his crops in straight furrows. He would usually need a pair of oxen to have enough force to turn the soil but if one ox was pulling to the left and the other to the right, you wouldn’t get straight lines. In the same way wisdom dictates that we find the right marriage partner for our lives to be the way we want them to be.

If you are looking for a life partner, whether you’ve had one before or not the wisdom, I see that the first five chapters of the book of Proverbs suggests that you make sure that your prospective partner has wisdom, and that you both share similar, beliefs, rules and values. Sadly many people haven’t got these things on their wish list for a suitable partner and in my opinion it is why so many marriages end up in the divorce court.

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Four

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HUMILITY IS THE PRE-REQUISITE OF WISDOM!

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight! Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her!” Proverbs 4 v7-8 (RSV)

To know that you don’t know and to be willing to do something about it, is far better than thinking you know, when you don’t know at all. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Humility is required if wisdom or knowledge is to be gained. There are both the innocence of youth and also the foolhardiness of the opinionated to be observed in the speech and actions of young people; but the open heart and mind is both the possession of the gullible and the would be wise.

So how do we find wisdom? It makes sense first to listen to those who love us and want the best for us, but to observe how the wisdom those we love has affected their lives. If the wisdom being shared has given the person speaking it the kind of results you would like to have in your life, then listen carefully to what you are being told. If however this isn’t the case, you need to find another mentor, whose life’s path has taken them in the direction you want to go.

The Command to Obtain Wisdom.

Chapter four begins, with King Solomon (oh did I say before: “the wisest man who ever lived”) telling his sons to listen to him, he assures them and us that he is giving us good instructions, and I for one think Solomon is the go to guy, when it comes to getting wisdom.  Solomon tells us he was someone who listened to his father’s teachings; I see this as a recommendation to listen to him, because he is asking us to do what he did not just what he says.

King David commanded Solomon to get wisdom and insight and that when he had it, not to forsake it. Wisdom is spoken of in the feminine, the way I see it is King David wanted Solomon to love wisdom, as a man loves a woman. He says “if you don’t forsake her, she will keep you and guard you and by prizing her highly, she will exalt and honor you as you embrace her. David wants Solomon to have a love affair with Wisdom; if you do he says, she will crown you as her king!

Contrast of the Wise and the Wicked

It seems strange to me reading this now, but in the eyes of King Solomon if you are not wise you are wicked, not stupid. Solomon makes it a simple choice for us between good and evil, if we want to be good then we need to get wise and possess wisdom, if we can’t be bothered to learn then we aren’t just stupid, we are evil! Seems a little harsh on the puddled amongst us, but surely part of being alive each day is that through trial and error at the very least, we become wiser?

There’s a promise of long life to the wise, and a path that won’t trip you up whether you are walking or running. Wisdom based instruction is something to never let go of and to guard against doing so. Avoid the path that leads to evil, go the way of the wise every time you are faced with a choice; don’t cause others to stumble and fall either. Walking in the light of the knowledge of wisdom, is to be prefered than walking in the darkness of evil ways.

Positive Instructions to a Son

Not only should we listen out for wisdom, but we should keep it somewhere special where it won’t be forgotten or not acted upon. Life and health have their source in wisdom, so guard yourself from saying things which aren’t based in wisdom. Jesus himself said “Out of the heart the mouth speaks”; so store wisdom in your heart, at the deepest level of your being, so that health and life will be yours. Is the message of the wisdom of the wise making itself clearer to you?

In the closing verses of chapter four we are told to “look directly forward” to keep your eyes on the road ahead. It’s clear that if you do, then the wisdom you have will enable you to anticipate what actions are the best ones to take next, especially if you realise you need to seek out more wisdom than you already possess. Not swerving to the right or the left or going off at a tangent on some wild goose chase, will keep us away from the evil pathways that might entice us.

I will be back next week with more WISDOM 101 from Chapter 5 of the book of Proverbs. Instead of my usual Friday poem tomorrow, being the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings at the beginning of the end of the Second World War, I am going to share with you the memories of a young man aged 22, who arrived in France on D-Day+2, because the ship he was being carried from Portsmouth being attacked by shells and bad weather. That young man was my Father!

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter Three

The Wealth Of Wisdom

 THE WEALTH OF WISDOM

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding, for the gain from it is better than gain from silver and its profit better than gold!” – Proverbs 3 v 13-14 (RSV)

As you may realise my intention here over the next couple of months is to look at a chapter from the book of Proverbs in the scriptures each Monday  through Thursday (Friday’s is when I share my poetry with you) till all thirty-chapters have been covered. I have called this series of articles “Wisdom 101” because being brought up in a Christian home the words of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived was taught to me as the main book of wisdom in existence.

There are many other ancient texts that exist outside the Christian Bible that share great wisdom. I am sticking to what I know and even then I am taking an impressionistic view of the book of Proverbs. With each article, my method is to read the chapter and comment not on what it says directly but to record the thoughts that come into my mind as I read it, in this way I only claim to be a mirror reflecting the content to you. I would love you to go read the chapter for yourself.

One last thing to note is that if you read these articles as they are posted, there maybe mistakes grammatical,and otherwise which I intend to come back and correct at a later point. My intention is to be open to be a channel for wisdom to speak through me, rather than for me to write the content myself. So here we go with more impressions of wisdom through the book of Proverbs, as seen through the prism of light and love known as Andrew Paul Smith.

THE BLESSING OF WISDOM 

Yesterday I referred to Solomon talking to his son about his commandments, when in effect he was ordering Rehoboam what to do or what not to do, expecting his instructions to be completed. He wasn’t doing this because he was power crazy, but because he wanted his son to benefit from his hard earned wisdom. Here in chapter three he reminds the boy and us fortunate enough to look over his shoulder as he writes, that if we listen we will live a long life.

More than that we will know material abundance! He tells us that loyalty and faithfulness will have a similar effect, they will bring us favor and a good reputation, if we take heed. There is a higher part to our nature that recognises wisdom and the truth when it is placed before us and we are listening out for it. My Dad used to tell me that “we haven’t even scratched the surface” of knowing all the things there are to know, and yet there is a part of us that already knows!

We need to be humbled by the presence of this great wisdom that is never far from us, we would be foolish to ignore it when it presents itself to us. Our own understanding is so small and yet when we acknowledge our lack, then wisdom will always reveal itself to us. The principal at my bible school once said “Man’s extremity is god’s opportunity!” Being wise in our own eyes, leads us nowhere fast, being willing to learn and accept we need to learn will help us.

WISDOM MORE PRECIOUS THAN WEALTH

Of course the scriptures talk about god, it is a book that is written to reveal the divine and the ways of divinity. I am being careful not to put a religious emphasis on my words. Where it talks of a “first-fruits” offering (verse nine) I would remind you that an attitude of gratitude is the way to see what we have been entrusted with and not to forget to say our please and thank yous; that’s the way to keep yourself in the flow of blessing and plenty.

When things go wrong and we make mistakes, we receive correction only from those who love us, who don’t want us to make the same mistakes and want us to gain wisdom as we go. In our opening quote and beyond it we are told that wisdom is “more precious than jewels and nothing you desire can compare with her!” If you seek wisdom, the scriptures promises you a long life, along with riches and honor!

If you hold fast to wisdom, she will bring you happiness, because her ways are pleasant and her pathways lead to peace! The scriptures tell us that through wisdom the universe as we know it came to be, this really is a no brainer, we need to pursue wisdom, in the way some people in our culture pursue fame, fortune and material possessions! Anyone reading this article should by now be in no doubt, you need to go and get yourself some wisdom! 😉

THE WISE INHERIT HONOR

Wisdom and discretion, are the best things to wear, they will bring life to your soul! If you possess them, they will stop your from making mistakes, keep you from being afraid, even give you pleasant dreams! When other people’s mistakes are their undoing, whatever problems they have to face, you will avoid, in such times you will be able to continue on the path of your life confidently! I hope as you are reading these words you are considering the truth the hold for you?

In verse twenty-seven their is an instruction for us, we can only assume that Solomon considers it to by wise to do what he is saying here, because of the context. He says “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it!” He advises us to help and not hinder others, to live peacefully with our neighbours. Not to be envious of men who get what they want by not living a life based on wisdom.

There’s even more to it than that, the spiritual nature of the universe is set us to be scornful of those who scoff and for bad things to happen to those who live their lives in a wicked way. However, if you are humble, you will be blessed with many good experiences and possessions , one of the results of following the path that wisdom leads you in will be to receive an inheritance of honor. Anybody want to get some wisdom, sounds like a good and perfect gift to have.

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

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Wisdom101 – Chapter Two

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 CRYING OUT FOR INSIGHT

“If you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand!” – Proverbs 2 v 4-5 (RSV)

Are you hungry for insight and knowledge? Not just insight and knowledge about the world and the people in it (I am fascinated by everyone and everything), but are you hungry for insight and knowledge about yourself. My eagerness to understand life led me into finding out more about myself. You see you can’t make the world a better place before making yourself a better person; it doesn’t work like that!

Here we are in chapter two of the book of Proverbs written by King Solomon the wisest man who ever lived. He seems to be writing these proverbs, insights and understandings to his son Rehoboam (literally “he who enlarges the people”). The man who would follow him as king, after Solomon’s death in 930 BC. The idea of having things written down for someone to refer to (after the person is no longer there to advise you in person) goes back at least 3,000 years!

Thankfully we have many books now available to help us to understand how life works and how to get the best results for ourselves. Maybe we have been so inundated with such literature that it is seen as commonplace and is no longer treasured. The quote I have used suggests that we should be diligent seekers of the treasures of wisdom, insight and understanding, and to neglect such information will lead to a life of poverty; wisdom is treasure indeed!

The Reward of Wisdom

Not only should we seek wisdom, we should treasure it too! I remember my father quoting the words of Jesus many times to me. He used to remind me of the words “Do not cast your pearls before swine!” It was always in the context of not telling people who weren’t interested in the wisdom and insights you had received, what you knew. If this is the way the wise are with their wisdom, it makes sense to me to become interested in what they have to say.

Solomon speaks of his commandments being based in wisdom, when our parents tell us to do things or not, it can be because of some prior knowledge they have about life we do not possess. My Mum used to teach Sunday School and used to tell the class (I know because I was in her class for a while) we had one mouth and two ears and that God had made us that way for a reason. We need to listen more than we talk, I suppose she was looking at her verbose son when she said it!

In verse seven we read that God stores up wisdom, maybe if we want to be wise we should do the same?  This wisdom is readily available for those who are willing to listen; and those who do listen to it, will be preserved from many calamities!  Wisdom is spoke about in terms of being able to protect those who are willing to take it into their hearts, from the way of evil and those who walk in darkness (v12-13).

Walking In the Way of Wisdom

There are many people who seem to fall over themselves, they go from one minor tragedy to another, they bumble through life, some of them even looking gormless. They are clueless and of course it’s never their fault, they always have someone else to blame for their continued misfortunes. If only I’d known this or that I wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have been there, I just couldn’t help being dragged of into that situation, don’t blame me!

The fact that you are reading this at all, suggests to me that you aren’t like that, even if at one time you used to be. Nevertheless I can’t labour enough the principle that the more wisdom you seek the less likely it will be that your life will be “overtaken by events.” Seeking wisdom, this “pearl of great price” is worth relinquishing ownership of many other things for! Life direction is often decided on the spin of a coin, if you possess wisdom, you will be able to decide for yourself!

What seperates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, is the amount of wisdom you possess. If you are approached to spend your money and time doing something that will not benefit you in the long run, how will you know. How will you be able to see the red flags which are there to warn you of the unscrupulous nature of your so called friend? Only wisdom can save you, so seek it out!

In writing these articles, my intention is let you know what the reading of each chapter of the book of Proverbs reveals to me as I read it. I would advise you to read the chapter for yourself and to come to your own conclusions about what it is saying to you. I do hope though by telling you what I see in the verses of each chapter will help you to find your own wisdom.

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

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Wisdom 101 – Chapter One

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 ONLY FOOLS DESPISE WISDOM AND INSTRUCTION!

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street; in the markets she raises her voice; on top of the walls she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long oh simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will the scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Give heed to my reproof; behold I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make my words known to you!” – Proverbs 1 v 20-23 (RSV)

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to garner wisdom from the book of Proverbs in the scriptures. If you are going to look for WISDOM there seems to be no better place to look than to the words of the wisest man who ever lived King Solomon! In the months of June  and July I am going to take a whistle stop tour of the book of Proverbs and share the insights I gain in it’s pages.

When I walked away from my local church over twenty years ago after spending many hundreds of hours involved in the leadership and outreach of the church I had a thought. Wouldn’t be great to get away from the interpretations that I had explained to me in Bible School and Sunday by Sunday in Church and finally read the scriptures for myself and see what they said to me, without any outside influences.

This is my second attempt at such an exercise, in the first I looked at the words of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament, that remains an incomplete project, maybe I will return to it after I complete my work with Proverbs. It seemed right to take on such a project as I have been copying and pasting old articles here on my website since the beginning of January and it is time for something new from me.

The purpose of Proverbs

CHAPTER ONE as you would expect is a scene setter for the rest of the book, but is still full of insights. KING SOLOMON says he has written this book so that we may know wisdom and instruction and understand words of insight (verse 2) and receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity (verse 3).

Maybe you’ve never read this book before or studied it; my insights on the book may be different to yours and that is ok by me. This is my website and so I am sharing what insights I find in the book and if they help you that is wonderful. If however all I do is point you in the direction of seeking out wisdom from the pages of Proverbs for yourself, then I am a happy man. The wisdom and instructions it contains will help you live a happier and more fulfilled life, of that I am sure!

Warnings against violence 

In verses ten to nineteen of this first chapter we are told that however easy it may seem to use force to get what you want in this life, we must not “make haste to shed blood” to get what we want (verse sixteen). A challenging image is given, that the ones who are trapped by the nets that were meant to ambush their prey, are those who set them (verse eighteen). Jesus himself said: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword!”

So if we want to get anywhere in this life through setting up a scheme that will hurt others to enable us to get what we want, then it will end up harming us! Wisdom says don’t get involved with those who want to get rich in this way. Tricking others is not the way to make a fortune, just to loose one! Do everything you do with an open heart is how I understand what is being said here. Be ethical, be honest, go for win/win every time!

Warning against neglect of wisdom 

In my opening quote we are reminded that wisdom isn’t hidden from us, it is much more likely that we don’t hear it through choice. We prefer to do things our own way, to “make our own mistakes in life.” I will admit to having said “If you are going to make a mistake, make a big one; because you’ll learn a lot more a lot quicker, than if you only make small mistakes!” However, it is always worth listening to wisdom, it can save you such a lot of heartache! Listen to those who have been there and made mistakes, gain wisdom from their errors and as a result you will make less of your own mistakes.

Verse twenty-two challenges us all “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?” I didn’t know! It wasn’t my fault! I couldn’t help it! Are all the excuses of those who prefer to not to take responsibility for their own lives. As the chapter goes on, it really mocks those who choose not to listen to the wisdom that is available, wisdom that eagerly wants itself to be known. It gets worse, wisdom says that those of us who refuse to listen and later call out for it’s help will be ignored; there is an urgency we should therefore feel in seeking out wisdom, don’t you think?

“The complacency of fools, destroys them” says verse thirty two! As always those with scripture we come to words of comfort at the end of the chapter, when we are told those who “listen to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil (verse thirty-three)! It seems like this journey I am about to make through the book of Proverbs will be of some benefit to us all!

Love and light to you from Andrew 🙂 ♥

Twitter: @APSmithOnline
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Email: info@andrewpaulsmithonline.com
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