fire insurance // wisdom

i could just stay in Proverbs forever.  Amen?

i find instruction and encouragement all through God's word, but there is no question that this one book can bring me to my knees in conviction and repentance.  this is a place that i need to be at least once a day because i am certain to falter in the matter of a morning.

"fire insurance" seems appropriate a name for this series when i think of how quickly i fall into the devil's snares after forgetting to follow God's instruction.  pride, greed, envy, anger, bitterness, discontent and shame are just the first few ways i am distracted and destroyed.  can you relate?

amazingly, there are bits of instruction to keep us on track that we so often miss when we are busy being human.  this series will work to break those bits into four main categories and serve to keep you on track towards avoiding any burns.

today, we begin with wisdom

with seeming appropriateness, i want to talk about King Solomon for a bit.  appropriate mostly because he is credited for composing a portion (if not all) of the Book of Proverbs, but also appropriate because he is so well-known for his highly mature prayer for wisdom during his reign as king.  1 Kings 3 tells the entire story.

1 Kings 3:7b-9 lays out Solomon's prayer:
"But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

this prayer came on the heels of a divine dream given to Solomon by God in which He tells Solomon to "ask for whatever you want me to give you."  where many would wish for fortune, wealth and long life, Solomon simply praised the Lord and asked Him for continued guidance in the form of wisdom.

the Jewish Encyclopedia goes into great length about the reign of Solomon and it was here that I found detailed mention of Solomon's age.  he is marked to have begun his reign somewhere between twelve and fourteen; carrying on for forty years as the third king of Israel.  he was David's second son with Bathsheba and his own name means "peaceful."  

some of the Rabbis who have studied and recorded the life of Solomon comment:
Solomon is particularly extolled [by the Rabbis] for having asked in his dream nothing besides wisdom, which they declare served him as a shield against sinful thoughts.

a shield against sinful thoughts.

not actions.  not words.  not even feelings or responses.. but thoughts

i don't know about you but my thoughts run wild most days.  i'm faithful, but i'm human, and it's always that one ingredient that sours the whole batch of prayer for the day.  i can cry out to God with a repentant heart but my thoughts are still chiming in under my breath saying "i want what i want, and i want it now."  

it just doesn't get more "unwise" than that.

as i pray over the kind of wife, mother, friend, family member and believer i want to be, i always find conviction when i reach scriptures about wisdom.  wisdom is the key to not only submitting to God but also responsibly wielding the blessings He bestows upon us.  possessing wisdom is knowing when to speak, when to act, when to wait and when to let go and let God.  

and asking for wisdom is the shield against sinful thoughts.

we all know the devil is nipping at our heels, daily, and just waiting to find us in a weak moment so he can attempt to catch us in his trap and begin to wreak havoc on our minds.  but as we take up our God-given voice and use it to boldly lay down our pride and ask for wisdom, the devil is halted in his tracks.  he cannot get to our mind when it is guarded by God's wisdom.  

finally.. (and this is the part i struggle with).. asking for wisdom does not mean we wake up a wise woman one day.  it means we are given the opportunity, over and over again, to make choices that expose the current state of our pride, and encourage us to act differently the next time, if need be.  how we respond to daily struggles will reveal whether we are growing in our wisdom or sinking in our pride.  most days, i find i need a life-vest, still...

here are just a few passages from Proverbs that speak on wisdom.  

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, 
but fools despise wisdom and discipline. 

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

When words are many, sin is not absent, 
but he who holds his tongue is wise.

care to share your favorite Proverbs on wisdom in the comments?  

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