Please note: There will be no devotional for August 2nd, 9th, and 16th due to being on vacation. Lord willing, I will return and will continue on August 23rd. God bless.
We are beginning our study of what wisdom and discretion give us from Proverbs 3:21. We find the first thing we get in Proverbs 3:22 is there will be life to our soul. As we said last week, this wisdom is a wisdom on how to function around our physical world. The life that we physically live. The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament puts it very cleanly when it says, “life is represented as the result of wisdom or of the words of the wise of righteousness.” There is life that can be lived but there is life that is really lived. Look around the world today.
So many are broken and hurting because they simply live. Their home life is worse than a wreck. Their jobs are nothing but drudgery. They are miserable with where they are and who they are. Their kids are not respectful, or out right ignore and disregard them. How do they cope? They run to everything they should not. Drugs, alcohol, possessions, materialism, power, position, prestige, wealth, sex, sexual identity, orientation, and even gender reassignments become the mode to try and make sense of and give meaning to life. At first, it brings the desired affect but as the Bible says in Hebrews 11:25, we should be very careful before thinking that will solve the issues. What begins as “freeing” soon becomes the trap itself. Each part demanding more and more of the individual until the individual, who once sought identity within the “walls” of these ideologies, finds it becomes a pit. Then, due to whatever consequences comes because of living these kinds of life pursuits, it causes more pain and misery. All of these things drive an individual to the point that life becomes a major weight and chore. There does not seem to be any relief or freedom. What do they feel they can do? Sadly, many chose to end it all.
They commit suicide.
Enter Jesus Christ. No matter where someone is on any of the things mentioned, and perhaps even things that have not been even hinted at, Jesus is the ONLY one Who can offer life (John 10:10). What is usually the first response?
“I don’t need that religion. You keep your JESUS out of the public realm and in the closet where He belongs!”
“You know, the church is just a bunch of hypocrites. Why would I go there?”
“Go to church? I live in the real world and that is all I know and trust!”
Yet go to the issues above. If the real world has to be deadened by drugs, alcohol, sex, work, education, possessions, etc., is it truly the real world? Is it really life? The very place they can get wisdom and get life is the very place they detest, attack, ridicule, and try to stamp out. Yet the message is still clear. In Jesus there is life. True life.
This life is the life that lifts the soul, gives meaning, purpose, and hope. That job no longer is a drudgery. There is purpose in the individual life and the reality they are created as they are for a purpose. The family can be rebuilt. The wish to deaden the senses now moves to a desire to have a deeper sense of meaning and purpose, and will actually find it. In fullness, and power, now the life becomes one that will be rich, deep, and full. This is what this wisdom brings.
If you are struggling with past decisions, or you are looking for the meaning of life, there is hope for you. It is in the wisdom that comes from God, your Creator (Genesis 1-2), and His son Jesus Christ.
Then we see the second part in Proverbs 3:22, grace to the neck. The picture here is that of a necklace. If I may, let me use a personal example here.
I love to see appropriate necklaces on my wife. It brings about the entirety of her clothes, how she carries herself, and who she is. It enhances her beauty, and brings all she wears to a completeness. There are other necklaces. These are the fake, costume jewelry. Somewhere in between the nice and the costume is the ones that look nice and are tasteful. I like these as well and do not mind them as much.
While I like the real and the real but more affordable, there are times when the last is worn. It does not do the same thing for me. It does not have that same striking that the high and middle level necklaces have. Are there times for this? Yes. VBS at our church is one of them. I don’t prefer her to wear these all the time and actually encourage the first two.
Grace can be like this. There is grace that is rich, grace that is nice and can be put on at times but can be not as real, and then grace that is just simply there for appearances and is cheap. The wisdom we are talking about gives the best grace. This adorns us and enhances us, making us different in the world around us. A world that is at each other’s necks and throats, ready to rip each other apart.
The word for grace is translated mostly by the words favor and grace. There is a negative attribute which means seductive, but that is only one time (Nahum 3:4). forty four times it is favor, sixteen times it is grace. This solidifies what was just said. If we are trying to have worldly wisdom from the world, the grace we carry will be cheap and fake.
But to have favor in our lives, to carry ourselves in a way that puts us out of reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 3:16, etc.). This grace can only happen in wisdom from God. How beautiful is it, when in this world of chaos, we find someone who is walking in a way that is above the fray. That is grace. Grace carries us in our business dealings, in our going in and coming out, in our conversations, and in our attitude and actions.
Does this mean we are perfect? No. Sadly, there is a bit of truth to the charge of hypocrisy in the church. The logic, of casting aside all Christianity because of a few bad examples, however, is the same as never going to any grocery store because some grocery stores have bad people working there. It does not make sense. Do not allow Satan to use that to keep us from truth, wisdom, and discretion.
This grace is what we should have and will show us as being different. If we are a Christian, we should desire to be adorned by this grace. It is the testimony to the love, mercy, and yes, grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that He gives us the ability to walk in a world that is absolutely in chaos right now.
Does this mean life will be easy? No. It does mean that we can and will be assured of God’s presence with us as we deal with the chaos of the world. This grace also gives us wisdom to see things deeper and more clearly. This is a blessing to know how we are to carry ourselves. Therefore, get sound wisdom and discretion (Proverbs 3:21). It can only be found in Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God.