WITH ALL THY GETTING Andy Hollifield 1-3-18
Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Wisdom—-the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action, discernment, or insight.
Principal—-first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost.
Today is day 3 and everyone is on their second day of work in the new year if not their third. We are off and running. The red kettles and bells have long since disappeared for another year. Most folks have no more scheduled time off until Easter. Maybe it is because it is cold and gray and no signs of life in nature, but it has always seemed to me that the first 3 months of the year were always the most boring and monotonous. With nothing major to distract us for the next 3 months it would be a good time to take a look at ourselves and work on drawing closer to God and seeking his will for our lives. I don’t mean to come across as all touchy-feely or nothing but we can all use a little tune-up from the Lord. I know I can especially after some of the carnal situations of the last month. You know, all of those things we worry ourselves with before Christmas and create our own stress about and then can’t believe why are stressed out all the time. Between our self-inflicted stress and the stress that comes from waiting in lines, especially in traffic, and some of the stupid things people do while driving, I kind of need to submerge myself in the word and get back to keeping the main thing the main thing.
I probably think too much about things sometimes, which wasn’t the case when I was younger, but I give a lot of thought each year around Christmas time to just what makes everyone tick. I have found that instead of trying to evaluate others, I am far better off when I evaluate myself. I have made my New Years resolution which is the same as last year which I did keep successfully: I made a resolution not to make any resolutions. Anything that I am determined to do, I can accomplish without making a promise to myself and if I have to talk myself into it I am probably not really going to do it anyway.
I don’t really know why, but Proverbs 4:7 was what came to mind when I was trying to decide what to write about. If you back up to the beginning of Chapter 4 you will find that by the time you reach verse 7 it is already the third time that the words “wisdom” and “understanding” have been used. Although the word “wisdom” is used only once more (verse 11) in the chapter, the whole chapter is about wisdom. I have always considered wisdom to be the ability to put the knowledge you have acquired into use while considering and understanding the results that it will bring. While I think that is a pretty good definition that is not to say that I have always put it into practice.
Probably the most famous story in the bible about wisdom is the story of Solomon, two harlots, and one baby (1 Kings 3:16-28). In chapter 4 verse 29 to the end of the chapter, we read about how the wisdom of Solomon spread to all nations because he was wiser than all men. Earlier in chapter 3 we read that Solomon was already a godly man and had gone to Gibeon to sacrifice when the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him “Ask what I shall give thee.” It was then that because Solomon only asked for an understanding heart to judge the Lord’s people that he not only granted that request but also gave him riches and honor. It seems pretty evident that Solomon already had some wisdom because he realized that he did not have the understanding to rightly judge.
That brings me to the question on my mind: Do I have an understanding heart to rightly judge? Some may be thinking that we aren’t supposed to judge but we judge all the time and use wisdom and understanding. For example, if you switch jobs; do you just go to another job and start work or do you have the wisdom to ask about the benefits before you take the job? You have to judge whether or not it is right for you. If we use that kind of wise and understanding judgment for secular things, how much more should we use wisdom and understanding in the things of the Lord? How often do we pass judgment on someone we see on the street without even knowing them much less having any understanding of how they wound up where they are? I have ran across situations in my ministry where God gave me understanding about situations before I even knew what the details were. For example, I was going on visitation one night years ago with a gentleman from my church. I was just a young preacher and didn’t know anything and this man tried to lead me in a conversation to agree with him that he could serve as a deacon even though he had been married at least once before. I just stood firm on what I believe and gave him the scripture to back it up. I didn’t pick up on what was going on until I was on my way home that night. It was then that the Lord showed me what a problem was almost created in my ministry had he not given me understanding and wisdom to stand on the scriptures. But it’s not even always that complex.
Solomon quickly learned in 1 Kings 3 the necessity of having understanding of a situation even when you may not have knowledge of the facts. There are times that we may never know why a situation or conversation even came up. There are other times we may find out but maybe not until years later. There was also a time in my ministry when I had a disagreement with someone in my family because what they were doing went against bible teaching and it directly affected me. When I asked them about it and stated my position, they got mad to the point of not even hardly speaking. That went on for a few months until a time came that a family member wound up in the hospital and I went to visit just as soon as I could get there. I don’t know till this day what happened but after that, it was like there had never been a problem between us. That was another situation that God gave me understanding and wisdom to see the situation for what it was and make a scriptural stand.
Solomon said that the principal or main thing, was to get wisdom. Then he went on to say that we need to get understanding with it. Do you think that Jesus had an understanding of the situation of the people that he healed? I guarantee you he did. He even done it on a number of occasions on the sabbath day all the while understanding that the scribes and pharisees would find a problem with it. Even with that understanding of the trouble it would cause, he also had the wisdom to know that there might not be another opportunity for that person to be healed and God to be glorified. It is good to have knowledge especially about scripture. But if you don’t have wisdom and understanding to know how to use it, it can do more harm than good. If you browbeat a sinner and tell him how that God hates sin and give him scripture for it, while that may be true and the scripture is always true, you can drive someone away from the Lord if you don’t use it properly. For example; a drunk don’t need us to tell him he is a drunk, he knows it already. What he does need is for us to tell him how not to be one and make him aware that God will save him just as he is. I hope this has been a blessing and encouragement to you. “With all thy getting; get understanding.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!