Wisdom Greater Than The Worlds
One year for Christmas a little boy asked his parents for a drum. They tried to convince him to ask for other gifts, quieter gifts like cars or balls but he would not be persuaded; he wanted a drum. So on Christmas morning under the tree wrapped in pretty paper was a single drum. The little boy was ecstatic and immediately began to drum. Day after day that small boy played his drum and and loved every moment of it. But not everyone was as impressed with his drumming ability. One of the neighbors told the boy if he continued to make so much noise he would hurt his ears, yet the little boy continued to drum on.
The boys aunt told him that a drum was a special instrument and should only be played on special occasions. Yet little boy thought every occasion was a special occasion and drummed on.
Several people offered to buy the drum from the boy, they offered him money, toys, and candy. But the little boy said the drum was not for sale and drummed on.
Eventually the boy’s grandfather visited their family and the little boy was so excited to serenade his grandfather with his drum. After 10 minutes the grandfather went out to the garage, followed by the little boy. The grandfather sat down and smiled at the boy. He said, son that is a beautiful instrument, but I was wondering if you knew why your drum makes such beautiful noise. The little boy replied that he had no idea. So the grandfather handed the child a hammer and chisel and said Why don’t you find out?
That man posses the essence of wisdom. Over the past few weeks we have been looking at finding a wisdom greater than the worlds. I am thankful that Solomon not only knew the value of wisdom, but he was willing to share his wisdom with us. You might remember a few weeks ago we noticed what he wrote in Proverbs 3, Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding; for her benefit is more profitable than silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire are not to be compared with her.
Over the past 12 weeks I have tried to impress on you the fact that knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. If you want to measure a person's knowledge, you give them a test. If they score 80 or above, they have a lot of knowledge. If they score below 50, there's not much knowledge there. But determining the measure of a person's wisdom is much more difficult. You have to look at how they live and the decisions they make. James Draper wrote that, Wisdom is the skill to live in a way that is pleasing to God. It is not simply information in our heads. It is information that we put to use where we live, where we work, and where we play.
We have noticed that true wisdom is the ability to respond to anger in an appropriate way. Wisdom is the ability to hold our tongue, and laugh, and share, and take advice, and make sure that God is truly the most important person and thing in our life.
Wisdom is not something that you will stumble into by accident, it’s something we pursue and search for. It requires an attitude that says, I want to learn from God how to live, and I want to apply those principles to my life.
Solomon has said time and time again that there are two types of people in this world, fools and the wise. Today as we close out this series on wisdom we are going to look at one more distinction between the foolish and the wise. Let me share a few different translations of the text, the first one is from the Passion Translation: Even the face of a wise man shows his intelligence. But the wandering eyes of a fool will look for wisdom everywhere except right in front of his nose. (Proverbs 17:24) and from Eugene Peterson’s translation the Message: The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here.
Solomon is pretty plain, people who are wise have a powerful future waiting for them because they keep their eyes on wisdom. But the fool has his eyes on something else… his eyes are everywhere else. This morning I want us to explore the difference between the two, and see how we can avoid becoming like the foolish man by getting the best God wants to give us.
First I want you to notice that The Fool is always looking for the next best thing
Do you know people like this? People who never finish anything because something else has grabbed their attention. I guess in all the verses that Solomon uses to contrast a fool and the wise; this one intrigues me because I can visualize this guy; actually I have been this guy.
Growing up on a military base you have a tendency to miss an awful lot, or so my parents thought. So every summer my mom and dad thought it would be a great idea to take us back to my grandparents farms so we could learn the value of hard work. We would spend the days picking up hay and working in the gardens. Now you probably wouldn’t think so, but I was a bit hyper active as a child. (I know big revelation right?) And to be honest I could always pick beans better with my fork than off the vine. But it was important for my parents to teach me where food actually came from so every summer we left the suburbs and went to the farm.
Every morning started with a big breakfast and then we would head out to the garden to pick some vegetables. Tomatoes and squash were pretty easy to pick, corn was also easy but itchy. The one thing I struggled to pick was the beans. If you have picked beans you know that you start on one end and pick every bean off a bush and move to the next bush. You do this again and again until you get to the end of the row and then you start on the next row. But like I said I was not a good bean picker and as a 7 year old I had a different method.
I would pick a bean here and then see another one three bushes down and go pick that one. Then I would see another bean on the next bush and pick that one. Then I saw one I missed four bushes back so I would have to go back and get that one. This would happen again and again and again all up and down my row. My grandparents could fill 10 buckets in the time it took me to fill one. My eyes were always wandering looking for the easiest bean to find.
Solomon would say that my bean picking skills would be the perfect example of a fool. The fool is always looking for the easiest bean in the garden. He’s always wants a short cut, trying to find the easiest way to get ahead in his life.
The fool invests in the future by buying lottery tickets.
The fool surrounds themselves with acquaintances because building deep relationships takes too much effort.
The fool can’t keep a job because no job is good enough.
The fool always has a rainbow waiting for them over the next hill. Their eyes wander constantly to the ends of the earth. They are constantly comparing: themselves, their families, their jobs, and their potential to something else or to someone else and they are never satisfied.
Like the little boy who hurried from bush to bush in the bean field the fool is constantly running from one great thing to the next. They are always hoping that the next big thing will bring them health, wealth, and happiness. They never finish anything and at the end of the day they end up having done less with their lives than they could have.
Solomon says by contrast, the wise man has three advantages over the fool. First we see that the wise are focused.
Those who are wise are not running all over the place looking for an easy way to live his life. They realize that the only lasting success in life comes by sticking to the task at hand. Rubel Shelly once wrote that: You can’t build a championship team in a day. No single sales meeting can transform a company into a success. No weekend marriage or parenting seminar can completely heal a struggling family. There is not a single sermon that will ever help set a church right or remove its troubles.
The wise understand that you can’t be successful in life by looking for easy fixes. The greatest achievements are only accomplished with consistent, focused effort. And that was what the wise man does; he focuses on achieving one central objective, wisdom.
You may remember the great story found in 1 Kings 3. Solomon was the new King of God’s people and one night God approaches him and says that He will grand his heart’s desire. Look with me at the story in 1 Kings 3 starting in verse 5 (Read Text)
Solomon understood that wisdom gave him an advantage in life. It gave him an edge. And it was that advantage that gave him his wealth and power and position.
Too many people believe that if they only had power, wealth, influence, they’d be happy. And so they struggle and strain to gain those things, but they don’t have the wisdom to know what they have right now. And so they are never satisfied with what they have.
The second advantage of the wise is that he knows where to look for wisdom.
Solomon asked God for wisdom because he understood that wisdom comes from God. James 1:5 says If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it. If you want wisdom go to God. But for some reason God has become our last resort. Instead of approaching God, we choose to look everywhere else for knowledge and information. I mean that’s why we have google. But we have forgotten that knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. Having 100 facts does not make you wise, it makes you boring at a party. And what we call human wisdom sounds good, but have you ever noticed how our wise sayings seem to be one big contradiction? This is what I mean:
Look before you leap… but he who hesitates is lost.
Many hands make light work… but too many cooks spoil the broth.
Clothes make the man… but we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained… but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again... but don’t beat a dead horse
If you lie down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas... but if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Our wisdom is limited by what we can see and experience. We are like the man wanting to see as far as he can so he climbs a high mountain. But no matter how high the mountain he can still only see so far. We are always limited by our own eyesight and the edge of the horizon.
But the wisdom of God comes from what God can see and understand. There are no limits to His vision, no boundaries to what He can see. When we look to God for wisdom in our lives we’re not only better off than the fool, we’re better off than anyone else because we have an advantage others don’t have. We have access to the Wisdom of God in our lives.
Finally the wise are willing to do what God requires.
Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount with a great little story about two builders. One man built his house on the sand and the other built his house on bedrock. Jesus said that each house was faced with a storm where the winds blew and the rains fell. But the foolish man’s house collapsed while the wise man’s house stood firm.
Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount by explaining why the wise man’s house was able to withstand the storm. He says “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand But, "… everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
True wisdom is achieved when we not only know what do, but we do what we know is right. Wisdom that is greater than the world’s wisdom, allows us to live a victorious life. Wisdom means that we know how to be successful in life.
We have to know God, to have real wisdom. Our search for wisdom is really a search for God. We are constantly searching for God, and thankfully He makes Himself available to be found.
Today you have the opportunity to make a very wise decision. You can come to know God in a personal way. You can act on your belief that His Son Jesus came and died for your sins and allow Him to be the Lord of your life. You can have your sins forgiven and your soul cleansed.