Scripture Reading: Proverbs 13 ...
Almost everything you know that has real value was learned by listening to someone. While there may be some things you can learn on your own, spiritual wisdom is not one of them. The human mind, in and of itself, is hopelessly limited in understanding spiritual things. Unless God had revealed Himself, we would never have known Him at all. The proof of that is seen in all the religions of the world. People are always seeking, "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). People who THINK they know everything often know very little because they refuse to learn from anyone, especially from God!
When it comes to families, Solomon writes, "A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke" (13:1). Those who refuse to listen to the instruction of those who care about them reveal their ignorance. Whether you are young or old, if you don't listen to wise counsel you prove yourself to be a fool. We have read II Timothy 3:16-17 before, that God's Word "is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." It is extremely sad that people without the Spirit of God search so desperately for truth, for meaning, for purpose in life, and miss the wonderful message of hope and joy and peace that is found in the Bible. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost! And it begins with listening!! We all need instruction and the best instruction is found in God’s Word.
Throughout Proverbs 13, Solomon speaks of the importance of gaining wisdom from listening to the right people. "Wisdom is found in those who take advice" (13:10). "He who scorns instruction will pay for it" (13:13). "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored" (13:18). How well do you listen to others ... and to whom do you listen? "The teaching of the WISE is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death" (13:14). You may be born with intelligence, but wisdom is acquired ... and it is acquired by listening to those who are listening to God speak through His Word, and who can help you to understand it. God’s Word speaks truth that cannot be found anywhere else because it comes with the authority of God Himself!
And on the other side of listening is speaking ... As important as listening is, speaking is also vital to our testimony for Christ. If you are going to make God known, you first need to listen, to learn, to grow, to mature, and then be able and willing to speak, as God equips you and empowers you. Too many people who have learned the truth never share it ... never speak to another human being about the God they are trusting with their LIFE or of the Savior who died for their sin. We talk about everything else, why not about the truth of our spiritual existence?! If you don't think you know enough, study, learn and listen to those whom God has sent to teach you. No one can say they do not need instruction, no matter how old you are or how much you have studied the Bible. The wise person seeks instruction!
Some people seem to have a negative view of the church because they want to believe whatever they want, but these have forgotten that the Church is called to TEACH. The true Church is more than a social club! Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me, therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, TEACHING them to obey all that I have commanded you ..." (Matthew 28:18-20). If you are part of the Church, if you "go to church," are you going to learn? Are you listening to those who are wise because THEY have learned? God’s Word is spiritual food that leads to spiritual maturity.
Solomon says, "From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things ... He who guards his lips guards his life" (13:2-3). James talks about "taming the tongue" (James 3:1-12), and then speaks of wisdom. The connection between wisdom and speaking is found in a person's attitude. Those who are wise understand that humility leads to the understanding that no matter how wise you may become in this life ... no matter how much you have to say ... unless you are willing to keep learning, you are a fool. And unless you have the Spirit of God in you and learn to speak in love, you will be ineffective in your witness for the Lord. The reason to read through the Bible is not to get to the end of the year and say you have done it, but rather, to gain wisdom so you can teach others and share with them what God has taught you. The Holy Spirit speaks through God's Word, yet we cannot and will not ever know all that God has revealed. We need instruction! Those who are wise are never afraid to answer a question with, "I don't know!" ... and then go to God's Word and pray for wisdom and understanding.
As Solomon speaks of "wealth" in Proverbs 13, it is not only monetary or material wealth that he is speaking of. Material wealth can buy you certain things in this world, but it only goes so far. Spiritual wealth is like LIGHT! "The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out" (13:9). What good does it do to have worldly wisdom and worldly wealth and not know the Lord or the way of eternal life?? As Jesus spoke in parables He said that some had been given "ears to hear" and as He speaks to the churches in Revelation 2-3, He says, "He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." The same is true today ... may God give YOU ears to hear His voice as you read through His Word, that you may gain wisdom from HIM!! And may He surround you with wise people who have listened and learned and who now speak God's truth.
Wisdom comes from listening to those who are wise ... find some wise people and LISTEN, and you will become wise yourself!
"Our Father in heaven, it is Your wisdom that I seek. Apart from Your Word and Spirit there is no wisdom to be found. As Solomon himself asked for wisdom from You, so Lord I ask for true wisdom, that I may continually share with others the truth that leads them to come to You through faith in Your Son Jesus Christ. I thank You, Father, for the gift of spiritual wisdom that could only come from You and I vow to use whatever wisdom You may give to glorify YOU, in Jesus' name, Amen"