9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
Proverbs 4:8-9 (NIV) 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.
Proverbs 4:8-9 (NLT) 8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Prize her - סַלְסְלֶ֥הָ (salal, sal·sə·le·hā) - Verb - Piel - Imperative - masculine singular | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5549: To mound up, to exalt, to oppose
The radical meaning of salal seems to be "to heap up," as a road is prepared by embankments so that it is level.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
you embrace her - תְחַבְּקֶֽנָּה׃ (chabaq, ṯə·ḥab·bə·qen·nāh)- Verb - Piel - Imperfect - second person masculine singular | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2263: To clasp, embrace
Embrace in a loving and affectionate manner, as a husband does his wife, or a son his mother.
There are two action words for us:
Exalt, cherish, prize
The rewards are:
Promote, exalt, make you great
A crown of glory, an ornament of grace for the head
Godly wisdom is something to be prized, seen as valuable and a constant watch should be on it to make sure you are still in balance and level. God is in the balance. How many of you know of people who get way out on a limb and into extremism of some sort? They may start on the right path but end up going down some rabbit trail into strange things and they get out of balance and out of plumb. Before they know it they are involved in some cult or destructive doctrines that aren't biblical. We want to add to our knowledge but we don't want to fall into heresy.
What is heresy? Heresy - an opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system; any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.
One question that occurs to everyone is how do we know the Bible is the Word of God? How do we know it has no errors, no misinterpretations, no human stain or human opinion mixed in? You are not the first to ask this question and God has given understanding and wisdom in answering that question. But you have to do some research and learn some history. You also have to do it from a place of belief. You see, faith has to be involved or the Holy Spirit will keep His secrets. I began my spiritual journey by faith in Jesus Christ and, by faith, I accepted His Word as true and inerrant (no errors). Since then, the Holy Spirit has been training and teaching me and the more I learn, the more I find the Bible utterly trustworthy. But it begins with faith.
We know there are many archaeologists who specialize in the ancient times of the Bible. They know the Bible backwards and forwards like they know other books from ancient times. They study the land, the peoples, the culture, the political systems and they go looking for the Ark, King David's palace, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, etc. But they don't necessarily do it from a standpoint of faith in God and in His inerrant Word. They do it because it interested them and became their area of expertise. They want to be the first who finds evidence of King David, or of Jesus' tomb, or of Apostle Paul's jail. But, in God's eyes, all of that is worthless if it doesn't bring them to faith in Jesus Christ as His Son and the Savior. They have knowledge with no faith. They have their minds governed by the flesh and are naturally hostile to God.
Romans 8:5-10 (NIV) 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Psalm 147:1-11 1 Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6 The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Fear does not mean abject terror but means to reverence and hold in awe. In Psalm 147 (above) the verses above talk about how wonderfully merciful God is in taking care of those who are His precious children. He provides for them, takes care of them and delights in them. How can we not love, worship, reverence and stand in awe of such a God. The One who created and named the stars loves me!!!
So, we start with faith and then you can begin learning the history of the Bible and how it came to be the Bible we know today. Once you have faith, learn the history of the Bible, read the Bible for yourself... you have a foundation on which to begin studying on the questions you have. As I've mentioned in earlier lessons on Proverbs, there are many ways to study and you have all the time God gives you on this earth to learn. Take advantage of it! I have some blog posts that might help HERE.
To get back to studying godly wisdom, be sure you stay in balance and levelheaded. There are reasons why denominations have their "doctrines".
Doctrine - is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings, instructions, taught principles or positions on matters; beliefs that a religious organization find are essential and non-negotiable.
For instance, for a Christian religion, a non-negotiable doctrine is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and it is through Him only that we can be saved. We are not saved without faith in that doctrine. Another is baptism. Different denominations may believe in dunking versus sprinkling, baptizing babies versus baptizing a person old enough to consent to salvation through Jesus Christ, but we all believe in baptism. Some of these differences are important enough that different denominations have been established around them but they are still Christian churches because they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior. I happen to believe that baptism of a person who is old enough to have come to personal faith and belief in Jesus Christ therefore should be baptized in front of witnesses by dunking. So I would not join a denomination that practises a sprinkling baptism of babies. There are people who were sprinkled as babies but then try to join a Baptist church knowing that their doctrine is one of baptism by dunking and that only when they are old enough to make their own choice of faith in Jesus. Knowing the doctrine of a Baptist church, they still think they can join without being baptized because they were sprinkled as a baby. When confronted with the Baptist doctrine they try to push their way past them and force the church into a crisis when all they had to do was go down the street to the Methodist church and join there. That's deliberately causing division for no reason.
The reason for a set of doctrines is because people are people. They are each one different, unique and come from various backgrounds and therefore we can talk ourselves into believing in anything. You know people who believe in ghosts, Native American spirits, humanism, a monkey god, an elephant god, a multiarmed god, Buddha, fairies, Muhammed, etc. Even people who refuse to acknowledge any god (atheists) worship No-God. They are vehement in their religion of No-God and will argue the live-long day in the existence of No-God. So it is essential to have a defining set of beliefs called doctrines that we can rely on to help us stay balanced and within good boundaries and parameters or we can all go off into wild imaginings. We were naturally built for worship and if we aren't directing our worship to the only true God, then we will worship something, or somebody else.
Before joining a church, ask about their beliefs and doctrines. Make sure they coincide with what is accepted by the Christian churches. You want a church that believes Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, is the Son of God, was sinless, was crucified and raised again and ascended into Heaven. You want a church who believes the Holy Bible is the Word of God and inerrant. You want a church who believes in the basic sacraments of baptism, communion, marriage. You want a church that teaches love and service to others but not acceptance of sin as anything but sin. Sin is sin according to the Bible and therefore is something to repent of and guard against, not accept as a lifestyle and celebrated or promoted.
Today, it's very easy to check on a denomination, or church's beliefs and doctrines. Google it. Most churches have a website and they should have a list of their beliefs and doctrines on their website. Otherwise, ask the pastor for a written list of beliefs and doctrines. If they don't want to provide it, there's your sign. Walk away.
But, even with the basic building blocks of doctrines, human beings being human beings, a pastor or leadership within the church, can get off balance and need correction. If they aren't willing to correct, it may be time to walk away. This is tricky and delicate. You must walk the beam of balance again. You don't want to gossip and backstab the pastor. You don't want to cause unnecessary division. You don't want your pride to get in the way. You can carefully try a way of correction and mediation. But if that doesn't work, you go your way and find another church. Thank God, in America, we usually have plenty to choose from.
Don't assume you know everything and there is nothing to be learned from the Bible, both Old and New Testament. I don't care if you are just starting out or if you have a PhD in Bible, you will find you learn something every time you plumb it's depths. That's because it is the living Word of God. It is not a dry, dusty old tome. It is sharp, current, living and able to change your life! Ask the Holy Spirit to open up your spiritual eyes and ears and to take the Word and apply it to your heart and change your life. I.e. prepare yourself for the truths you will learn by asking the Holy Spirit to open up the Word to you.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we continually thank God that in receiving the word of God from us, you did not accept it as the word of men, but as the true word of God--the word now at work in you who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NLT) 18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” (Isaiah 29:14)
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
Worldly "wisdom" is knowledge without God and what good is it? It doesn't save a soul, not one. True wisdom is godly wisdom. It begins and ends with God. "God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ has made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin". Hallelujah!!!
Worldy "wisdom" may build an empire, find a cure for a disease, send men to the moon... but how far does that go when you face eternity? It doesn't save you!
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, is running for President as a Democrat. He said it’s his work for more gun control — along with his anti-smoking and healthy eating campaigns — that have won him God’s favor and a place in Heaven. New York Times quotes him as saying: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
This man really thinks he can ban styrofoam cups, supersized drinks and pass laws infringing on the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens to own guns to protect themselves and he's going to Heaven. According to his own words, "if there is a God", he's not going to Heaven no matter what good he thinks he is doing. May Bloomberg know and accept Jesus Christ before he dies! The only way to Heaven is believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and His work on the cross will save you from God's judgement. It is by faith and not by works. We can't be good enough to get into Heaven. We are born in sin and we sin, therefore all our "righteousness" is but filthy rags. We have to have a Savior and that is Jesus Christ. THIS is true wisdom.
Wisdom has to be God-centered or it is nothing but folly. So many schools, colleges and universities were started by Christians and tried to have God as the center of wisdom. But as our society has steadily, and with malice aforethought, deleted God from public life in America, our schools have been wiped clean of God and godly wisdom. And we are seeing a terrible result! One by one, schools, colleges and universities have not only become secularized but have become hostile to God, turning out students who know nothing about God, His Word or His wisdom and who hate anything "Christian"! They aren't just deleting God, but preaching hate for God in these institutions of higher learning. These college educated adults are coming out nearly illiterate, burdened with college debts, and brainwashed with liberal ideologies. And it's all for nothing. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars spent on higher education by a student who comes out not knowing how to think for themselves, not able to get a job, not able to function in the real world (snowflakes), and not going to Heaven. What's the point? It's folly! It's a waste of time and money.
Mark 8:36-37 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?
- Did you come to the Bible with belief? Faith? Or as a scenic? Trying to disprove?
- People have come to the Bible in disbelief but the study of the Word, in order to disprove it, changed their minds entirely and they became believers. But many have also read and studied the Word without conversion. They remain unbelievers. Why do you think that is?
- The Holy Spirit will present the gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, to every man but not every man accepts it. Many reject Jesus Christ. So it isn't surprising that some come to faith by reading the Word, but others do not. But woe to those who know the Bible, who have read the very Word of God, have had the Holy Spirit drawing them, but they still refuse Him who would save them! Having every advantage and chance but to still reject Jesus Christ is a scary thought! Have you trust and rest in your belief in Jesus?
- Have you trusted in the work of Christ or in your own good works?
For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.