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News for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
March 9: Learn Wisdom's Benefits
By Aubrey Hay
retired, TBC staff

Focal Passage: Proverbs 1:33 – 3:8

In this lesson on wisdom’s benefits we consider what the results are of living wisely. Think about the wisest thing you have ever done. In all probability it will be the time you made God the center of your life. This surely was my wisest choice.

These verses are formed as a conditional response. If you follow the Lord’s instruction faithfully, you will experience security and safety. If one seeks wisdom (the wisest choice) these blessings will follow. It is important to understand the promise of God’s protection, “He is a shield for those who live with integrity,” means living in God’s will gives assurance of His protection.

My father was not formally educated, but he was wise in many ways. A maxim he repeated over the years was, “Son it pays to do right.” I was an adult before I learned the meaning of these words. Doing right is the result of Godly living and that act is the reward. It is another way of saying that nothing good comes from doing wrong, and conversely doing good is good in itself. Doing right is the high point of living wisely. God’s law and teaching are inherently good. So the wise person will seek relentlessly the knowledge and wisdom that comes from Him.

One of my teachers always opened his classes with 15 minutes of focused prayer. We were led to select a descriptive word of our Christian journey. Then in the silence we spent the time in focusing on what the word meant. Two words, always my selection, were grace and trust. I chose grace because I look upon God’s action in my life as a gift. He gave His only Son. Trust was and is, my part. That is why the verses from chapter three are so meaningful.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will guide you on the right path” (3:4-5 HSB). It is the cause and effect of the believer’s life. Trust is our action and as a result, God will direct our way (cf. Philippians 2:12-13). If we trust and follow His will God will direct us on our journey of life, for we are working with Him. That is surely a benefit of wisdom.

The call to trust in the Lord describes the proper relationship. It is the Lord we must trust and not our own wisdom. The danger of single- minded pursuit of God may cause one to become a spiritual elitist, but not if the relationship is kept in order. Solomon warns against considering oneself wise, and instructs us to fear God and to shun evil. Further benefits are: the ability to resist temptation to follow the wrong voices, the understanding of righteousness and justice, and wholeness of life.

In the final verses of this lesson are instructions to develop right relationships, which is still the most challenging task we face. True wisdom is not just a state of mind, it is the formation of our character. Interaction with those in and outside the church is as much of a witness as walking the streets with tracts. Often the criticism of the church by those outside the church is our failure to develop right relationships. Church disagreements are expected, but disagreements must be handled with wisdom. Loyalty and faithfulness are the core of relationships and they are almost always absent in church fights as is Godly wisdom. Everybody can’t be right. It is of utmost importance that God be right. The recognition of that fact is the heart of wisdom.

— Hay lives in Dyersburg where he has served as an intentional/interim pastor since his retirement from the Executive Board staff of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

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