The Heart Of The Wise Acquires Knowledge

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. -Proverbs 18:15 NIV

A person walking down the wise path (the path that leads to eternal life), will have certain qualities which will mark their life. These qualities are not the things which earn a person favor with God. Those who have been placed on the wise path through salvation have certain characteristics which mark their walk. The first quality I will mention today is that those on the wise path will seek to acquire knowledge.

learning-path

Most everybody learns some things in their life. I mean, even the fool doesn’t always remain ignorant regarding subjects of their choosing. But an overarching banner over the life of the christian should be that they are a learner, they are a person who acquires knowledge. They are never content in remaining ignorant of God, nor of his world.

This principle looks differently in each and every person. Some will make great leaps, and some will take baby steps. Some will have access to millions of resources with unlimited time to learn. And some will have only have ten seconds to glance at a scrap of the scriptures. Whatever circumstance the Lord has placed you in, if you are on the wise path, you will acquire knowledge of God and his world.

Christians should be the greatest theologians. But they should also be the greatest doctors, lawyers, nurses, plumbers, veterinarians, bankers, athletes, home makers, and students on earth! What can you learn today? When you look over the past month of your life, do you see a pattern where your hearts desire was to learn? Or do you see a pattern where your heart desired to remain ignorant? Do you think you know enough? Or do you have a holy kind of restlessness because you know you don’t nearly know what you should?

Do the sign posts of your life show that you are currently on the path of the wise, or the path of the fool? Both paths have destinations. One leads to eternal life, and the other to eternal destruction. Are you really on the one you think you are on?

Tightroping Wisdom

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. -Proverbs 4:25-27

The call of God upon your life is towards wisdom. But the call towards wisdom is also a call away from foolishness. Wisdom and foolishness are opposites and cannot be both followed at the same time and in the same way.

Proverbs 4 is a call to walk the tightrope of life. We each have our own rope to cross, and will either be greatly hindered or greatly helped by one another. Each of our ropes lead in two directions. One direction is the rope of wisdom. This rope leads to eternal life in heaven. The other direction is the rope of foolishness. This rope leads to eternal death and punishment in hell. One of the problems is that the rope of foolishness often has signs that deceive and promise the destination of heaven. The other problem is that the rope of foolishness seems to get larger and more sturdy the farther it gets towards hell; whereas the rope of wisdom seems to get thinner and harder to stay on.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

Our promise here is that if we ponder the path of our feet, the Lord himself will make all our ways be sure. The rope may get harder to stay on the closer we get towards heaven. But the one who promises help is the same one who holds and steadies the rope.

Being Chained To A Fool

In our Wednesday connection class at Church, we are teaching the Desiring God curriculum called The Way Of The Wise. Their definitions for wisdom and foolishness are:

  • Wisdom is loving what is good and right, and acting upon it.
  • Foolishness is loving what is bad and wrong, and acting upon it.

Two Chains:

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants [or a chain] for your neck.” -Proverbs 1:8–9

For the female, being clothed in wisdom is like wearing a beautiful and costly necklace. For the male, it is like being clothed in a strong rope chain. Daniel was clothed in a gold chain by King Belshazzar to show the wisdom he had.

“Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” -Daniel 5:29

Being clothed in foolishness, on the other hand, is like taking a heavy chain and draping it around your neck. This chain does not show forth beauty or strength, but rather bondage and slavery. Last night in class, I brought a 10 year old boy to the front of the class and draped a 25 pound log chain around his shoulders. I asked him if he thought the chain would help him to live and move about freely in this world, or if would hinder him. He was truthful and said it would hinder him.

Foolishness is a kind of slavery. When we accept not the wisdom of God, we are enslaved to the opinions and approvals of man. When we forsake the foolish path for the wise one, we are enslaved to a different sort of Master. Being a slave of Christ is the freest we shall ever be this side of eternity.

in him [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. -Colossians 2:3

AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR LIFE

“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth —Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” -Proverbs 1:1–7

We are complicated people. Raising children is a complicated task. The book of Proverbs was given so that we might have an instruction manual for life.

The Proverbs Were Given:

  • For us to know wisdom and instruction
  • So we might understand words of insight
  • So we might have instruction for dealing wisely with people and situations
  • For us to gain righteousness, justice, and equity
  • To give prudence to the simple
  • To give knowledge and discretion to the youth
  • To increase the learning of even the wise
  • So we might obtain guidance for life
  • For us to understand other proverbs, sayings, riddles, and the words of the wise.

What an essential and important book we hold in our hands. Verse 7 tells us that the kick off of our learning and growing in wisdom is the fear of the Lord. It is the beginning of knowledge.

Being an HVAC service technician, I read quite a number of instruction manuals. Without these manuals, I find myself fumbling through the equipment and not really understand what I am doing. After I read the manual, I typically gain a deeper understanding of the unit I am servicing. I understand the principles behind the pieces, and it makes it much easier to fix the problems.

Proverbs is an instruction manual for life. We are complicated folks, and it is hard to figure out how we can be fixed without having the proper literature.

The Way Of The Wise, And The Way Of The Fool

Two weeks ago, my family; along with my parents, went on a 4 day vacation to Grand Marais. We walked along the shoreline until we came to a section of woods. The woods spread out across the entrance of the peninsula called artist point. The shoreline was smaller at this point and more dangerous as the rock ledge got higher and less wide. We decided to follow the one path through the woods to get us to our destination which was the point of the peninsula.

Once we walked for a while through the woods, the one path broke out into various different paths. My mom, who had been there before, told us we could take any path because they all led to the same destination, which was the point of the peninsula. My eldest daughter and I braved the rock ledge, and in time ended up at the point of our destination. The rest of the family took two different paths through the woods. In the end, my mom was right, each path led to the same destination.

But did they? Did all the paths lead to the same destination? Let’s pretend that the entire family was blindfolded and brought along the one path through the woods. Before we came to the point in the path where it branched off into many paths; my mom spun us around and around until we were almost dizzy. She then took off each of our blindfolds and told us we could take any path because they all led to the same destination. Is the statement still true? NO! One path split off into many paths that all led to the point of the peninsula. The other path led us back to shore. Both paths led in entirely different and opposite directions. One path led to a place where there was a city full of food, shelter, and clothing. One could spend the entirety of one’s life at Grand Marais and be quite happy. While the other path led to a rock facing a massive body of water. If a person spent the entirety of one’s life on the edge of this rock, it would be a short life because there was no shelter, and no lasting food.

The point of this illustration is that there are only two paths of life. One path, the path of wisdom, leads to eternal life. The other path, the path of foolishness, leads to eternal death.

Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

The first thing to note about this text is that Jesus is the one who is speaking. He first gives us a command: enter by the narrow gate. This is a command for you and for me. It is not an optional suggestion from our Lord (ie. if you think it would be good, then enter by the narrow gate; or if you feel like it, enter by the narrow gate), but rather an authoritative command. Enter by the narrow gate!

The other thing to note here is that there are two gates. (Ask your kids) Can anyone name me the two gates? (a narrow gate and a wide gate).

The Wide Gate:

Let’s talk first about the wide gate. I know it seems obvious, but the wide gate is big and wide. And when you have a gate that is wide, many people enter through that gate.

I work for an HVAC (heating and air conditioning company) company called Egan. I drive a big one ton white service van. At our office, the back warehouse area is locked by two gates so that no person can drive behind the building after hours. I have access 24/7 by an access card I carry in my wallet. When I drive my van up to the gate, I swipe my badge and the gate swings up by a powerful motor which moves the gate completely out of the way. The gate does not hinder my van, or any van for that matter, at all. The gate is wide. It is very easy to drive any vehicle through this gate. Multiple vehicles can even be next to each other side by side, and still get through the gate. It is easy to enter through this gate. Many people enter through this gate every day. Because Egan is a mechanical construction company, you could say that this wide, easy gate leads to construction.

Jesus tells us that this wide gate, with an easy path, leads to destruction. He tells us many people are on this path. This path is easy to get to, it is easy to find, many people are on it and so there is plenty of company. There is tons of fellowship, tons of like-mindedness, and hardly any obstacles at all. It is easy.

The Narrow Gate:

There is the wide gate, and there is also the narrow gate.

Cambridge MN is about 12 miles from our house. From time to time, our family will head off to the Menards store to pick up some things for a project or two around the house. As we walk up to the wide automatic double doors, we are all able to walk through the door at the same time. These doors are comparatively wide and easy to get through. But after we walk into the store, they have a single turnstyle gate. This gate has a three steel arms which block the way. One arm is strait, the other is low so you can’t crawl under, and the other is high. As our family comes up to the gate, only one can pass at a time. The lead person presses against the steel arm and it swings forward. As soon as the arm pushes forward, another arm immediately comes in behind so no one can pass after. If you try to follow behind the first person, you will get clucked on the top of the head. This gate is narrow. It is intended for only one person to pass at a time. If a cluster of people all press against the gate and try and pass at the same time, the gate will not let you. It is intended to be hard to get through, and allow only one person to pass at a time.

Jesus tells us the narrow gate is hard to get through. He tells us few people find the gate, and few people are walking on the path. He tells us this path is hard. And it leads not to destruction, but to life.

(Questions for the kids)

  • When Jesus tells us the wide gate leads to destruction, what does he mean? (leads to hell)
  • When Jesus tells us the narrow gate leads to life, what does he mean? (leads to heaven)
  • Which path are you on?

John 10:7–10 “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

We have been talking about two gates, with two paths, which lead to two destinations. One gate is wide, with an easy path, and many people are traveling this road that leads to hell. This is the path of foolishness.

The other gate is narrow, with a hard path, and only a few people are traveling this road that leads to heaven. This is the path of wisdom.

Where is this narrow gate, the narrow door? It is not at the Cambridge Menards right? so where is it?

Jesus tells us he is the gate. He is the door which leads to heaven. Everyone in all of the world is walking on one of two paths. One path leads to eternal life, and the other leads to eternal hell and death. One path is filled with fools who do what is right in their own eyes. One path is filled with wise people who do what is right in God’s sight. One follow their own feelings and opinions. The other follows the Words of God found in the Bible. The only way to enter the path of the wise that leads to heaven is to enter through the narrow gate of Jesus.

So what does this mean? Is Jesus a literal gate, or a literal door? NO.

Sometimes I do service work at the Anoka County Prison. When I need to gain access to the basement to work on one of their chillers, I have to pass in through the jail cell block to get to elevator which leads downstairs.

I walk up to the guard who will gain me access into the jail. There is one guard. He is the one who alone will let me through. After I see him at his post, he gives me a badge to hang off my shirt which lets them know I have signed in. I then walk alone to this solid steel door and wait. The guard is watching me on a camera. If he cannot see my badge, he will tell me over a speaker to face the camera so he can be sure it is I. He then presses some sort of button, and I hear these loud bolts disengage and the steel door is able to be opened. I walk inside and the door shuts behind me. Now I stand facing another steel door. One is before me and the other is behind me. I am absolutely stuck between two doors until the guard decides to open the next door for me. Once he does, I am inside and can do my work.

Jesus is both the gate keeper and the door. I must go to him alone to enter the path of the wise which leads to eternal life. He is the door to life, and he alone has the authority to let you enter the path. Like the badge I had to wear to gain access into the jail; he must see upon my heart the badge of his blood. I must be seen with the blood of Christ applied to my life or I will not enter.

There are only two paths of life. One leads to life eternal in heaven, this is the path of wisdom. And the other leads to eternal death and punishment in hell. This is the path of the fool. At this very moment, whether you know it or not, you are all on one of these paths. You are not on both, nor are you one some third option.

So which path a you on?

The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus loves to save fools. He loves to take folks like you and me and move us from the path of the foolish to the path of the wise. He loves it when the fool glances back at the Gate Keeper, and decides to change the direction he is traveling (repentance).

Two Paths Of Life

“And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:8–10 ESV

Two summers ago, my eldest two girls and I drove down the long dirt driveway to our neighbors house. They had made a few extra cookies and wanted to share some with our neighbors. These particular neighbors had a german shepherd named Bullet. Bullet ventured down to our home from time to time, but he never was a real problem on our land. Meeting Bullet on his turf though was something quite different.

As we drove closer to their home, Bullet came barreling towards us. I had my window all the way open, and he was ferociously barking and snarling at us. I rolled my window most of the way up and the neighbors came out of their home. I tried to yell to them that the girls had made some cookies. They looked concerned and said, DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR TRUCK! Bullet was the fiercest and maddest dog I have ever seen. This ravenous beast came upon our path and we could not pass.

There are two paths of life. One is the way of the wise, which leads to eternal life in heaven. The other is the way of the fool, which leads to eternal death in hell. One is built upon the foundational rock of Christ. The other is placed upon the shifting sand of the world. One will withstand the storms of life, while the other will crumble and fall. Two Paths:

You gain entrance to the path of life through Christ. He is the door and the gate keeper to this path. This path is also called the way of holiness. On this path, there are no ravenous beasts which can completely remove us from the path. Oh there are many things that can slow us down and hinder our progress. But we need not fear any of them. The way of holiness is protected by our King. This path has a destination of the eternal Zion. Those on this path will sing with everlasting joy and gladness!

Hearing The Words Of Jesus And Doing Them

Matthew 7:24–27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Karie and I are team leading the 3rd and 4th grade Wednesday connection class at Bethlehem this year. I am co-teaching the lessons with another teacher. The curriculum we are going through is from Desiring God Ministries. It is called The Way Of The Wise. It is mostly a study on wisdom through the book of Proverbs. The lessons show that there are two paths of life; the way of the wise, which leads to life; and the way of the fool, which leads to death.

My family doesn’t currently have any children in 3rd or 4th grade this year. So it seems good to me to take the truths of this curriculum and share them with my own kids. It also seems good to me to share these truths with you on this blog so you might learn, and then turn and share them with your own kids. I am going to create a new category on the side of this blog called The Way Of The Wise. Each lesson in the curriculum has one main point and one main text. But there are additional texts which can be brought in to give further weight to the main point. I think I am going to spend one week per lesson on this blog. I most likely won’t be posting every day, but I hope to post often enough for all of us to grow in wisdom.


Every person does one of two things when they hear the words of Jesus. They either do what he says or they do not. The person who does what Jesus says is building his life upon the rock. The person who does not do what he says is building his life upon sand. Interestingly enough, both homes look stable and solid from ground level.

It seems from the words of Jesus that only the storms of life can show forth the condition of a person’s foundation. When things are good, both houses look the same. But when the storm comes, the house on the rock stands, and the one on the sand crumbles.

The storms show forth the condition of the foundation, but by closer inspection, the homeowner’s lives should be radically different from one another. The person who’s house in built on the foundation of Christ are daily living out and doing the words of Jesus. The person who’s house is built upon sand goes to church just like the wise person. He or she even hears the words of Jesus. Yet, the foolish person never does the words of Jesus. And because he or she never does the words of Jesus; their lives crumble under the storms of life.

What is the foundation you are building your life upon? You might think you are building your foundation upon Christ because no storms have passed over your home lately. Maybe the only way for you to know without storms is to ask and answer the question for yourself: am I daily obeying the words of Christ? People who have built their life upon Christ are obedient to their Carpenter. Whereas the people who have built upon another foundation have shunned the wisdom of King Jesus.