The Application of Wisdom: Character (Part 1)

Notes on Proverbs

As one learns to accept the wisdom that comes from above, the result will be a change of character. As we consider some of the character traits that one will gain from a pursuit of wisdom, let us first begin by contrasting them with the negative character traits of one who rejects divine wisdom. Below is a list the wise man gives of seven abominations.
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If Your Brother Sins Against You (10/22)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Matthew 18.

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17).

The New King James Version starts with the phrase, “If your brother sins against you.” Though the New American Standard Bible (quoted above) does not contain a similar phrase, the context certainly implies that private sins that one brother commits against another are the type of sins under consideration. Others were not aware of the sin until after the guilty brother had been approached by the brother whom he had sinned against.
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A House Divided Against Itself (10/13)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Matthew 12:22-50; Luke 11.

When Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, the Pharisees rejected this as proof of Jesus being the Son of God. Instead, they accused Him of doing this by the power of Beelzebul.

But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’ And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?‘ (Matthew 11:24-26).

As He addressed their absurd charge, Jesus stressed the importance of unity. It was His prayer that His disciples be united with one another (John 17:20-21). However, the Scriptures teach that this unity certainly had limits placed upon it by the Lord. It was not the “unity in diversity” that many today like to practice.
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The Desire for Unity (5/2)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Psalm 133.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever” (Psalm 133:1-3).

Unity among God’s people is something we should all desire. In this short psalm, David makes two comparisons to illustrate why unity is good and pleasant.
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What is Truth?

Truth, newspaper

What is truth?” This was the question Pilate asked Jesus after hearing the Lord’s claim that He came to testify to the truth (John 18:36-37). When we think about truth, we must understand two things: (1) it is unchanging and (2) it is the same message for all. The word of God is truth (John 17:17). His word does not change (1 Peter 1:25) and is to be preached to all people everywhere (Mark 16:15).

Many have the idea that there can be many truths – you may have your own truth, and I may have mine. This is not what the Bible teaches. The same message of truth is for all. The differences come from our perception of the truth. These perceptions can be very different, despite a common message.

In the minds of man, truth can have various characteristics. Let us consider the conflicting characteristics of truth depending on the perspective of the hearer.
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Keywords in the Prophecy of the Coming Kingdom

Matterhorn mountain

Isaiah prophesied of a kingdom that was to come “in the last days” – the age that was ushered in following the coming of Christ into the world (cf. Hebrews 1:2). There are several keywords in this prophecy that we must understand if we are to appreciate what the passage teaches.

Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all nations will stream to it.

And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

Let us briefly consider each of these key terms:
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Rejoice in the Lord Always

Rejoice

Writing from prison, Paul told the brethren in Philippi, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). This instruction was so important that Paul repeated it. He also gave a similar command to the church in Thessalonica when he wrote, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Whenever we see a command like this, we ought to take note of it. We do not have the option to either rejoice or not rejoice depending on our circumstances. We are to “rejoice always.” The reason why this command must be given is because it is sometimes difficult or unnatural to rejoice in certain circumstances. Our lives here are filled with trials. Job lamented, “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1). The wise man noted the difficult nature of our existence here: “Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest” (Ecclesiastes 2:23). It is sometimes difficult to rejoice. But as Christians we must do so.
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