Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge,
God's call to wisdom is a call to consider and live by excellent things - to live a life of the highest order. Some would call living for God a life that is boring and mundane. Nothing could be further from the truth. The one who considers the things of God and lives accordingly is one who sees the most excellent course - one that is spoken of in the highest terms possible. To consider this is to deeply plumb the counsel and the knowledge of God Himself. Far from boring - this is the most glorious pursuit a man can give himself to on this earth!
The wise man begins by asserting to his pupil that in speaking of wisdom, he is speaking of something of the highest order of all. He speaks of writing to his pupil "excellent things." This is an interesting term, because it speaks of something associated with the number three. When referring to a a measure of something it usually refers to a large measure of a substance. It is used in music of an instrument with 3 of something on it - such as a lute. But when used in contexts other that this it refers to a high-ranking officer (who was called the third man in a chariot) or something that is of a very high worth. What is being communicated though is that what the wise man has given his student is the most excellent thing he could give him.
This is a thought we should explore for a moment. Every parent wants to give the best things to their child. Unfortunately for most parents this means things they can buy and things that require money. But what the wise man is saying to his student - and what every father should say to his children is that what is most valuable you can receive without cost. The gospel is the most valuable thing we can give our chidlren and our students. Nothing can compare with it! We should give them the gospel - and give it to them within the context of teaching and training them in the Word of God. That is what is what is worth more than silver, gold, rubies, and diamonds! But is that the way we present the Word of God to our children - to our students - to others? No wonder they consider the things of God boring - we treat them like an ugly step-sister, rather than like a treasure that is worth searching a lifetime to find! But that is how this teacher refers to the material (the Word of God and the wisdom of God in it) that he has presented to his student.
He speaks of counsels and knowledge next. The Word counsels is "moetsah" which means a plan, a purpose, and in some contexts it infers intrigue and mystery. The teacher says that the things of God are His eternal plans and purposes. It does speak of how God desires for us to live every day, but there is so much more. It speaks of what God is ultimately after in this world - and it ushers us into the very counsel of God Himself. This will be good for every day decisions - but it will also thrill and astound us as we see the eternal mind of God working out His own eternal purposes and plans. When Paul saw this in the book of Romans - he exclaimed in ecstasy, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD , OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36, NASB) So infinitely far from boring, this is the stuff that thrills our hearts and makes our minds swoon at the very consideration of such grand things.
He also speaks of knowledge. This is the Hebrew word "daath" which communicates to us that this was a technical and specific knowledge. It spoke of knwoing by experience, relationship, or encounter. This was the word used by Balaam in describing that God had revealed Himself to him in a vision. His response was astonished wonder and amazement. So as this teacher speaks to his student - he speaks of the awe-inspiring knowledge of God that comes as we truly know and experience him. Once again we say that this is far from boring. It is the knowledge of the Divine Himself. It is a thrilling thing.
Let me ask a very serious question after looking at this proverb. Do you look at the Word of God and find yourself lost in wonder, awe, and praise? Do you see the Word and find yourself astounded by the glorious counsels and knowledge that it offers to you as the Holy Spirit takes you as His pupil and teaches you? What the teacher does here is to make his students stand back in utter astonishment at the joy of having the Word and the Wisdom of God available to them. He brings them to the point of panting after God and His wisdom - like a dog would pant for water on a fiercely hot day. He shows them the living water - but only after pouring salt on their tongues. He points them to a knowledge and an understanding that would make any sage jealous. Yet all he is doing is sharing the truth about God's Word with them. He is doing so with the hope that his students will long for it - and will desire to know it as he has in his lifetime. Oh may God give us such teachers - men who will whet our appetite for spiritual things and make us literally long for more every time we open God's Word!
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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