Why does a wise man teach his student or his son wisdom? Why does he call him to listen and apply himself to gaining a knowledge of how to live? Why does he call his pupil to trust in he Lord and to learn how to put that trust to use in very practical ways? Why does he write to him of the wonderful Words of God - words that are filled with glorious counsel and knowledge that will last a lifetime? We've been looking at verses 17-21 for the past several days - and learning from this call to God's wisdom. Today we come to the final verse of this call and in it we find the reason this teacher/father has called his student/son to pursue and seek after God's wisdom.
"To make you know the certainty of the words of truth." It really does not get much more plain that this does it? The teacher is pointing the student to God's Word and wisdom because he wants him to know the truth. Even more than this - he wants him to know that the truth is true. I know that this sounds a little strange to us - but the literal translation of this phrase is this, "to make you know the truth of the words of truth." The idea here is that first of all there is an ultimate truth. There is an absolute truth upon which we can base our lives and our moral choices. The world today does not believe this. They believe that all truth is relative - and that we make our own truth. This is the same lie Satan used in the garden, and the same lie that Romans chapter one says God reveals His wrath against. In a nutshell it is the belief that we are gods - and therefore we make our own truth relative to what we (the god of ourselves - and our ultimate deception of self-worship) want for ourselves.
The book of Proverbs (and indeed the entire Bible) militates agaisnt that view with the strongest prejudice possible. God is ths author of truth - and He has revealed Himself through the Word of God, the Bible. We know truth - if we know the Bible. Remember that the teacher here is urging the student to know wisdom - the knowledge and understanding that comes from seeing the world as God sees it. When we read His Word we KNOW the truth. But when we learn to think according to His wisdom - to reason, to consider and discern things by His Word - then we will know not just the truth itself, but also the certainty of it - the truth that the truth is the truth.
Please stay with me until I finish this argument. We not only need to know Scripture - but we also need to know how to reason by it and defend it. Do not misunderstand what I am saying - God's Word IS the truth. But as we walk through this world filled with its deceptions and lies - we are going to need to be certain of the truth. We WILL face opposition to our beliefs from the world that is around us. I live in the college town and know from dealing with students who have had professors attempt to destroy their faith that there is a need to be able to defend the truth in your mind - and at times - openly to others. This will not come by reading a little devotional each day - and having a few moments of prayer at meals. This comes by speanding time thinking, considering, and learning to reason and discern as God's Word directs. It means knowing God - spending time with Him in intimate fellowship so that you can know the conterfeits and lies that will seek to draw you away from Him. The teacher/father knows this - and that is why he is calling his student/son to know wisdom. For when he knows wisdom and has a functioning worldview that operates according to God's wisdom - he will know the certainty of the Word of God.
The second reason he makes this call is given in the last half of this verse. "That you may correctly answer him who sent you?" The Hebrew here can honestly go one of two ways - as this is a little difficult to translate. Yet either way is very helpful to us. One way to translate this is that we are correctly answering the one who has sent us out. What this is promoting is accountability. We are sent out by God - or by an authority who is under Him - and in the end we will have to give an answer. The word "correctly" here gives the idea of returning truth to someone. Thus, as we are sent out to live a godly life, we are going to be accountable for the truth that has been given to us. Godly wisdom is crucial to this responsibility. We can return the truth we have been given - which basically would mean that we give an account of how we have lived by God's truth in life - and in making moral and spiritual choices. Knowing wisdom will mean being faithful to God - and therefore doing well as we are accountable to Him or to those He has placed over us to lead and guide us.
The other way this second phrase could be understood is in the context of living in the world - and giving an account for our faith. Peter speaks of this in 1 Peter 3:14-16 when he says, ". . . and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame." We need to be ready to answer those who "send for us," or who basically call for us to answer their questions about our faith, about our Lord, and about why we live the way we do. This is somewhat of a call to know apologetics - or being able to share the reason you believe. Wisdom will give this to you. You may answer with truth the questions that are posed about your relationship with God.
We are called to know wisdom - to know God's wisdom. This is a call to be able to think, consider, discern, and reason according to what God says in His revelation of Himself - in the Word of God. As we heed this call God will instruct us and help us gain wisdom. And as we learn to apply this wisdom in a way that will help us build a godly, Christ-centered, Bible-based worldview and way of living - we will find that we become very confident of our faith - of the truth itself. One of the things our world desperately needs is beleivers who know what they believe, why they believe it, and Whom their belief helps them to know. May we be among those who not just hear the call to God's wisdom - but who realize we need it - heed it - and are blessed because of it.