Thursday, June 1, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 8, Wisdom Gives Peace Of Mind

In today's passage Solomon tells his son that the person who lives by godly wisdom will have peace of mind. Wisdom will guide that person's actions during the day, and wisdom will make that person's sleep peaceful at night.

He begins by elevating wisdom to the highest place of honor by pointing out that it was through wisdom that God created everything that exists. "By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew." (Proverbs 3:19-20) The king is saying something like this, "Do you think God didn't draw up blueprints for the universe? Do you believe He just threw it together without thinking about it? Do you assume He didn't have a plan? No, God used His wisdom for the creation. God used His infinite knowledge and vast intelligence to carefully craft every atom of the universe and every cell of our bodies. Nothing exists that He didn't intend to exist. Nothing is designed in a way He didn't intend for it to be designed. If God found wisdom valuable to Him in the act of creation, then we too must find wisdom valuable as we live in God's creation. If God needed wisdom to go about His work, then we certainly need wisdom to go about ours."

Since wisdom is so priceless for living, Solomon urges his son to cling to it tightly. "My son, do not let wisdom out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble." (Proverbs 3:21-23) He counsels, "Wisdom is the ornament of the godly person. It will make your life beautiful and honorable. It will keep you from making foolish decisions that will lead you into harm. It will prevent you from doing things you will regret."

Next Solomon tells us that the wisdom that comes from knowing the Lord brings peace of mind. It allows a person to lie down at night and sleep the sleep of the innocent....not because we are innocent, but because we have been forgiven by the grace and mercy of the Lord. And because we are His, we are able to sleep without fear, for we know our Father is watching over us. "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared." (Proverbs 3:24-26)

These verses remind me of something the prophet Isaiah said. He warned the godly in the nation not to panic in the way those who had turned from the Lord were panicking. He reassured the faithful they need not fear the things the backsliders feared. "Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread." (Isaiah 8:12-13) In other words, if we fear God we need not fear anyone else. Solomon's father David, who lived under the daily threat of death at the hands of King Saul for fifteen years, had a right to be fearful, but instead he said, "The Lord is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life---of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) David placed all his trust in the Lord, in the One who created the universe by His wisdom, and he knew Saul would have to go through the Lord to get to him. Therefore he was able to lie down at night and sleep in peace.

I think back on troubled times in my life and marvel over the way the Lord allowed me to lie down and sleep in peace at night. I've said this before in a previous Bible study, but some of the sweetest sleep I've ever experienced was during a season of terrible circumstances. How precious of the Lord to lovingly give me the gift of good sleep when it felt like the world was falling apart! I bless His name for that! The Lord who created us, who in His wisdom carefully crafted every cell of our bodies, knows how much we need sleep. The Lord Jesus, who was once so exhausted He slept deeply even as the boat rocked furiously in a fierce storm, understands that sometimes all we need to keep on going is a good night's rest.

Solomon, by the time he was an older man, had learned this too. He spent his youth and middle age in frantic activity. He filled every hour of the day with pleasures and projects in an attempt to ignore the huge gaping hole in his heart that only the Lord could fill. He walked the floor at night trying to puzzle out mysteries that were too big for him. When he came back to the Lord he realized that all his worrying and pacing had done him no good. He decided just to go to bed at night and trust the Lord, so when he wrote Psalm 127 he gave this wise counsel, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2) I wanted to quote the KJV because that's the version I was using when I learned this verse. God gives sleep to those He loves. He grants the gift of peace of mind to those who trust in Him. When troubles surround us, and when worries consume us, our loving Father puts us to bed, tucks us in, and whispers, "Sleep, My child. I will be awake keeping watch over you."

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