Wisdom Ignored Is Wasted.
“Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much of it, or it will make you sick!” – Proverbs 25:16 NLT
I can’t help but read this verse without thinking of yesterday’s chapter – 2 Chronicles 8. If you haven’t read that blog entry yet, you might want to or this one will make no sense. Yesterday we saw that with all of Solomon’s wisdom, he had failed to apply it to his own life at times. And in one area of his life he really neglected this particular proverb. His words here speak of over-indulgence and a lack of self-control. You really can have too much of a good thing. But if you recall, Solomon had way too much of a one particular “good thing” in his life – women. One thousand of them to be exact – 700 wives and 300 concubines. And as we learned yesterday, they did make him sick. He succumbed to their influence and worshiped their gods, turning his back on the one true God. The result was the disfavor of God and the ultimate dividing of his kingdom. Because Solomon couldn’t control his appetite for women and sex, he would destroy all that God had given him.
What strikes me about this is how a man so wise could be so stupid. He had been warned by God not to multiply wives for himself. But evidently he thought he knew better. He gave in to his fleshly appetites and suffered the consequences. I think it’s safe to say that Solomon knew better. This was not a case of ignorance. He had both the word of God and wisdom from God. But he chose to ignore both. And how often do I do that in my own life? I know what God expects and, at times, demands, but I choose to do what I want to do. I ignore God and listen to my own flesh. I have the Holy Spirit living within me, providing me with guidance, but I can so often refuse to listen to what He has to say. Wisdom and the Word of God are both provided to guide my path, but if I ignore them, they become worthless in my life. We have been given the very words of God in the form of the Bible, but if we read it and then choose to ignore it, we are no better off than someone who has never seen a Bible before. In fact, we are probably held more accountable. It reminds me of something Jesus Himself warned us about.
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!” (Matthew 7:24-27 NET).
Knowing a lot of information is not enough. The proof is in the doing. It all comes down to the application of what we know. Solomon’s wisdom was legendary. He was a celebrity when it came to his cerebral prowess. People came from near and far to witness the wisdom of Solomon. But wisdom is worthless if you don’t apply it. It’s wasted if it remains academic, but not realistic. I find it interesting that Solomon goes on to warn his readers, “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28 NLT). Wise words, and proven true in the life of Solomon himself. He also wisely warned, “It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home” (Proverbs 25:24 NLT). Can you imagine the level of contention in the beautiful palace of Solomon living with 700 wives and 300 concubines? The arguments, jealousy, bickering, complaining, nagging, demanding – it’s enough to make your head spin.
The wisdom of Solomon was really the wisdom of God. It was a gift given to him by God. But the gifts of God can be squandered, neglected, and ignored. Just because Solomon had the wisdom of God didn’t mean he listened to what he knew. He didn’t always apply that wisdom to his everyday life. And neither do we. So as we read the Word of God seeking wisdom from God, let’s not forget that intelligence is worthless without obedience. Knowing is useless without doing. Head knowledge is a waste if it never penetrates into our hearts and impacts our behavior.
Father, I know more than I know what to do with. I have read far more Scripture than I have obeyed. You have given me the gift of Your Word and Your Spirit and I so often ignore both. Help me to apply what I hear. Give me a desire to obey, not just to know. We love to impress others with our knowledge. But You are impressed with our obedience. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men