A few months ago, I was praying about what sermon series to preach next, and Proverbs stuck out in my mind. Last year, I preached a quick series from the Psalms called Biblical Worship, so I could something similar with the Proverbs, calling it Biblical Wisdom.
But I as poured over the book, I quickly realized that I could not adequately preach such a series. Proverbs’ wisdom pierced my heart, held it in front of a mirror, and revealed how little I abided by its godly wisdom.
It was difficult to admit, but I did not yet have the necessary wisdom to preach about wisdom.
So I’ve continued to pour over the Proverbs, hopefully storing its treasures in my heart.
And during this quest for wisdom, I stumbled upon Get Wise, an engaging and quick primer on the wisdom of Proverbs.
Get Wise by Bob Merritt is an entertaining and accessible meditation on the book of Proverbs. Loaded with stories of his own personal wisdom and foolishness, Merritt dives into some of the main themes of Proverbs. He does this by breaking the book into five parts.
Part one discusses the overall topic of wisdom and why wisdom is such a godly distinctive. The focus of part two is upon personal wisdom and how it guides and shapes our character. Part three deals with how we are to wisely interact with those around us. Family wisdom, such as marriage and parenting, is the subject of part four. Finally, part five closes the book with a look at successful wisdom, which includes studying the finances and work ethic of the wise.
Work, parenting, sex, money, and revenge.
Get Wise provides quick lessons on each topic, and more, from the Bible’s book of wisdom.
Truth and knowledge confront my normal way of behaving; truth and knowledge force me to look at things in a new way and then adjust my behavior. Doing so takes humility and work, two things fools don’t have and don’t want to do. Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fools despise wisdom.” This is why it’s hard to talk to fools—they’re not open to truth or correction. In fact, they often react with anger and violence. (p. 100)
Fearing God means living every day with the awareness that God is in charge and that he’s put us on the planet to live our lives according to his plan and purpose. It means that the smartest thing I can do is look toward heaven every day and say, “God, there is nothing more important in my life than knowing and following you. Lead me, fill me, and show me the way.” Simply put, it’s looking to God every day and inviting him to be at the center of your life… Anyone who does that is a wise person, because they will make decisions based not on popular opinion or talk show advice but on God’s eternal Word. Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33, emphasis added). Put God and his kingdom first in your life, and all the things you stress about—money, work, school, relationships—will eventually fall into place because you’ve learned to do them God’s way, not your way. (p. 142)
Who should read it?
Obviously, because Merritt bases the book upon Proverbs, Christians are its intended audience, yet the practicality makes it a good read for anyone, especially if you are interested at all in exploring the wisdom of living according to the Bible. Also, the simplicity and clarity of Merritt’s writing make the book accessible for any level of reader.
Why should I read it?
Wisdom cries out to anyone who will listen:
For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will be at ease, without dread of disaster. (Proverbs 1:33)
Unfortunately, many of us do not head the voice of wisdom. It’s simply not something we consider on a daily basis. But Hosea gives a stern warning of life without God’s wisdom and knowledge:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
Merritt is correct in identifying biblical wisdom as the understanding that God knows better than we do. Foolishness leads to death because we take matters into our own hands, ignoring God’s Word. In wisdom, we must submit ourselves to God’s law and knowledge because He is infinitely wiser than we are.
Because that thought is the central aim of Get Wise, I highly suggest reading it for a crash course on biblical wisdom.
Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. (Proverbs 4:7)