Here is the second part of THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LOVE, JOY, AND WISDOM — PART 1. The subject is the following passage from the Bible.
John 15:9-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
In Part 1 we spoke “Of Joy In Love.” Here we will speak of the relationship between love and wisdom.
Of Love With Wisdom
What of wisdom? How does wisdom figure into John 15:9-11 (the passage cited above)? Where is wisdom mentioned? That is when Jesus tells his apostles to keep His commandments. To abide in His love we must keep Jesus’ commandments. How do we keep Jesus’ commandments? That’s where wisdom comes in. Keeping Jesus’ commandments requires wisdom.
What exactly is Christian wisdom? There does not seem to be simple definition, but we know wisdom requires humility.
Humility, unlike pride, does not recoil when commanded to do something. And this is essential for the advancement of wisdom, because Moses taught us that wisdom consists in knowing and doing the commandments of God. Deuteronomy 4:5–6, “Behold I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord my God commanded me that you should do them . . . Keep them and do them; for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples.” And Jesus said the same thing about his own words, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24). A good definition of godly wisdom, therefore, would be: hearing and doing God’s Word. God’s Word is a divine prescription for how to be finally cured of all unhappiness. Wisdom is the practical knowledge of how to attain that happiness. Therefore, wisdom is hearing and doing the Word of God. But the only people who will do this are the people who are humbly relying on God for help and who fear to seek happiness anywhere but in him. Therefore, the fear of the Lord is the beginning and spring of all true wisdom. (from here)
The Book of Proverbs has the most to say about wisdom. If we want to understand wisdom, this is the place to start. Proverbs teaches us wisdom in the form of proverbs, but it begins in story form. Imagine a wise old teacher, perhaps his father, teaching a young man, exhorting him to acquire wisdom from Lady Wisdom.
What does Book of Proverbs have to say about love? The Teacher begins by asking a question.
Proverbs 1:20-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
20 Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
Do you love your foolishness? Didn’t even the wise among us begin our lives as fools? Don’t we have to be disciplined to learn what is wise? Our Lord disciplines us because He loves us.
Proverbs 3:11-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Note that the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs is referenced in other parts of the Bible. For example, in the Book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 12:5-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
To fully appreciate the significance of the quote in Hebrews, see Hebrews 12:4-11, the complete passage.
Instead of rejecting the discipline of our Lord, we must acquire Wisdom. We must learn to love Wisdom.
Proverbs 4:5-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
7 “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
8 “Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
9 “She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”
What kind of wisdom does Lady Wisdom offer about love? Most of us, raised with a Christian heritage, have at least the inkling of a notion. For example, love the person you married.
Proverbs 5:15-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
The alternative to a loving marriage? Imagine this scene described by Lady Wisdom.
Proverbs 7:6-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
7 And I saw among the naive,
And discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,
8 Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and in the darkness.
10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11 She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;
12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.
13 So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
14 “I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.
15 “Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16 “I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
17 “I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19 “For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
20 He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”
21 With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.
22 Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool,
23 Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it will cost him his life.
How many times have we watched such foolishness played out in a movie or on TV? I hate such, and I cringe in disgust. If you merely laugh and think that could not be me, you are mistaken. Who among us has not played the fool?
Some form of the word love occurs 27 times in the Book of Proverbs (NASB). Only five citations are included above. Want to do your own Bible study? Then please check out this link, Proverbs (27).