If you are a born-again Christian—if you have given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ—then you want to live a life that’s a success in God’s eyes, a life that counts for something and matters for the Kingdom. You don’t want to wander aimlessly, hoping something good will happen somewhere…and you’ll get direction.
You’re wasting a lot of time, friend, when God has struck a match and lit the lantern, inviting you to walk in wisdom. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
The most important collection of godly wisdom for life, captured in one book, is the book of Proverbs, and this month on our radio broadcasts we’re focusing on the series “God’s Way to Health, Wealth, and Wisdom.”
Notice I didn’t say, “God’s way to Wealth—Name It and Claim It.” Health, Wealth and Wisdom go hand-in-hand for the child of God who lives by godly principles, and it doesn’t necessarily mean physical health—just ask the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 2:3, 2 Cor. 12:7), or his disciple Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20).
It does not always mean financial wealth. Just ask the widow Jesus praised in Luke 21:1-4. It does not mean worldly wisdom (See 1 Corinthians 3:18 and 2 Corinthians 1:12). We want to make certain it’s God’s health, God’s wealth and God’s wisdom we’re seeking. We get them not through the latest self-help best-seller, but through His Word.
This month’s study focuses on the most important wisdom you can have. Early in the book, Wisdom is described as a person and makes what may be for some a “Last Call.”
The book of Proverbs pours out wisdom upon wisdom, so it’s interesting that the book begins with a “last call.” If you do not have what wisdom is calling you to first, the rest of the book’s wisdom will likely be wasted on you. Let’s look at this “Last Call” wisdom makes.
1. Turn to Proverbs chapter one and begin in verse 20.
20 Wisdom _________ without; she uttereth her voice in the _________, 21 she _______ in the chief place of concourse, in the ______________ of the _______, in the _______ she uttereth her words, saying, 22 “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge? 23 _________ you at my reproof. Behold I will pour out my spirit unto you. I will ________ ___________my words unto you.
24 Because I called and ye refuse, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regard it, 25 but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 when your fear cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me but I will not answer. They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. 29 For that they hateth knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 They would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso _________________unto me shall dwell _____________ and shall be quiet from _______ of _______.
In this passage of Scripture, wisdom is portrayed as a person. The voice of wisdom is the voice of God.
When wisdom speaks, God speaks.
The authority of wisdom is the authority of God.
The invitation of wisdom is the invitation of God.
The warning of wisdom is the warning of God,
To neglect wisdom is to neglect God,
To honor wisdom is to honor God,
The blessings of wisdom are the blessings of God.
As wisdom speaks to you today, it is God speaking to you today.
First, a personal story:
Awhile back I was in a hurry to get to the airport to catch a flight. I wanted to be certain to be there before the plane took off. Does it seem to you that we always tend to get there a little later than we think we are? Once in the terminal, I had a long way to go. I was jogging carrying my heavy bags. I put them through baggage check, got my boarding pass, looked up and saw I had plenty of time.
“Well, after this,” I said, “I’m going to relax.” I went down and bought a cup of hot tea, a newspaper, sat down in the waiting area at the gate, read the newspaper and drank my hot tea.
After a while I looked around—and the waiting room was empty! I thought to myself, “Where did everyone go?” I went up and asked the gate agent, “When are you going to call this flight?” He said, “I’ve already called it.” I said, “When is it going to leave?” He said, “It’s already left,” and I thought to myself, “That’s about the dumbest thing a man ever did—to sit at the gate reading a newspaper, drinking hot tea while the airplane took off. I mean sitting right there.”
Now, folks, that’s dumb to sit right there, so oblivious to that final call, sitting there drinking tea, reading a newspaper while his airplane left. You say, “Right preacher, pretty dumb, pretty dumb.” But there’s something more foolish than that: for you to sit in this study, with your Bible open, sitting here at the very gate to glory, and have the last flight to Heaven take off without you.
One of these days, listen to me, God is going to issue His final call to you. There’s a deadline in front of everyone, a final call, a last call. We will study it here in this passage of scripture. We’re going to look at Wisdom’s Invitation, Indoctrination, and Indignation.
Wisdom’s last call is a PUBLIC invitation.
“20 Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words.”
2. Turn to Matthew 10:27
27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that ___________ ye upon the _________________.
If wisdom is crying out in the streets, in the chief place of concourse, at the gates, in the city, preached from the housetops, it doesn’t get more public than that.
3. Does this passage indicate that the cry going out to a select few?
Jesus said in John 18:20, “I have done nothing in secret.” I’m so grateful the Lord God loves the whole world, and Wisdom’s invitation is a public invitation.
Wisdom speaks to all people. The voice of the Bible is, “Whosoever willmay come.”
I won’t have you turn to each one, but if you question this, see Mark 8:34-35, Luke 6:47, Luke 9:24, John 12:46, Acts 2:21, and Revelation 22:17.
A CLOSER LOOK AT “PUBLIC”
Let the whole world know that Jesus saves. The invitation of wisdom is public. Don’t just “keep the faith”—give it away. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t want to give it away, you ought to give it up, because what you have is not real. You’ll never convince me that you know the real thing and the joy of the Lord Jesus if you do not want to share it.
Wisdom’s last call is a PRESSING invitation.
Wisdom is not lackadaisical about this. It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it attitude but a sense of urgency.
20 Wisdom crieth without. 21She crieth in the chief place of concourse.
Wisdom is pressing her invitation. She’s lifting up her voice.
Some people don’t like to go to a church where there’s a public invitation. They say, “I just don’t believe in urging people to get right with God.” Well, I do.
4. Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:11. The apostle Paul says
“Therefore, knowing the _________ of the LORD We _______________ men.”
5. Turn to Genesis chapter 3:8-9
8 And they heard the __________ of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God __________unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?”
I’m so glad that God came seeking Adam there in the Garden with a tear in His voice: “Adam where art thou?” It wasn’t the voice of a detective; it was the voice of a broken-hearted Father.
Wisdom’s last call is a PATIENT invitation.
6. 22 How _______, oh simple one, will ye love simplicity and the scorners delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge?
Thank God for the patience of our Lord. He is indeed a patient God. It’s amazing that He would stretch forth His hands patiently. Earnestly, tenderly, Wisdom is calling.
Wisdom’s invitation, public, pressing, and patient, is given to everyone today.
Some people reading this might be saying to themselves,
“Well, Dr. Rogers, I can’t help it if I don’t understand your Bible. It’s not my fault if I don’t have this wisdom. I wasn’t born with it. Perhaps I don’t have the gift.”
Anyone who reads this study is without excuse, because if you want God’s wisdom you can have it. How? God will indoctrinate you with His wisdom if you get yourself in the place where God can speak to you.
7. Look at verse 23. Here is God’s challenge to you.
_______ you at My reproof. Behold, I will pour out My spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you.
Do you want to know how to have the wisdom you need? It will come to you—and any person—in 3 steps:
STEP #1 The Sinner’s Repentance
First you turn.
23turn you at my reproach.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TERM “REPENT”
Do you know what the word “turn” here means? It means repent. Repent means to change your mind. By changing your mind, you will change your course of action. You’re walking due east…you turn (repent) and start walking due west. It’s a 1800 reversal, in both thought and deed. That is repentance! Isaiah 55:7 describes it well:
8. Turn to Isaiah 55:7
Let the wicked ______________ his______, and the unrighteous man his __________________: and let him _______________ unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon Him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
Repentance is an in-depth change, from the inside out. It involves behavior—yes. But it reaches inside and makes a heart-change.
If we forsake our ways and our thoughts, then we’ll have God’s thoughts and God’s wisdom, but there must be a point of repentance.
You are not going to learn anything from God until you’re willing to repent. If God were to give you wisdom, it would be like pouring water on a rock. Don’t blame God if you don’t repent. Wisdom says you must turn. Even if God were to speak to you, you couldn’t hear him if you did not repent.
You must prepare your heart to hear the Word of God and there must be the repentance of the sinner that makes Jesus Christ Lord.
STEP #2 The Spirit’s Revelation
Look again at what follows “turn” in verse 23:
Turn you at My reproof, behold, I will ______ out ___ ________ upon you.
This book is written by God, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You will never understand it until God pours His Spirit out upon you.
9. Turn to 1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural [unsaved] man ______________ ____ the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: ____________ can he ________ them, because they are _________________ discerned.
Why can’t an unsaved person understand God, His heart, His principles?
The only way you’re going to know the truth of God’s Word is for the Holy Spirit to turn the light on in your sin-darkened soul.
You can read the Bible and get the facts and the dates.
You can memorize the kings of Israel.
You can know the names of the twelve apostles.
But you will never know the wisdom and the truth of this book until God the Holy Spirit pours Himself out upon you. When the sinner repents, then God’s Holy Spirit immediately comes in and reveals the truth to you.
STEP #3 The Reliability of the Scripture
After repentance, you’re far from left on your own. The Scripture is available to support you in your walk with God.
10. The Bible you hold in your hands contains the Word of God. It is the Word of God. See Proverbs 1:23 again:
and I will pour out My Spirit unto you and _______ ___________ ____ _______ unto you.
Do you want wisdom? This is God’s wisdom book. When there’s repentance of the sinner, there will be the revelation of the Spirit, supported by the reliability of the scripture.
11. For you to have wisdom, how important is the Word of God in your life? Turn to Mathew 4:4. The Lord Jesus is speaking:
4 But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by __________ ________ that ________________ out of the ___________ of ______.
12. Turn back to Proverbs again—this time to chapter 2:6-9.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of _____ __________ cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound _____________ for the ______________________: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and __________________ the way of His saints.
9 Then shalt thou _____________________ righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, __________ ________ ______.
You want to be walking wisely, successfully, on a good path? It comes from wisdom, which follows repentance, and is given by the Spirit in revelation when you study the Scriptures.
13. Turn to Psalm 119:130.
The entrance of Thy _________ giveth light; it giveth __________________ unto the simple.
How wonderful it is when God the Holy Spirit takes the repentant sinner, pours Himself upon that sinner, opens the Word of God and gives the knowledge from the Word of God. We then have God’s knowledge.
Don’t tell me, friend, you can’t have wisdom. Don’t tell me God cannot give you wisdom. He can, He does, He will.
First, there is the invitation of the Spirit: God calls. Then the indoctrination of the Spirit, for where God calls, God enables. Lastly, the indignation of the Spirit— if you reject His free offer of salvation.
Have you ever thought that God may become indignant? I did a Scripture search the other day and was overwhelmed with passages that deal with the fact that the great God of Heaven, when His holiness and majesty are insulted, may become indignant.
Let’s look at just two of them.
14. a. Turn to Nahum 1:6. You will find it among the shorter prophetic books, just two doors down from Jonah and right before Habakkuk.
6 Who can stand before His _______________? and who can abide in the ________________ of His __________?”
The answer is obvious. No one can.
b. Turn to Hebrews 10:27. We’re going to go back and forth between Proverbs 1 and Hebrews 10, so keep both passages open as we compare and see how Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture.
27 But a certain fearful looking for of _______________ and fiery ________________, which shall devour the _______________.
c. Who are the adversaries? What brought God—and them—to this point of being His adversaries? Look back in this chapter (Hebrews 10) to verse 19.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
“Enter into the holiest” is a reference to the Old Testament “holy of holies”—that place in the tabernacle where God’s presence rested upon the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter there—and he only once a year. And that was only after multiple preparations to make him clean/purified enough to come unto God’s presence.
What does the “holiest” represent for us now, in the New Testament?
e. Under the New Covenant, how are we able to enter His presence? with “_____________________.”
f. What (v. 19) makes that entrance possible?
20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;
a. What is this “new and living way” to God?
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
b. Who now serves as our High Priest?
Exodus 30:9-10 and Leviticus 16:14 tell us how, under the Old Covenant, the high priest, in addition to many other steps of purification, had to wash in pure water at the bronze laver, then took with him into the holy of holies the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it upon the Ark of the Covenant. This area was so holy, so sacred, that he could “draw near”only one time each year, on the Day of Atonement.
Compare that with what Hebrews says here: (continuing chapter 10)
22 Let us draw near[to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
c. Now under the New Covenant, what did Jesus, our high priest, do for us like Aaron the high priest did under the Old Covenant?
d. How (v. 22) are our hearts like the Holy of Holies?
e. In the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, God’s presence rested upon the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle. Today, under the New Covenant, where does God’s presence reside?
f. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without ________________; (for He is faithful that promised;)
What helps keep us from wavering?
16. Move on in Hebrews 10 to verses 26 and 27. First, verse 26:
26 For if we sin _____________ after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
a. Does 10:26 mean you can lose your salvation? No. The Ryrie Study Bible clarifies for us verse 26:
“26 there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. If a person rejects the truth of Christ’s death for sin, there is no other sacrifice for sin available and no other way to come to God. Only judgment remains.” Jesus suffered in agony and blood upon the cross to provide atonement for your—and every person’s—sins. The person who rejects his atoning, suffering sacrifice has no way to come to God. No wonder God is indignant. Wisdom cries out in its final call (Proverbs 1:23) “23 Turn at My reproof. Behold, I will pour out My Sprit upon you.”
b. Continuing—verse 27 of Hebrews 10:
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery _________________, which shall devour the adversaries.
Why would a fiery indignation devour God’s adversaries?
Go back to the focus passage of our study, Proverbs 1:20-32, where verses 24-25 of this chapter hit it right on the mark.
24 Because I called and ye refuse, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regard it, 25 but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof
Why does wisdom become indignant?
c. Hebrews 10:26-27 confirms it. Verse 28 goes on to say,
28 He that _____________ Moses’ law died ____________ mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Wisdom is indignant because the call of wisdom, that public, pressing, patient invitation of wisdom, time and time and time again, is swept aside by those who refuse to accept God’s provision, and there comes a time when invitation turns to indignation.
A CLOSER LOOK AT REFUSING THE CALL VS. HYPER- CALVINISM
I’ve dealt with this before, but I want to say while I’m in the area, you can refuse the call of God. There is a theology today out, hyper-Calvinism, which says Jesus only died for a certain few—just for the elect. And that certain people are destined to be saved and certain destined to be lost, and if you’re one of those destined to be saved, you’re going to be saved no matter what. But if you’re one of those destined to be lost, you’re going to be lost, no matter what.
They call that “limited atonement” and “irresistible grace.” That is, Jesus died only for a certain few. But when He calls those few, they will come. It’s absolutely irresistible. You can’t help yourself. When He calls, you’ll come, and if He doesn’t call you, you can’t come. So therefore, some are born to go to Heaven and some are born to go to Hell.
Don’t you believe it. It’s a lie. “The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” There is not an “irresistible call.” A person may resist if they want. Look again at Proverbs 1:24—“Because I have called and he refused, I have stretched out my hand and no man regardeth.” God calls. He wants everyone saved. The Lord is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). “Christ is that life that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “He Himselfis the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world,” (1 John 2:2). and I’m infinitely, everlastingly glad I can say “Whosoever will may come,” God loves you, Christ died for you, and you can be saved today.
But not only, my dear friend, can you choose Him today, you can refuse him today. He can call and you can refuse. You can say no.
You can so spurn His offer of love and so trample beneath your feet His precious blood, God’s invitation will turn to indignation because He says, “24 Because I called and ye refuse, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regard it, 25 but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof…” (back to our original passage in Proverbs 1.)
I see the Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter 23 on the Mount of Olives, looking down over the city of Jerusalem, great tears coursing down His cheeks, His hands outstretched, saying “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered thee even as a hen gathereth her chicks, but ye would not. Therefore your house is left to you desolate.” “I would, but you would not.”
Today He stretches out His hands to you, calls you and invites you. But God has given you the privilege to choose Him or to refuse Him. One day invitation will turn to indignation.
17. Look again at Proverbs 1:26.
26 I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 when your fear cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
a. What happens when invitation turns to indignation?
You see, people have laughed at God and mocked His wisdom. You see it every day in the news and on television. But there’s coming a time when the mocker will be mocked, when the scorner will be scorned.
b. Turn to Galatians 6:7
Be not ____________; God is not ___________: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also _______.
c. Turn to Psalm 2:4
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall __________: the Lord shall have them
Why does God laugh at their calamity? Why does it come to the point where God mocks the recalcitrant sinner? Because they’re reaping what they’ve sown.
A CLOSER LOOK AT PSALM 2:4—WHY WOULD GOD MOCK ANYONE?
It’s not because God thinks it’s funny. There’s no humor here, none whatsoever. This is the laughter of absurdity, of irony. Tragically, it is the fool receiving back upon his head that which is his just and due consequence.
Today. we see God mocked every day. But that’s only temporary; that’s only as we count earthly time. Remember, God lives outside of the limitations of time and space. He is infinite as regards time and space. Mocking, in earthly time, is only for an instant, compared to eternity, when His name will be lifted high and glorified forevermore.
If in this little expanse of earthly time you choose to mock God and refuse his patient, public, pressing invitation, you will for eternity reap what you have sown.
If you sow mocking you’ll reap mocking, if you sow derision, you will reap derision, if you mock wisdom, wisdom will mock you.
18. Another consequence of the sinner’s refusal of this invitation.
a. See v. 27.
27 When your fear cometh as _______________
That word is one of the saddest words in the Bible. It means simply to be left alone.
Did you know that the time may come when God will leave you alone? The time may come that you can be so oblivious to His call that you can be sitting there in the waiting room at the gate and the airplane will take off without you. You’ll be sitting right there, and no one will speak to you, no one will tap you on the shoulder and say, “The plane just left.” It’s over, the last call has been heard and issued, and there will be no other call. You’re desolate.
b. Turn to Luke 13:35
Behold, your house is left unto you _______________: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall _____ _____ Me, until the time come when ye shall say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
You ask, “Could that ever happen?” Yes. Genesis 6:3 says, “3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man.”
God loves you. God is patient. But there comes an end to the patience of God. One day you may say “no” once to often to God and He no longer will stretch out His hands, no longer will He lift up His voice, no longer will you hear the invitation of wisdom.
19. A third consequence: See again v. 27.
27 when your fear cometh as desolation and your _______________ cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Who can argue with a devastating whirlwind? Who can stand against a tornado? Right at the tip is unbelievable destructive power. God has used that as an illustration of His righteous judgment: destruction as the simple, the scorner, and the fool are swept away and judgment falls upon them.
20. A fourth consequence: See v. 28.
28 Then shall they call upon Me, but I will ____ answer. They shall seek Me early, but they shall ____ find Me. 29 For that they___________ knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 They would none of My counsel, they despised all My reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
There’s coming a time when lost sinners will stand before the judgment bar of God and cry out, “Oh God, have mercy!’ but it will be too late.
If you want mercy, you may have it; if you want forgiveness, you may have it; if you want grace, you may have it. But now is the day of grace, now is the day of mercy, now is the day of forgiveness
There is a deadline when wisdom makes her final call. If you say no to the God of grace, one day the God of judgment will say no to you.
It’s not that God is not forgiving. It’s not that God will not call upon those who call upon him. He will. But you must do it while you still have time. When the judgment of God has come, when the tornado of destruction has touched down, then it is too late to call upon Him.
One day He’s going to make His last call, He’s going to cry His last tear, the last invitation will be given. Then righteousness, mercy and forgiveness will give way to wrath and judgment of God, who is indignant over His love that has been spurned so many times. People cannot continue to trample beneath their feet the blood of Jesus and do so with impunity. Remember what Hebrews 10:29 said,
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
The fiery indignation of God is going to consume them.
You say, “Well, I just don’t see how a God of love can do that.” Friend, a God of love doesn’t do that.