February 15

“A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might. (Proverbs 24:5)

Classical instructors sometimes teach primary theories, principles, or units in a cycle where the academic content is more specialized each time it is learned. A student in sixth-grade math may have three units on word problems during the year, to revise and reinforce their skills with some advanced material added each time. This devotional study of Proverbs is similar in that some ideas will be repeated, for the sake of review and reinforcement, each with a slightly different twist. Ecclesiastes 9:14-15, about an unnamed, poor wise man who saved his little city was the leading verse on February 1st. Today we are again considering wisdom-a superior form of strength.

We are “full of strength” if we are wise. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalms 73:26). Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary on this psalm: “The spirit is strengthened for the spiritual work and the spiritual warfare, by true wisdom.” John Gills commented on Proverbs 24:5, ” A spiritual man, a man endued with spiritual knowledge, with the knowledge of Christ, and salvation by him…he grows stronger and stronger, he goes from strength to strength; the more he knows of Christ, the more strongly he trusts in him and loves him, and the more able he is to resist Satan’s temptations; and is a better match for false teachers who deceive the hearts of the simple.” Both theologians identify wisdom from God as that which strengthens our hearts. Gills is very specific, pointing out that faith in Christ is the particular wisdom that strengthens our hearts and souls.

Whenever I seem to be at my weakest as a teacher, writer, or minister, my work seems to be strongest. We are reminded of God’s admonition for Paul, after his request for healing was denied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). God’s grace in Jesus Christ is heart-power, soul-muscle, and faith-potency. What is Paul’s conclusion to his dilemma of being so weak in his flesh? “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10) Will anyone argue that Paul was not exceedingly wise?

If you want to have the wisdom of Paul, will you have the courage to be weak, letting God’s power come to the forefront, accomplishing his purposes by his strength?

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