Ben Dwyer – Walsall – The house – Knowledge, wisdom and understanding
Last time I spoke, about a month ago, we looked at the idea of building a house and considered how it related to the work of building the ecclesia. The idea is that this would help us with our iedify project, to help us know what we can do to edify each other.
One of the references we looked at last time was Proverbs 24:3, lets remind ourselves of what it says:
When we looked at this we noticed that there are three things needed to build the house:
Afterwards someone asked me “what are these things and how can we have them”. This was a good question, so I thought we could spend some time looking at that and working out what these things are and how we can develop these characteristics. Particularly I want to focus on understanding. Notice that it understanding which causes the house to be established, or prepared.
Let’s starting Exodus 35:30 + 31.
We have the same 3 things mentioned as in Prov 24:3. Notice here that they come from God, and that they are used for the work of making the tabernacle. These are things that act on the heart. This is connected to Ex 36:2 – God puts the wisdom in their heart, but they also have stirred up their own heart.
This tells us something about this work of building. It’s something that we have to want to do. We have to stir up our heart to do this work.
Lets look at what David says and does when he wants to prepare the work of building the house of God. 1 Chron 22
Some things to notice:
– In Proverbs 24:3 we saw that understanding was to “establish” the house. This is what David is doing here – the word “prepare” is that same word, so David is starting the work of establishing the house in order for it to be built.
– This connects with the promise God makes about the throne of his kingdom, which will be “established” for ever. The work involved in building a house is not just about the initial building work, but also about ensuring that it continues into the future. This might be useful for us to consider more after 2020!
– In verse 12, David asks for Solomon to have “understanding” and wisdom to keep the law of Yahweh, and to build the sanctuary.
We see again the importance of wisdom and understand in the work of building a house, both a physical and a spiritual house.
Lets look at when Solomon starts to do this work. 1 Kings 3:2 – there is no house built to Yahweh. Solomon will build that house, but hasn’t done so yet.
1 Kings 3:5-12 – Solomon asks for an understanding heart, or really a hearing heart, to “discern” between good and evil. The word discern here is the word understanding from Prov 24:3 and Ex 35. Solomon is asking for a heart that can understand the difference between good and evil.
God grants his wish and gives him, not just understanding but also wisdom, greater than any other man. Again we see that wisdom and understanding come from God.
There is something else interesting happening in this chapter which gives us insight into what “understanding” actually is”. Notice how Solomon asks to be able to “discern between good and evil”. There is a pun being made here. The word “discern” and the word “between” are, in their root forms spelt the same – it’s a play on words.
Lets look at Genesis 1 to understand this better. God divides “between” a lot of things:
– light and darkness
– day and night
The idea of creating this division between things is to separate them, to distinguish one from the other. When Solomon asks to be able to discern between good and evil it’s the same, he is asking for the ability to separate good from evil, to see the light and the darkness. The pun on the words “discern” and “between” helps us to see the connection between these two things – discerning, which is usually translated “understanding” is the ability to judge between things.
Ok, so we have seen the we need to have understanding to establish a house, and that means that we need to develop our ability to discern between good and evil. How can we do this?
Solomon, in his wisdom, tells us in Proverbs:
Prov 1:1-7 – These proverbs will help those that read them to “understand understanding (V1)”. The fear of Yahweh is an important element of this.
This message is repeated in Proverbs 2:1-11. Yahweh gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding (v6). The same 3 things again. Previously we saw that God gave wisdom to those who stirred up their heart. The same is true here in verse 2 – people who apply their heart to understanding will understand the fear of Yahweh.
How do we do this? We need to hear the word of Yahweh, and apply ourselves to understanding it. That will give us wisdom, understanding and knowledge, and we can use this to build the house of God. That’s what edification is all about.
We get a nice example of this in Neh 8.
The law is read in such a way that people are able to understand it. This reminds me of what we looked at last time in 1 cor 14, where he talks about speaking words that are easy to understand. The other thing that’s interesting here is that when the People read the law with understanding it has an effect on them (v12). This is a really important aspect of what it is to understand. It’s not just about being able to discern between good and evil, it’s about the effect it has on you in being caused to do something.
The thing that they do is “prepare” portions – this is the word “establish” again (v10). This is a great example of how by understanding the house is established. The people understand what the right thing to do is and they prepare the portions for those who don’t have them.
Ex 35 – same three things as in the tabernacle
Ex 36:2 – their heart causes them to be stirred up
i kings 7:14 – hiram is these things
Prov 24:3 – through understanding it is established (wisdom)
Deut 32:6 – he is the rock, he requires people to be wise, he has established the people, and instructed them
1 Kings 3:9, 11, 12 – discerning between good and evil
1 chron 22:12 – being given wisdom and understanding to keep the law of yahweh
Neh 8 – they are cause to understand and that means they prepare
Ps 107:36 – prepare a city, v43 – wise and understand
Prov 1 – the importance of building wisdom
Prov 2 – comes from the mouth of God
Prov 3:18 – Yahweh created the world with wisdom and understanding, Jer 10:12
Lev 27:12 & 14 – discerning between good and evil
Ps 32:8 & 9- animals have no understanding
Is 5:20 – evil, good, v21 – wise in own eyes
Ps 119:73 – made and given understanding
2 Sam 7:13 – establish kingdom, build house
Matt 7- wise man
Luke 6 – digged deep?
Matt Foster Added
Thinking about the bigger picture of houses, John 14 v 2
1. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Picture of God’s house being made up of many abidings – importance of being part of the body of Christ.
Our homes are also important, inviting people in, being a picture of the ecclesia, multiple layers to the house aspect.
We look to the time when we are all together in God’s house.
Luke 14 v16 – first group rejected invite, poor and highways brought in so that the house might be full.
Way into God’s house is made by Christ in Heb 10 v 18