For this series of posts, I am focusing on those characteristics of wisdom that set the Wise Virgins apart from the Foolish Virgins.
As a brief recap, let’s look at what we saw in Part 1 of this series:
When Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] taught the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, He spoke the following words:
“They that were ready went in with Him [the Bridegroom] to the marriage” (Matthew 25:10)
In speaking this parable, Yahushua taught His disciples the importance of being ‘ready’ for a marriage. The marriage referred to in this passage, as we see in Revelation 19:7-9, is Yahushua’s own marriage — “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
In the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matthew 25, we are given the vital key for being ready for marriage to the Bridegroom: the Wise Virgins had wisdom, but the Foolish Virgins lacked wisdom!
It was the Wise Virgins in the parable who were ready to go in with the Bridegroom. And so it is the same with us today. If we desire to be ready, we too must have the same wisdom!
Entering, Walking in the Way of Wisdom
As we saw in Part 1, wisdom comes from the Words of Yahuwah’s mouth, as recorded in the written Scriptures. We saw that the Wise Virgins begin their seeking for wisdom, by searching the Scriptures, and then putting into action what they read. They grow in wisdom, by their obedience to the Words of the Scriptures.
We saw that the wisdom of the Wise Virgins is not a state of being, but it is a daily walk, a ‘way’ or path to walk in — and that the choices we make, and the actions we take, reveal which path we are walking in.
We also saw that there is a prerequisite, a necessary requirement that we must meet, if we desire to enter, and walk in, the way of wisdom. We must have a willingness to change our lifestyle, and to begin to live our lives according to the Scriptures!
This is the first and foremost prerequisite to gaining wisdom that sets the Wise Virgins apart from the Foolish Virgins! From this willingness to change ones lifestyle — from living according to man-made traditions that contradict the Scriptures, to a lifestyle of obedience to the Scriptures — springs all the other characteristics of the Wise Virgins.
And so our goal in learning about the Biblical characteristics of wisdom is that we may become wise unto obedience, and in this way we become ready — ready so that we might be found among the company of the Wise Virgins, who go in to the marriage with the Bridegroom!
And now we will begin Part 2 of this series. The wisdom characteristic we will look at now is: the one who is wise receives instruction — that is, the wise ‘hearkens’ to counsel.
Hearkens to Counsel
This characteristic of the Wise Virgins is found in Proverbs 12:
“He that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15b)
The English word ‘hearken’ is the very important Hebrew word ‘shama‘ (Strong’s #8085), meaning “to hear intelligently, with the implication of attention, and the intention to obey.”
The one who desires to become wise will begin to carefully listen to, and patiently follow counsel, instruction, wisdom, and advice. If instruction is willingly received by one who has wisdom, that one will become teachable.
By listening carefully, and putting into practice what is being taught (obedience), the wise will become even wiser (Proverbs 9:9). This is how we grow in wisdom.
By listening carefully, the one who is wise will not be doing a lot of talking (Proverbs 10:19; 29:11). Rather than being a talker, one who is wise will learn to become a listener.
In contrast, one who is foolish despises and scorns instruction, counsel, wisdom, and understanding (Proverbs 1:7; 18:2). The one who is foolish loves to talk, often getting into trouble because of his constant talking (Proverbs 10:19; 18:7; 29:11).
Digging For Treasure
Seeking, and hearing, counsel and wisdom that is truth-FULL, and thus benefical, means that we must love the truth! Otherwise we will be deceived (2Thessalonians 2:8-12).
What we must seek is truth that is according to the truth of the Scriptures, and this requires an effort that is similar to digging for treasure, as described in Proverbs 2. Digging for treasure has the exciting promise of great riches, yet the process can be difficult and wearisome.
In order to gain the true, spiritual wisdom that is according to the Scriptures, and taught by the Holy Spirit, we must begin our digging by searching out and investigating all that appears to be ‘wisdom.’
To become wise, we must prayerfully ‘dig,’ that is, begin to search in the Scriptures for ourselves, learning what the Scriptures teach. Then we must test anything we hear that claims to be Bible counsel, Bible teaching, Bible knowledge, Bible truth, or Bible understanding.
We are digging for the treasures of wisdom, only when we are pursuing the true wisdom that is according to the Scriptures — according to the Word of Yahuwah:
… O Yahuwah, give me understanding according to Your word. (Psalms 119:169b)
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. (Psalms 119:130)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. (Psalms 119:9)
Uphold me according unto Your word, that I may live …. (Psalms 119:116a)
To the law [torah] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word [the Scriptures], it is because there is no light [no truth] in them. (Isaiah 8:20)
As the above verses tell us, wisdom that is according to the Word of Yahuwah will strengthen us, and guard us, and will lead us into TRUTH and understanding. When we study the Scriptures as our primary source of wisdom, and then choose to hearken to and follow what it says, then we will grow in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The Wise Virgins know this!
Our Example: Mary, or Martha?
In Luke chapter 10, we see the account of Mary and Martha. Martha’s focus was to be busy with much serving, but Mary’s focus was to sit at the feet of Yahushua, to listen and to learn:
And she [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at Yahushua’s feet and listened to His teaching …. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Yahushua answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39-42)
As this passage teaches us, Yahushua tells us that Mary, rather than Martha, has chosen the one thing that is necessary: being near to Messiah, and listening to His teaching. Mary is a good example of one who desires to be wise, for she showed that she desired to ‘hearken unto counsel.’ Mary is a good example of a Wise Virgin, because her desire is to stay close to the Saviour, taking in His Words, and giving careful attention and obedience to all of His words.
It is this staying near to our Saviour [sitting at Messiah’s feet], and the genuine listening to, and applying, the wisdom and counsel found in the Scriptures, that makes one wise! The Wise Virgins develop the habit of daily Scripture reading and study, while asking God for wisdom (Proverbs 8:34; James 1:5), and hearkening to [hearing and obeying] His counsel, according to the Scriptures.
Father’s counsel, and His merciful grace, leads the Wise Virgins to apply the Word of God to their own lives — and it is this ‘hearkening,’ or the hearing and obeying His Word, that results in acquiring the treasure of wisdom (Proverbs 12:15b).
We gain further confirmation that our wisdom comes from hearkening, from listening to and heeding the counsel and instruction from God’s Word, in the following verses :
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end (Proverbs 19:20).
He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction (Proverbs 10:17a).
As the above verses show us, we know that we are walking in ‘the way of wisdom,’ and in ‘the way of Life,’ when we are ‘keeping’ instruction [our ‘obedience’ to Scripture], by receiving instruction! The Hebrew word definitions give us more insight:
He is in the way of LIFE that keeps [guards, heeds, attends to] instruction [correction, chastisement, and discipline]. (Proverbs 10:17a)
Thus we can easily see whether we are in the ‘way’ of life — when we guard, heed, and attend to the instruction and correction provided by Yahuwah, through His Word.
What is our Source of Wisdom: * A Caution *
If we are to hearken to counsel and instruction, we must be cautious regarding which source of ‘wisdom’ we are going to listen to. Not every ‘Bible study,’ not every pastor, teacher, or spiritual leader can be trusted to lead one to true wisdom. It requires great discernment on the part of the listener, to determine the wisdom of the words being spoken.
As we saw in The Wisdom of the Wise, pursuing wisdom can be a tricky endeavour. There are many hidden and foolish pitfalls to guard against, because true, spiritual wisdom is a hidden treasure, and is not easily recognized, and not easily acquired (1Corinthians 2:7).
Many speak with man’s wisdom, but the true, spiritual wisdom that is taught by the Holy Spirit, will be in agreement with the holy Scriptures:
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1Corinthians 2:13)
And so if we are going to be wise, we must learn to look beneath the surface, to discern and test whether the ‘wisdom’ we are hearing is from man — or from the Holy Spirit, who illuminates the Scriptures to us.
We must make sure that the ‘wisdom’ we hear, and the understanding, knowledge, and counsel we listen to, will result in the ultimate reward of true wisdom: being ready for the Bridegroom, and for the marriage supper of the Lamb!
Discerning True Wisdom
Today there are many ‘Bible’ teachers — pastors, ministers, and spiritual leaders — who have the knowledge of a thousand different things, yet they have little or no knowledge of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God], and of His goodness and wisdom!
Sadly, there are some who are “wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge” (Jeremiah 4:22). Some even say, “We desire not the knowledge of God” (Job 21:14).
For this reason, any ‘Bible’ teachings we encounter, we must “try (test) the spirits whether they are of God” (1John 4:1); we must ask ourselves some important questions:
- “Is this ‘wisdom’ pure and truthful, originating from the Heavenly Father, and according to all of the Scriptures — or is it a religious mixture, mixing truth with a few man-made doctrines and traditions?”
- “Will this ‘wisdom’ lead me to the edification, and the saving, of my soul — or is it a spiritual mixture of ‘new age’ spiritism — extra ‘additions’ to Yahuwah’s Word, mixed in with a little bit of truth, thus defiling those who feed upon it?”
- “Will this ‘wisdom’ help me to prepare as a Chaste Bride for the Bridegroom — or is it a side-issue, a distraction, something that is popular among the Foolish Virgins?”
Man-made, spiritual mixtures are among the most subtle and dangerous pitfalls that can rob us, stealing our crown, and can cause us to depart from The Faith (Jude 1:3). Spiritual mixtures, mixing the false with the true, can twist and pervert the truth of God’s Word, causing confusion, and ultimately cause us to practice a lie, instead of the truth!
We must consider carefully what it is that we are taking in as ‘wisdom,’ and diligently guard ourselves against the utter foolishness of “… ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Timothy 3:7).
Notice also, another hidden pitfall seen in the following passage:
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Proverbs 12:15a).
As we begin to dig for the treasure of true wisdom, we will discover that much of what we find appears to be against what we already think is right, and true. We will soon find that some of what we have already learned from others is not true wisdom, but is the rubble and debris of man-made religious doctrines and mixtures! The only guard we have is to read the Scriptures for ourselves, and to personally investigate each Bible doctrine for ourselves, comparing them against what the Scriptures actually say.
As we begin to dig for wisdom’s riches, we will undoubtedly uncover the rubble of our own foolishness, or the foolishness of others, or the foolish rubble of the ‘wisdom of this world.’ We discussed these dangers at length in A Way That Seems Right: Avoiding the Strong Delusion.
Remembering Our Goal
As we seek for wisdom, we must remember our goal: to become ready — ready to go in to the marriage with the Bridegroom! The way we acquire that readiness is to do what Father exhorts: ‘Get wisdom!‘ For it is by the wisdom of our obedience to Yahuwah’s Word, that Father enables us to be ready, so that we too might be found among the company of the Wise Virgins.
Let us therefore stay close to our Saviour, seeking His merciful grace to help us listen to and learn His true wisdom. Let us remember this wonderful characteristic of the Wise Virgins: studying the Bible for ourselves, and then hearkening, listening to, and following the counsel found in the holy Scriptures. Those who do this, are well on their way to walking in the way of wisdom, and will be ready for the Bridegroom!
The next article is this series is: Characteristics of The Wise Virgins: Part 3
- Acquiring A Teachable Heart
- The Key to Gaining Understanding
- The Holy Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth
- Seven Biblical Guidelines for Studying the Bible: Using Scripture to Interpret the Scriptures
- Steps To Obtaining Wisdom