WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 22, 2021
TOPIC: LACK OF UNDERSTANDING
BY T. O. BANSO
“Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding” (Proverbs 10:13 New King James Version).
Phillip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30b New King James Version). The man was honest; he didn’t hide his lack of understanding. He replied, “How can I, when there is no one to instruct me?” (Verse 31 New King James Version).
He then begged Phillip to join him in the carriage and asked him whom the scripture was talking about. Phillip supplied him with the understanding that he lacked. The scripture he was reading was talking about Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:7-8).
Beginning with this scripture, Phillip used many others to tell him the Good News about Jesus. Eventually, the man asked to be baptized in water and Phillip baptized him. This happened because the man received understanding.
Understanding is insight, perception, comprehension, intelligence, or ability to judge. Understanding is very powerful. Lack of understanding is a serious problem. It could be destructive. It could lead someone astray or prevent him from going forward. Lack of understanding makes one grope in the dark. So much havoc has been caused by lack of understanding, including fighting unnecessarily, taking a friend for an enemy and vice versa, and wasting time and other resources.
One of the most beneficial prayer points you can pray is that God should give you understanding. You need to understand who you are and where you’re going, what you are doing, who people are to you, what people are saying or doing, and so forth. You need to understand spiritual things and physical things. Success in life will be determined, a great deal, by your level of understanding.
Perhaps, the Ethiopian eunuch had been struggling to understand that scripture ever before he went to Jerusalem and he was returning without finding an answer. There are some people like him today. But his life changed after the understanding Phillip gave him. “Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding” (Proverbs 10:13 New King James Version).
You need understanding. It is one thing for you to hear the Word of God but another thing to understand. It wasn’t everyone who heard Jesus speak that understood Him. Jesus told the Jews who said that God was their Father, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word” (John 8:42-43 New King James Version). They didn’t understand His speech. They weren’t able to listen! They, probably, only heard Him.
Hearing is different from understanding. The LORD said to the prophet Isaiah, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10 New King James Version). Jesus referred to this scripture in Matthew 13:14-15. Acts 28:26-27 also referred to it.
The disciples of Jesus didn’t understand everything He told them. For instance, they didn’t understand what He meant by saying that they should beware of the leaven or yeast of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:15-21). Matthew 16:6-12 also records this but refers to the leaven or yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. In Luke 12:1, Jesus warned them against the leaven of the Pharisees.
Also, Jesus told His disciples, “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men” (Luke 9:44 New King James Version). However, verse 45 says, “But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying” (New King James Version).
Lack of understanding or misunderstanding can result in making wrong conclusions. Jesus said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17 New Living Translation). Seek to understand others. Don’t rush to make conclusions. If your understanding is wrong, your conclusions will also be.
In Matthew 27, while Jesus was on the cross, He said with a loud voice, “‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Verse 46 New Living Translation). But was the reaction of some people? “Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, ‘Leave him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah will come and save him’” (verses 47-49 New Living Translation). Did you see the lack of understanding? Wrong understanding, wrong conclusions, and wrong actions!
Understanding is very important. Lack of it is dangerous. Proverbs 16:22 says, “Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation uses “discretion” instead of “understanding.” It says, “Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it, but discipline is wasted on fools.”
Many times, wisdom and understanding are used together in the Bible and personified or used with similar attributes. There is a relationship between the two. Proverbs 10:13 says, “Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding” (New King James Version).
In the time of Moses, God filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, and in all manners of workmanship (Exodus 35:30-31). God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore (1 Kings 4:29).
Paul prayed for the Ephesian church that God would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of their understanding or hearts being enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18). I pray that the Lord fill you, too, with understanding. I also pray that the eyes of your understanding or heart be enlightened. You will not be devoid of understanding, especially on issues vital to destiny and eternity.
Proverbs 17:18 says, “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend” (New King James Version). Lack of understanding makes some people put themselves in needless troubles such as standing guarantor for someone they don’t know very well or they have not tested. A man of understanding will exercise much caution.
Also, the lack of understanding makes a man engage in sexual immorality. A man who lacks understanding will patronize an adulterous woman or engage in fornication. A man of understanding will run away like Joseph did (Genesis 39:7-12). He will not stand listening to seductive speech or watching seductive gestures. Solomon said, “And [I] saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, a young man devoid of understanding, passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night” (Proverbs 7:7-9 New King James Version).
Some men today are like this young man. They think they are smart and they can have their cake and eat it. They believe they are very intelligent and will escape unhurt. But they are fooling themselves. They lack understanding.
See how Proverbs 7 ends the story of this young man: “With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life” (Proverbs 7:21-23 New King James Version). This young man was devoid of understanding, and he paid dearly for it.
Engaging in either fornication or adultery shows a lack of understanding. It is self-destructive. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (New King James Version).
Don’t be a man devoid of understanding. Why harm yourself? “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 6:27-29 New King James Version). It doesn’t end here. There is the ultimate danger. Why take a journey to hellfire? The sexually immoral, including fornicators, adulterers, and homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God but end in hellfire (Revelation 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21).
Moreover, lack of understanding makes a young man lazy or frivolous. As Proverbs 12:11 says, he who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. What is the consequence of lack of understanding as shown in laziness or frivolity?
Proverbs 24:30-34 says, “I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (New King James Version).
You need understanding. Proverbs 4:5a says you should get wisdom and get understanding. Also, verse 7b says you should get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding. A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5). Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you (Proverbs 2:11). Get understanding.
Get understanding. You can make efforts to gain understanding but trust in the Lord for it (Proverbs 3:5-6). He is the only one who can give the ability to understand. Receive understanding by exposing yourself to the Word of God. “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130 New King James Version). As the scriptures have shown us, God gives understanding. Paul prayed for Timothy that the Lord would give him understanding in all things (2 Timothy 2:7). Ask God for understanding. And ask the Holy Spirit for understanding.
May you get understanding. May the Lord fill you with it.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, give me understanding in all things. Holy Spirit, let me not keep hearing but understand. I shall not be devoid of understanding in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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