A Wise Man is Strong
1. This proverb is usually linked together with verse six forming a unit of thought concerning the power of wisdom. (the 21st wise saying)
2. However, each part of this couplet stands alone and makes an independent statement about wisdom.
3. Verses 3-4 taught us that wisdom results in security and prosperity.
4. Verse five teaches us that wisdom results in strength.
5. This thought is so obvious and so important, that it is found in various other sayings and proverbs outside of the Bible too:
a. knowledge is power
b. brains are better than brawn
1. Wisdom results in strength. A wise man is strong.
a. Strong defined:
• It can mean might, power, strength, force…
• It is also used of a stronghold, fortification; a place or structure which is a safe place to reside against attacks.
b. The strength of which Solomon writes is not physical strength.
• A wise man does not necessarily have a physically strong body.
• He may be quite weak and puny physically. He may not be able to press 50 pounds… but with wisdom he is strong.
• Solomon is speaking about strength in another sense:
» It could refer to inner strength… or spiritual strength.
» It could also refer to being in a position of strength and power.
» Solomon seems to use the term here in a very generic sense: Strength in general: Material, physical, personal, social, political, or spiritual.
• Wisdom results in strength in lots of different settings.
c. This also implies the opposite: That a lack of wisdom (folly; ignorance) results in weakness.
• Prov. 19:2 – Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good.
» Young men have lots of enthusiasm, zeal, ambition…
» However, they don’t have the wisdom that comes with hands on experience, practice, and even failure.
» Enthusiasm without knowledge or wisdom can result in disaster. That’s why God has ordained “elders” to rule in the church… not the youth.
• Desire and zeal without knowledge are not good for the Christian life either.
» A new believer often thinks that if he is going to get busy and DO something great for God… and often before he really has the understanding and knowledge to know what it is that actually pleases the Lord!
» The believer who has no knowledge of HOW to have victory over sin… will end up in failure… and sin! Read Romans 7.
» Prov. 10:21 – “The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.”
» There are serious consequences for a lack of wisdom.
» Rushing into a decision or rushing into anything without knowledge… without thinking it through, leads to failure.
» Zeal and good intentions will not compensate for poor choices or foolish behavior based on a lack of knowledge.
• Prov. 1:29-31 – “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.”
» This leaves a person in a very weakened condition.
» Nothing good comes from ignorance and a lack of knowledge.
» A wise man is strong… and an ignorant man is weak.
2. This principle is universal in its scope.
a. It is applicable in virtually every facet of life.
b. It applies equally well to young and old, male and female, and to the rich and the poor.
c. Wisdom is strength in every setting… on every continent… and to every group.
d. Prov. 4:7 – It’s not surprising therefore that Solomon states: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.”
• Principle: First; the best; the foremost; the choicest.
3. Consider some of the WAYS in which wisdom results in strength
a. Prov. 4:6 – Wisdom preserves and protects. That’s strength.
b. Prov. 21:22 – A wise man knows HOW to handle a situation properly.
• As a result, that puts him in a position of strength and power.
• Wisdom provides the “know-how” to get things done which in turn results in a position of strength.
• Wisdom also provides the discernment to know which plan to use… which method to employ…
c. Prov. 8:14 – Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. (vs.12 – Wisdom is speaking and says, “I have strength.”)
• A strong man might carry stone all day long from point A to point B. He may glory in his strength and glory in the size of the rocks he can carry.
• But a much smaller and weaker man who invented a wheelbarrow may be able to carry many MORE rocks than the stronger man.
• Wisdom says, “I have strength” and means it.
• Wisdom often makes difficult jobs much easier.
• Wisdom makes strong men out of weak men.
• Wisdom can put a weak man in a position of strength.
4. A wise man can accomplish through wisdom that which a strong man could not accomplish through his superior physical strength or might.
a. II Sam. 20:15-22 – One wise woman prevented her whole city from being destroyed and hundreds of people from being needlessly slaughtered.
b. Ecc. 9:13-15 – Solomon tells a story of a small city surrounded by a powerful king and his army. But the city was delivered from destruction by means of one wise old man.
c. From that Solomon concluded the following:
• Ecc. 9:16 – Wisdom is better than strength.
» The wise man sharpens his ax and can cut more wood faster than a man who may be physically stronger than he is… who has not employed wisdom and is using a dull ax.
• Ecc. 9:18 – Wisdom is better than the weapons of war.
» Psalm 144:1 – True wisdom teaches the soldier to rely upon the Lord. Wisdom is being taught by God to use what you have in the most effective way.
d. Ecc. 7:19 – “Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.” In other words, one wise man is stronger than 10 mighty men in the safety and security of the city!
1. Wisdom and knowledge are power and strength.
a. Thus, increasing in knowledge increases strength.
b. Don’t ever stop learning.
c. Information and knowledge is always valuable… and it continues to increase one’s position of strength.
2. For example, consider espionage.
a. The more knowledge and information we have about our enemy, the stronger position we are in to deal with threats from them… and in negotiation with them.
b. When it comes to espionage, knowledge is strength. Increasing in knowledge increases our strength.
3. This is true in the business world too: Knowledge is power.
a. The business man who has knowledge usually does well.
b. If he knows his customers and what they want; if he knows his product; if he knows the marketplace; if he knows how to improve his product… he will do well.
c. And the man who increases knowledge increases his business!
• If he keeps up with the latest trends…
• If he stays informed as to all the new technology available…
• If he stays knowledgeable about political issues, new laws and government rules, etc.
• As he increases in knowledge, he will increase in strength.
4. II Pet. 3:18 – In the spiritual realm, as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are growing in strength, spiritually.
a. Ignorance of the Bible is our downfall.
b. But those who increase in spiritual wisdom are also strengthened with all might (Col. 1:9, 11).
c. There is clearly a connection between spiritual knowledge and spiritual strength.
d. The believer who increases in spiritual wisdom and knowledge is strong—but not strong in himself. He is strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
e. The spiritually wise man recognizes his own weakness and therein lies his true spiritual strength.
f. He finds Christ to be his stronghold… his strong tower, into which he finds refuge; he is surrounded with the power of God on all sides, by which he is kept by the power. Wisdom tells him to ABIDE in that place… and therein lies his strength.
g. Christ is his wisdom. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And the indwelling LIFE of Christ is his strength.
5. Prov. 18:15 – The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
a. Seek after wisdom. Get all the wisdom you can get. Seek it until you GET it!
b. It puts you in a stronger position, and in a safer and more secure place.
c. It enables you to accomplish so much more… and avoid so many mistakes.
d. A wise man is strong… and the wiser he gets, the stronger he grows.