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Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture says that, ". . . the children of Issachar,
Grace to you.
which were men
that had understanding of
the times, to know what Israel ought to do;" (1 Chronicles 12:32). Does this verse jump out at you as it does me? They had an understanding of the times, and knew what Israel ought to do. In these times, wouldn't you like to have an understanding of the time to know what you should do? to know what your family should do? to know what the church should do? and to know what the nation should do?
The Book of Job, possibly the oldest book of the Bible, tells us, ". . . Behold, the fear of the Lord, that
is
wisdom; and to depart from evil
is
understanding" (Job 28:28).
This book tells us that "the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (Job 32:8).
The Book of Deuteronomy tells us that Moses said, "Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you" (Deuteronomy 1:13). So understanding is one of the qualities we should look for in our elected officials. Moses tells the nation of Israel that keeping and doing the statutes and judgments of God are "your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation
is
a wise and
understanding people" (Deuteronomy 4:6). At one time in our history, the United States kept the statutes and judgments (justice) of the LORD and the nations of the world wondered at the people here.
The Scripture speaks of Daniel and Azariah, Hananiah, and Mishael, "And in all matters of wisdom
and
understanding, that the king required of them, he found them ten times
better than all the magicians
and
astrologers that
were
This was a time when the nation no longer was a wise and understanding people, but the individuals who were wise and understanding made a difference in the nations they were living in. Young people, Daniel and his friends were probably 17 to 18 years old when this was written of them.
May the Lord grant us wisdom and understanding in this time. Mordecai speaks to us: " and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for
such
a time as this?"
(Esther 4:14).
What is understanding? Job defines it: ". . . to depart from evil
is
understanding"
(Job 28:28). Proverbs 9:10 tells us, "The fear of the LORD
is
the beginning of
wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy
is
understanding."
Other Proverbs tells us: "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:7).
"The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but
it is
abomination to fools
to depart from evil" (Proverbs 13:19).
"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD
men
depart from evil" (Proverbs 16:6).
"The highway of the upright
is
to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way
preserveth his soul" (Proverbs 16:17).
It is by understanding that we depart from evil. It is by fear of the LORD that we depart from evil. God makes a highway for us to depart from evil.
Think about Joseph. When Potiphar's wife tempted him, what did Joseph do? He said, ". . . how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9), and ". . . he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out" (Genesis 39:12). Joseph demonstrated knowledge of the Holy (what is a sin against God) and departed from evil on that highway (he fled and got him out!). Joseph demonstrated understanding.
There are at least three Hebrew words and three Greek words which are translated
understanding.
We will look at the Hebrew word
biyn
and the corresponding
Greek word
sunesis
(
understanding
from the next several verses are derived
from these words).
Moses tells the children of Israel, "Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you" (Deuteronomy 1:13). 1 Chronicles 12:32 tells us of ". . . the children of Issachar,
which were men
that had
understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." Proverbs 28:2 tells us, "For the transgression of a land many
are
the princes thereof: but by a man of
and
knowledge the state
thereof
shall be prolonged."
God told His people to take wise and understanding men to be their rulers. Those who have understanding of the times know what ought to be done. God raises up men of understanding and knowledge when He wills to prolong the state thereof. On the other hand, there are many princes in a land where there are transgressions.
The Lord Jesus asks His disciples, "Are ye also yet without understanding?" (Matthew 15:16b and Mark 7:18). The Pharisee who Jesus said was not far from the kingdom of God rightly answered, "And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love
his
neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33).
Jesus exhibited understanding when only 12 years old: "And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke 2:47).
Romans 1:31 tells us that one of the characteristics of those God has given over to a reprobate mind is being "[w]ithout understanding."
Is your interest piqued? Shall we continue to look at
understanding
Let us continue to look at the character quality called understanding. To be without understanding is to be like an animal.
?
Agur, the son of Jakeh, speaks in Proverbs 30:2-3, saying, "Surely I
am
than
any
man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom
nor have the knowledge of the holy." (Remember knowledge of the holy is understanding - Proverbs 9:10.)
The LORD in speaking to Job describes the ostrich: "She is hardened against her young ones, as though
they were
not hers: her labor is in vain without fear; Because
God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding" (Job 39:16-17).
The LORD in speaking to David says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse,
or
the mule,
which
have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and
bridle, lest they come near unto thee" (Psalms 32:8-9).
The young woman without understanding is the one whose heart is hardened against her young ones. She will be more concerned for herself than her children. The young man without understanding is rebellious and must be under bit and bridle to come near to rightful authority.
I suspect the first step in gaining understanding is Agur's acknowledging that one doesn't possess it. We will begin looking at how one gains understanding.
Daniel 1 tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar ordered some of the people and princes of Judah to be carried to Babylon during the first deportation in 606 BC. Those chosen were "Children in whom
was
no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom,
and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science . . ." (Daniel 1:4). Daniel 1:6 tells us, "Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah." Daniel 1:17 tells us concerning them, "As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." Daniel 1:20 tells us, "And in all matters of wisdom
and
understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians
and
astrologers that
were
in all his realm."
How did Daniel get understanding? How did the three get understanding? How do we get understanding? Psalm 119:27 cries: "Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works."
"Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with
my
whole heart" (Psalm 119:34).
"Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandment" (Psalms 119:73).
"I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies
are
 (Psalms 119:99). Daniel could certainly confess this.
"Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way" (Psalms 119:104). He could confess this also.
"I
am
thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies"
(Psalms 119:125).
"The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalms 119:130).
"The righteousness of thy testimonies
is
everlasting: give me understanding,
and I shall live" (Psalms 119:144).
"Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word" (Psalms 119:169).
I wouldn't be surprised to find that Daniel wrote Psalm 119. Whether or not he did, the writer shows us how to get understanding and gives us some idea how important understanding is. Young people, the four were chosen for understanding science. Beware of "science falsely so called:" (1 Timothy 6:20).
in all his realm" (Daniel 1:20).
understanding
more brutish
as
my meditation"
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Ekklesia,