Wisdom and Actions

Monday, April 23, 2012

I came across a verse in Matthew today that I should have memorized a long time ago. It is one of those verses that sounds profound; yet I'm still thinking about what it really means. In my New International Version, it is this:

But wisdom is proved right by her actions. Matthew 11:19(b)

Jesus is talking about the differences between his ministry and John the Baptist's, and how they were both sent by God. He points out that some people refuse to believe, no matter how God sends the message:

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He is a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions. Matthew 19:18-19

Isn't it interesting that there is a female pronoun in that last part - her actions? My Bible explains that it is about God being vindicated by the lasting works of Jesus and John. Luke's version of Jesus' words is: "But wisdom is proved right by all her children." (Luke 7:35) According to my Study Bible, this means that the ministries of both John and Jesus were godly, despite their differences. And still, in reference to these men, and God . . . the use of the word her.

It makes me think that there is even more; that there is an application for me, right now, today. Perhaps it is for me to remember that wisdom, or following God's will, will show itself to be right when I actually get up and put action behind the words.

It helps to look at Matthew 11:19(b) in multiple translations:

But wisdom is proved to be right by her works. (CEB)

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. (MSG)

And wisdom is justified by her works. (ASV)

God's wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results. (GNT)

But a man is proved to be wise by what he has done. (Worldwide English)

But wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. (LEB)

But wisdom is justified by her children. (KJV)

Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what it does. (CEV)

Yet wisdom is justified and vindicated by what she does (her deeds) and by her children. (AMP)

These translations show me that this verse is about God's wisdom and how we apply it. God is shown to be wise by his actions, and so are we. It's something I'm still pondering. It makes me think of a boat, all tied up and looking at the water, just waiting to sail.

What do you think about this verse? Is it motivating you to do something?

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15 Responses to “Wisdom and Actions”

  1. interesting!!  and good to think about....thanks!

  2. Love your thoughtful post, Courtney.  These verses stir me.  I put to action last night a tough decision I made, with God's guidance, and your words encourage me. "Wisdom, or following God's will, will show itself to be right when I actually get up and put action behind the words."  Thank you and bless you!  

  3. Hi Courtney, found you on Tesha's Treasures.  I've been learning to become a more spiritual person as I move through grieving our 3rd child.  I look forward to reading your blog!

  4. What hits me most deeply here is the thought that our actions must reflect the wisdom.  How often do I act first and seek wisdom in dealing with the fallout?

  5. Lynn Wofford ArmstrongApril 23, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    A hymn comes to mind:  "They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love", so thank you, Court.  I needed that!

  6. That feminine pronoun is SO interesting. I wonder if it is referring to the Shekinah?  The glory of God referred to the Feminine. This encourages me that God is so beyond our little boxes. Isn't that wonderful?

  7. Jennifer - I'm humbled that you found some encouragement here. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Exactly, Jen. That is what I do all the time! Trying to learn :)

  9. Hi Elizabeth - So glad you stopped by. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I pray that you feel the Lord's arms around you today.

  10. "Putting actions to the words."  Yes, that shows wisdom.  God's gentle leading encourages our obedience.  In turn, the sprout of wisdom grows and cross pollination begins to grow in other areas of our life. 

  11. The feminine pronoun is interesting but I find myself writing in the feminine when I talk about hope and joy and love too. You have given me a lot to ponder and will be more alert to my actions and wondering if they portray wisdom.

  12. Thanks for your post, this verse has been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks now.
    I have to admit I'm coming at this verse from the polar opposite! If we deign to defy God's pathway's our "folly" won't produce children, but rather create failure.
    I'm thinking of some local decisions that have been overturned in the interest of maintaing the status quo rather than seeking to face up to where God's leading.

  13. In researching I found an explanation that sounds true to my Spirit. It gives the parable of a young man coming by a fruit tree and eating the fruit. Satisfied for the present. Then came another with wisdom. He ate some fruit but then took the seed and buried it at his home. The tree grew and bore fruit and then man with wisdom had fruit even when the other man didn't. They started out with the same need being met but wisdom thinks ahead. As it was with John. People were satisfied for the moment. Jesus being the good seed; if we bury this seed, then we can have the advantage of having what we need when others don't. I believe more in spiritual fruit and knowledge.

  14. When the Torah (Wisdom) is put into practice (in our behavior), the outcome (results) show it to be upright (just, righteous). The fruit identifies the tree. If the results produce bad fruit (behavior), it is because Torah was ignored, and substituted with men's alterations (wormwood).