Today's Insight from Chuck Swindoll

[Friday] we looked at the foundation of a stable household: the first layer is wisdom, from the Hebrew hakam. This kind of wisdom is the commitment to translate our knowledge of God and His ways into practical living. We dedicate ourselves to making decisions that carry out His plans for our lives, our household, and the world.

Upon this bedrock, the sages erected the structure through understanding.

2. By understanding it is established.

The Hebrew term for “understanding” is tebuna, which refers to intelligence or discernment. This word describes our ability to observe, gain insight, and then discern as a means of devising a plan or making a decision. As stated before, we do our homework, investigate, seek multiple perspectives, use common-sense logic, and then formulate ideas.

The Hebrew word rendered “established” carries the idea of forming something over time. The root word means “to be firm,” although the context always involves forming or fashioning. Frequently, the idea of preparation is primary. As one lexicon stated, “The root meaning is to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty.”1

Taking the two terms together, we see both process and progress taking place. Understanding is insight that comes by study. It is progressive: it increases over time as lessons are learned from mistakes and success builds upon past victories. As understanding develops, the house comes into existence. If we continue our building metaphor, understanding erects the walls, puts the roof on top, and installs everything needed to make the house suitable for move-in.

In terms of application, I suggest this describes the practical, professional means of provision and security for the household. The home’s existence becomes a certainty as the father and mother do their respective parts to earn a reliable income and to protect the household from loss. This kind of understanding sees to the practical needs of the family. A home is established as each member faithfully does what he or she must do, as each fulfills his or her responsibility.

When one or more members of the family fail to do what must be done, the household struggles. Conflict ensues. Fear and resentment take up residence, causing friction and creating fractures. The very existence of the home becomes threatened.

  1. John N. Oswalt, “964 kun,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 433.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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