“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)
Is wisdom important? When was the last time you complimented friends or family for their wisdom? Has a political candidate ever run on a wisdom platform? As I listen to daily newscasts and assess our current world affairs, I wondered if Jesus views us as “wise” or foolish stewards. Do people, in general, care about wisdom? With that in mind, I input into my search engine, “where is wisdom in the 21st century?” I was overwhelmed by the number and variances in responses—7.6M to be exact. People do care about wisdom! So with that information in hand, we begin a new series entitled, “Desperately Seeking Wisdom” as we direct our attention to the Source and Sustainer of true wisdom—God.
Why do we need wisdom? Wisdom is particularly important for us in our technological society, where we place a strong emphasis on knowledge. Climate change, social oppression and injustices, political strife, the erosion of truth and trust in our traditional institutions—these are just a sample of the problems our world faces. None of these pressing challenges can be navigated unless tempered with biblical wisdom. Only when one abandons what seems wise by human standards to accept without hesitation the “divine viewpoint” as revealed in Scripture by the Holy Spirit can true wisdom be claimed (1 Cor. 3:19-20) .
What is wisdom? Wisdom is generally defined as knowledge guided by understanding. Knowledge without understanding often results in misunderstandings and errors in judgment. But I would expand that secular definition and say that “godly wisdom” is a way of thinking and conduct that is orderly, socially sensitive, and morally upright. It is a way of viewing and approaching life that results in purposeful, God-honoring living (1 Pet. 1:13, 14). While wisdom may be relatively easy to define it, the real challenge lies in how to acquire it.
How do we gain wisdom? Though wisdom cannot be learned, its development begins with the access of knowledge; it must be honed by experience. We can gain wisdom vicariously through the experiences gleaned from others—seeing how they handle situations similar to ones we may face. For wisdom that can only be gained through experience, we might seek mentors, special “tech” groups, and life coaches, to help guide our decision making and problem solving. These are a few examples of how we hope to gain understanding, insight, and ultimately wisdom. However, the best source of wisdom is God (Prov. 2:5, 9-10,12).
The wise person is one who is sensitive to God and who willingly subjects himself to Him. The wise person is one who goes on to apply divine guidelines in everyday situations and guided by God’s will, makes daily choices. It is only in joining the Lord’s words to experience that wisdom can be found or demonstrated (James 1:23-25).
I like Eugene Petersen’s Message translation of our opening text.
“Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding. Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch! Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life; love her—she keeps her eye on you. Above all and before all, do this Get wisdom!”
SELAH: Meditate on the benefits of wisdom found in Proverbs 4:5-10. Journal how God’s wisdom has benefitted you this past week.