Wisdom is more than knowing right things, it involves doing right things. It is what we do with what we know that really counts.
Wisdom is often seen as good understanding in action. A little everyday example will suffice now - we will see other serious examples later. “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
How can be become wise?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning [or principle] of wisdom… Proverbs 9:10.
The word ‘beginning’ in this sentence means ‘principle’; it is the thread that runs through true wisdom. ‘Fear’ here means a deep respect for, or reverence of, God. The opposite of wisdom is ‘foolishness’. In Psalm 53:1 we are told: The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God’. In his innermost being, in his motives and thoughts, the fool ignores the fact that he must at some point answer to God.
- “He that walks with wise men becomes wise; but a companion of the foolish …” Proverbs 13:20.
Choose friends carefully. Companionship is vitally important. Who do we hang out with? If it is with the “in crowd”, we will be in danger and in trouble.
Bad types will drag us down. It is like a law of life: “The easiest always happens”- water always runs downhill. We will drop to their level. Solomon tells us (in the verse above) to associate with wise people in order to become wise.
At the age of twelve, Jesus was found among the teachers, hearing them and asking questions – see Luke 2:46-47. Then it says that they were astonished at his understanding and answers. [He was of course the Lord of glory, God over all blessed for ever, but He was here as a real man, providing us a model for our behaviour in all stages of life.] This shows us that by the age of twelve, a person should be starting to take life seriously.
Wisdom is not just for the great, or the educated, or the rich. It is available to us all. Ordinary folk like you and I can become wise. Let us look at Proverbs 30:24-28 where we find little, weak creatures that are wise.
Verse 24: “There are four things little upon the earth, and they are exceedingly wise: the ants, a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer.”
The expression “provide” [gather] their food in summer” means they take advantage of every opportunity, they use the good times to prepare for the bad times. While we have our health, let us read the Bible, attend Bible studies, listen to good speakers. As we get older life becomes busier; we have more responsibilities and other things take up our time.
The Scriptures speak of Christ, they point to Him. As we see our need of a Saviour, repent, and own Him as Saviour and Lord, our lives are changed for the better. As we continue to read the Bible and pray, we grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We can also enlarge our understanding of God’s ways, of His plans, and of what is coming for this world and for ourselves. That is real understanding. The more we get of it, the more we want. As we are able to see the whole panorama of God’s ways with mankind, the Scriptures become the more exciting, the more meaningful. ‘To everyone that has [more] shall be given”, and he shall be in abundance”, Matthew 25:29.
I knew a Christian who worked day and night in his shop. He promised himself that he would study his Bible when he retired. And when he retired? he became very ill. He had the hiccups! We think it is funny when it lasts for a few minutes. His lasted all day and every day for years! It troubled him even at night. He had not gathered his food in the summer, and when the “winter” came, he was ‘hungry”. Lying in a hospital bed, you cannot call to mind that which you have not become familiar with.
Verse 26 of Proverbs 30: “The rock- badgers are but a feeble folk, yet they make their house in the cliff”. These animals are something between a guinea-pig and a rabbit. They are wise because they live high up, above the troubles and enemies down on the plains. The lions and other hunters do not bother with them.
A Christian should keep away from [be above] the temptations and enemies around. Go to safe places – the homes of true Christians; attend their gatherings, and so have a safe “dwelling in the cliff”.
Verse 27: “The locusts [grasshoppers] have no king, yet they go forth, all of them, in bands.” Big organisations in this world need a chain of command – directors, down to foremen and leading hands; the military may have more than twelve layers of command. But Christians have one Lord who is unseen. In the early church in the Acts, there was no “boss” and no Pope, but great things were achieved.
Verse 28: “You take hold of the lizard with the hands, yet she is in king’s palaces.” A harmless little creature, but she has access to the best places. A Christian has access to the presence of the Lord, and to the throne of grace. All these folk are exceedingly wise.
From 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, we are told that God has chosen things that look weak to bless people and to also set aside the great or strong things in this world. In verse 18, “the word [i.e. the meaning] of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us that are saved it is God’s power”.
And in verse 21, “… God has been pleased by the foolishness of the preaching* to save those that believe”. *Here the meaning is “what is preached” is foolish to the wise people of the world – that Jesus suffered and bore the sins of many on the cross, and died, and rose again, that we might be justified before God, and ascended up; and that as a result the Holy Spirit was sent, and is received by all those who believe. It is by the indwelling of the Spirit that we are introduced into the one body, the church, united to Christ the Head in heaven. “Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom” – see verse 24.
- Finally, we can ask for wisdom. “If any one of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all freely and reproaches not, and it shall be given to him; but let him ask in faith, nothing doubting” - James 1:5-6.
M.M. April 2012