“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” Proverbs 2:1 - 8 ESV
Wisdom is more than knowledge. It's knowing when and how to do the right thing. The word wisdom in Hebrew means "skilled living”. Obtaining that wisdom can come in all sorts of ways; gaining wisdom is an exercise for your mind, body, and spirit. Let's examine a few examples from the verses above.
Attentive ears - Have you ever just sat outside in silence for a few minutes? In a world filled with messages, music, information, YouTube videos, and podcasts, it is easy to allow our ears to be consumed with other people's thoughts. If we’re being honest, wearing Bluetooth earbuds have allowed us to listen to other voices more than ever before. Is that a bad thing? Maybe not. However, it does cause me to wonder if we’re spending enough time listening attentively. Maybe we are missing the wisdom we need because we are not listening when wisdom calls. Yesterday we read how wisdom is calling from the crowded street so we know it’s going to require some attentive listening to hear the call.
Incline your heart - The Bible is full of language about our heart. The heart is our center of being and existence. What is in our heart (metaphorically) comes out of our mouth. Jesus calls us to love God with our whole heart. Solomon says that we should incline our hearts to understanding (v 2). To incline is to bow or move toward something. Therefore, we are moving our heart (our internal being) toward the call of wisdom that we hear with attentive ears.
Call for insight / Raise your voice - I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." As we bend our heart and ear to hear and receive wisdom, we can also raise our voice for understanding. In the same way that Solomon asked God for wisdom, we can raise our own voice for understanding.
Seek it like silver - Silver, gold, and other fine gems were (and still are) highly valued. Solomon reminds us again that wisdom is worth seeking. Just as someone would go searching for hidden gems to gain a great reward, we can seek wisdom and find knowledge. Wisdom has value, and God has plenty of wisdom to share with those who would seek to find that wisdom.
What do we do after we find wisdom? Beyond spending time reading about wisdom in Proverbs, what should we do with that wisdom when we obtain it?
“So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it.” Proverbs 2:20 - 21
Wisdom requires walking in the way of the good; those who are wise will continue on the path of righteousness. We don't just sit on wisdom like a dragon hoarding its gold. Instead, we walk in wisdom for the good of the land. We use wisdom to guide our communities and we invest wisdom for the good of others. Wisdom is a tool that we can use to bring about peace. Peace is only truly peace when it's good for everyone. As you look around your world, do you see peace? If that is not what you see, then our work is not done.
Read and Respond
Read Proverbs 2:9 - 15 and consider the difference between walking in wisdom vs. walking in the ways of darkness. How can you be a source of light and truth in the world? What might it look like to walk in wisdom today?