In my beautiful friend Jodi’s Bible, Proverbs 4:7 reads:
The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom.
Helpful, right? Does anyone else feel like Solomon seems a little snarky here? Our group reaction to this last night at Home Community was essentially “Gee, thanks a lot for the tip.” I mean, it’s a lot like saying “The way to be cool is to be cool” or chirping “Remember to ____” exactly 30 seconds after someone tells you to remind them of ____ later – accurate, sure, but not exactly helpful. This passage, standing all on its lonesome, seems to require a basic understanding of what wisdom is and how to get it. Which requires wisdom. It’s sort of one big biblical catch 22.
But maybe, just maybe, the beginning of wisdom, or in my Bible, the recognition that wisdom is supreme and worth giving up your life for, starts with discussion. Because as confusing as this little verse is, it did bring up some pretty interesting talk about what wisdom is and how we go about pursuing it.
Through our talk, I decided I like to use the word “perspective” as a synonym for wisdom in this chapter of Proverbs. I think that we as a culture tend to define wisdom as knowledge, as having all the right answers and knowing what to do in all situations- the ability to apply a wealth of accumulated information to the making of good decisions. I’m not sure that’s the whole picture. I think it’s worth thinking about seeking God’s wisdom and understanding as seeking the ability to see the world, your situations, other people, with God’s perspective. Maybe wisdom isn’t learning all there is to know, but learning to become of one mind with the Master, and in doing so, beginning to embody all of the character traits that come along with that – humility, grace, mercy, compassion, love, virtue, honesty, general strength of character. Peace and humility are so closely linked to wisdom in my mind- I think the people I believe are closest to the heart of God are the first to admit that there is a lot they don’t know for sure, but are still somehow able to approach the world with the God lens in place, receiving it with patience, with kindness, with understanding and love.
I’m certainly not saying that I think the quest for knowledge is a bad one. I think the Bible is pretty clear that we should use the resources we’ve been given to search actively and desperately for the truth. However, I think after last night I’m looking at wisdom differently. I’m seeing it as a way of being, a way of viewing life, instead of as an encyclopedicreferencemanuallike eight ball of answers in your brain. The idea of pursuing wisdom as trying to become part of the mind of God, seeing through His eyes, approaching the world with His almighty, just, and perfect perspective – that’s a goal to which I’d like to aspire. That’s a journey I know I’ll never complete, but one that I’m happy to be on.
My prayer for you, and for me, today is that we are able to get a few steps closer to seeing our world, our God, and each other with His wisdom, His perspective. May you look with God’s eyes and love with His heart, and may you be seen by others as He sees you – whole, holy by grace, and wholly loved.
>I don't think that Solomon is being snarky in that verse, necessarily; I think the point is that becoming wise is an activity. Look at the rest of the chapter–it's full of things to do, actions. You won't just automatically become wise with age. But if you decide to pursue wisdom, then you are already beginning to be wise. At least, that's what I think it's saying.
>I agree with you, Aaron – I was sort of being snarky about Solomon being snarky. I do dig that it sounds snarky, since any time the Bible makes me giggle I'm an instant happy camper. Great point about the active pursuit of wisdom… I'm totally with you. "If you decide to pursue wisdom, then you are already beginning to be wise." Well said.
>Reminds me of when Steve Martin said, "How to get a million dollars and not pay any taxes… first you get a million dollars…"