One of the most puzzling sections of the Bible to me as a new christian was the book of Proverbs. Did you ever run into that dilemma? It just seemed so random; a collection of short sayings, strung into chapters which seemed to have no structure, flow or centrality.
Some time later, while attending a Bible study seminar at Word of Grace Bible Church, pastor Alexey Kolomiytsev said something about Proverbs and its richness which helped me see it in a new light. I don’t even remember exactly what he said but it suddenly dawned on me.
What is true wisdom?
Not in the philosophical sense. Not in theories or ideas. What does it look like? What does it act like? In rich and compelling detail, the book of Proverbs provides the answer.
As I have learned to ask these questions, I have found this book to be incredibly powerful and irresistible. I want to know the answer! I want to know that my feet are planted on solid ground. I want to understand how to make choices in life that will not cause more complexity and struggle for myself and those around me.
In this search for true wisdom I have found it quite interesting that, even more than it talks about the actual definition of wisdom, Proverbs speaks about the priority of seeking and desiring it. The whole first chapter starts out with numerous statements about the benefits, priority and power of wisdom.
Throughout the whole book Solomon talks repeatedly about the wise and his search for wisdom. Reading this, someone may say, “Ok, ok. Its nice that he searches for wisdom. But how does he actually get it??”
Ah but this is precisely where Solomon brings us to the foundation of wisdom’s actual definition. The wise is the one who understands that he is not wise! The one who understands that he needs an external source of revelation to shape his thinking, who knows that without guidance he is lost. To admit this is to admit your own finitude and limitation. To admit this is to set yourself as creation that is dependent on a Creator.
We may all agree on the importance of wisdom but we talk very little of the priority of seeking it. Why is that? Because we already assume that we have it. We are, as Solomon states, the simple ones. Taking life as it comes, we foolishly assume that all that we will ever need we already have in our bright little minds.
We are fools who say in our hearts, “There is no God. Delight in your passions and possessions. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”
Wisdom starts with reality. It starts with a pressing awareness of our own vanity and ignorance. It starts with bowing the knee to the One who holds reality and it continues to run to him in every aspect of life, seeking to be taught and retaught. Wisdom is a direction more than it is a place. Those who think they have arrived have actually arrived nowhere.
Is your life defined by a relentless search for true wisdom?