Why start sharing words of wisdom on Wednesdays?
(Other than the fun alliteration, of course!) My blog is all about being anchored. Life is messy. It’s rocky. It’s ups and downs. At the risk of sounding similar to Dickens, we all face good times and bad times. Maybe it’s because my husband is in the Navy and the fact that we live on the coast, but I can’t help but picture life as being out on the water.
Sometimes it’s stormy weather and the waves get rough (loss of friends and family, money problems, uncertainties with jobs, home, marriages, children, school, etc.) and other times life is good and the waters are calm and peaceful. What we’re anchored to can either protect us or bring us harm.
On Wednesdays, I want to share what God shows me to help anchor my faith in Him, the source of all wisdom. Wisdom is something we all need to grow and mature in everyday life. We never get to a point where we say, I’m wise enough; I don’t need any more. And the book in the Bible called Proverbs is full of wise sayings to help advise you through those tricky times when you need some guidance.
This is probably one of the only books in the Bible that you could just grab a verse or two out of context and it doesn’t lose its meaning. Try doing that with other parts of the Bible and you could end up miles away from its intended contextual meaning. Nevertheless I plan on starting at the beginning and working my way through the book, highlighting a verse or handful of verses from a different chapter each week. I hope you’ll join me and share your own thoughts too!
Proverbs was written by a handful of people, the majority written by (and most well known author) being King Solomon. God let Solomon know that He would give him anything he wanted and Solomon chose wisdom and knowledge so that he would be a great leader. Since he didn’t ask for wealth, possessions, death of his enemies, or a long life, God gave him all of those things along with amazing wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). His wisdom was so great that his reputation spread and people came from all over to hear him, including the famous Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10). The same wisdom from back in their day is applicable to us now.
I won’t always highlight 7 verses at once, but to introduce the Book of Proverbs, in chapter 1, Solomon lays out the aspects of wisdom and its benefit to those who follow them, so they’re worth looking at all together. If you don’t have a Bible, let me know and I’d love to hook you up! In the meantime, you can read the verses online here. Wisdom is:
1. Instruction or Training
This is similar to discipline. When a parent disciplines or corrects a child, they are helping to train their child in what is right or wrong. It is important that a child knows not to walk out into a busy street. Too often we see discipline as a negative thing. When done out of love, it’s usually to keep us safe, sometimes to keep us physically safe and other times to protect our hearts and minds.
2. Understanding or Insight
This fits in with discernment, which means to recognize or fully distinguish something, or between things. Solomon noted that wisdom allows him to discern between good and evil. In theory, it seems like an easy thing to do. I mean, I grew up loving the Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty. It is still my favorite classic Disney movie. It’s pretty easy to discern who is good and who is evil. Maleficent even calls herself the “Mistress of all evil.” Kinda makes it hard not to identify good and evil. But it’s a lot different in real life situations. Sometimes evil can be disguised as good so well that we need discernment, understanding, and insight to know the difference.
3. Prudence or Wise Dealing
We don’t really hear the word prudence often anymore. It means acting with care or thought for the future. We probably all know someone who seems to never think before they speak. Their words can hurt because they didn’t use caution or prudence in what they say. It’s the same with actions. Not to get over-dramatic or anything, but our actions today can affect our entire future. I’m not talking about whether or not to eat that extra slice of pizza (although that could affect your weight loss plan). But look at Adam and Eve. Their decision to eat the fruit that God told them not to, affects even us today. Because they weren’t prudent, it brought sin into the world. Okay, that may be an extreme case, but it still applies to us. Decisions we make for our career, children, marriage, etc need to be made using prudence so that they have a wise and positive effect.
4. Shrewdness or Discretion
This aspect of wisdom goes hand in hand with prudence. Shrewd is another word that isn’t used frequently anymore. In thinking of what it means, my mind immediately went to Shakespeare’s, “Taming of the Shrew.” This is most certainly not the same. Shrew and Shrewd are completely different. Now that that’s out of the way, what does it actually mean? Shrewd has to do with being smart or clever in a practical sort of way. The one who uses this form of wisdom takes time to form a plan. They look realistically at life and plan their course, carefully adjusting as necessary along the way.
5. Knowledge or Learning
Whether you are new to your faith or have been in Christ for quite some time, there is always something God wants you to learn. It’s been said that prayer is how we talk to God, but reading the Bible is how God talks to us. And not just reading it, but also really seeking to learn from and study His Word.
Still think wisdom isn’t such a big deal?
Check out the same verses in another translation of the Bible, The Message:
These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
Fearing (along the lines of reverence) God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (vs 7). True wisdom, with instruction, understanding, prudence, shrewdness, and knowledge, is revealed and given by God. It is available to all equally, but only the wise will know that they need it. Fools will reject it. Don’t be foolish.