The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. (Proverbs 4:7 ESV)
What is wisdom? It is so important that God devotes this chapter in Proverbs to outline the importance of wisdom. Advice to me and other readers: Read all of chapter 4 because the following does not do the chapter justice in 500 words.
What is wisdom? In our society we are consumed with “getting facts”, increase knowledge, etc. often at the expense of what is called common sense–book smart, life stupid. As a Christian I see and know that this is prevalent in the wider Church. There are folks who are so book smart that they are arguing finer points—kind of like what Jesus said about the Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23 ESV) But there is another, more insidious swing of the pendulum: Ignoring or avoiding study of the scriptures so as to not be like a Pharisee. Study or gaining biblical knowledge is important to create a base to “get wisdom.” Wisdom is gained by the Word of the Lord; by cultivating the Fear of God; by increasing knowledge of the “precepts” of the Word. If I want wisdom, it is not found in age and experience—it is something that God says “go get”—implying that it can be found if we diligently seek it. Once found, get the insight from it—that jewel mined from the fruitful ore contained in wisdom. So, what are we to do? 1) Make a decision to read the Scriptures INTENTLY in 2017. No letting eyes skim or gloss over the verses. 2) Meditate on scripture; ask yourself “I wonder why that is there?” and think about it—a lot. 3) Journal for yourself but share with others. 4) If you are not wrestling perhaps you need to find something to wrestle with in the Scriptures. 5) READ! Pick up a theology centered book sometime in 2017 and see what you really believe of God compared to somebody else. 6) When practicing hospitality don’t always let the focus on God stop at praying over the food.
Father: James reminds us to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. Good advice, strong advice. But I can spin this so that I am more focused on doing and less so on hearing. As a disciple I need to do but I need to learn more—if only to be a more effective “doer.” I want to be ready day in and day out to speak of “the Hope that is in me”—but I really want to have a good good grip on that Hope and why do I hope? You are faithful to drop nuggets of knowledge in front of me—I gather them up, put them in storage and not only build a knowledge base but a wisdom base as well—resulting in the precious jewel of insight—and broadening my understanding of the Gospel—continuing to multiply praise and gratefulness to You my Savior. Amen.