Monday, May 24, 2010

wisdom (wiz' dɘm) n.

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Proverbs 8:1-19

TO CHEW ON: "Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire
cannot be compared with her." Proverbs 8:10-11

The story of young King Solomon asking for wisdom above everything else has always intrigued me. How did he know to ask for something so wise? Which prompts me to ask, what exactly is wisdom? How do we know if we've found it? How do we know if we're wise -- or foolish?

My old Funk and Wagnalls College Dictionary defines wisdom: 1] The power of true and right discernment; also conformity to the course of action dictated by such discernment; 2] Good practical judgment; common sense.

Of course the Bible puts its own shades of meaning onto the word. Let's do a little drilling down to see what this most desirable quality is from a biblical perspective.

We'll start with today's reading -- Proverbs 8 -- which is a poem devoted almost exclusively to wisdom. In it wisdom speaks telling the excellence and benefits that she has to offer. We see that wisdom is a focus on the excellent, the right, the true (vs. 6-7). It is righteousness -- not crookedness or perversity (vs. 8). It is associated with prudence, knowledge and discretion (vs 12). The wisdom-seeker may need to expend some effort to gain it (vs. 17) but the search is worth it because of wisdom's lasting results (vs 18-19).

The Bible speaks of wisdom in many other places as well. We learn that:
  • The ability to speak with with wisdom at the right time is a spiritual gift.

These facts about wisdom are wonderful to know. But one needs a whole new batch of wisdom to know how to apply the theory to the challenges of modern life as they relate to:
- parenting
- family relationships
- our jobs (employer/employee relationships; business ethics).
- in the positions we take personally and as churches on moral issues in a society where the only absolute is shifting public opinion.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be a lifelong wisdom-seeker and wisdom-applier. Amen.

MORE: Wisdom test

Test your Bible knowledge about Godly wisdom in an online test.

Here's test of practical wisdom linked by the New York Times.

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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