Life is not easy especially in today’s world – pandemic, wars, famine, calamities, health issues, relationship breakdowns and the list goes on.
I often think that mankind needs more wisdom to make the right choices so life will be better. Wisdom is a gem that money cannot buy yet it enables us to live a life beyond fame and fortune.
When God asked Solomon what he wants Him to give him, Solomon ‘wisely’ asked for wisdom. And so wisdom was given him. What can we learn from Solomon about wisdom?
Do you want to be wise? Here are some tips from the wisest person on earth. Why was he wisest? Because he prayed for wisdom to be a good king and God gave him what he asked for!
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel 2 for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior; doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple; knowledge and discretion to the young— 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
As Psalms are mostly credited to King David, Proverbs are to his son, King Solomon. Solomon was known to be very wise because he asked God for wisdom so he could rule his people wisely. More than wisdom, God gave him long life, riches and glory. There’s no king like him before or after his reign.
As reading Psalms enlightens the soul, reading Proverbs enlightens the mind. What is the secret of the king whose wisdom came from God, the source of true wisdom? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge(Proverbs 1:7).
When/if I fear God, I will be prudent; doing what is right, just and fair (v. 3). Prudence means cautiousness. Synonyms: wisdom, good judgment, common sense (sadly not common nowadays).
Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word for simple in Proverbs means a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil. A gullible person is easily persuaded to believe something. Synonyms: naive; over trusting; easily deceived. For me, it’s being childlike and without ability to differentiate right from wrong.
That’s why v. 4 continues with giving knowledge and discretion to the young. A discreet person behaves and speaks in a non-offensive manner. To be discreet is to know ‘how’ to say (or NOT to say) ‘what’ to ‘whom,’ ‘where’ and ‘when.’ Synonyms of discretion are carefulness, caution, guardedness. Discretion = Prudence.
Proverbs are not only for the simple and the young. They are also for the wise. v. 5 says let the wise listen and be wiser even. Let the discerning get guidance. What does it mean to discern? It is to judge well – to see the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, true or false. The wise person is teachable. He becomes wiser because he listens to wise instructions.
The fear of the Lord leads to knowledge, wisdom, discretion, discernment, guidance. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (To despise is to feel contempt or look down. Synonyms: belittle, hate, dislike). The Hebrew words for fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, means an immoral (wicked) person.
I realized that often times, I am foolish when I do not tame my tongue. I was not wise when I kept talking when I should have kept quiet. I was foolish when I did not listen to wise instruction. I learn new things when I am teachable.
Bottom line: Wisdom comes from God and from my own choice – whether to LISTEN the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As I read God’s Word, the Spirit teaches me in the right way to go. He is within me to show me how to live wisely. So help me, God!