By David Faust
What does wisdom sound like? An undesired lecture from your parents? A sermon dry as a bowlful of sawdust?
We need to clear out any negative and inaccurate perceptions we hold about wisdom. The book of Proverbs calls us to fill our minds with godly common sense. It challenges us to replace our faulty ideas and flawed perspectives with the positive, practical, down-to-earth good judgment that characterizes true wisdom.
Christ doesn’t call his followers to be naïve, gullible, and weak-minded. If you truly want to be street-smart, get acquainted with the Creator who built the street. If you really want to know how the world works, familiarize yourself with the one who made it.
The book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters—one chapter for each day of the month—filled with godly wisdom.
If we heed it, godly wisdom will help us make smart decisions. The proverbs are “for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight” (v. 2). In today’s complex world, who couldn’t use more insight and discernment?
Godly wisdom helps us make ethical choices. The proverbs are “for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair” (v. 3). There’s a lot of talk today about justice, but true justice isn’t a human invention; it’s anchored in the nature of God. The Bible shows us what is “right and just and fair.”
Godly wisdom helps us mature. “For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (vv. 4, 5).
Wisdom isn’t some esoteric private knowledge possessed by the spiritual elite. True wisdom equips us for life in the real world; it encourages critical thinking and thrives in the public arena. “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wallshe cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech” (vv. 20, 21).
The True Appearance of Wisdom
Where can we see true wisdom? In the teen who says “no” to sexual immorality. In the businessman who prays for guidance before making a tough decision. In the child who listens carefully to her grandmother’s advice. In the church’s elders who prayerfully seek God’s direction. In the seasoned coach who puts his arm around a player and teaches him how to correct the mistake he made on the field. In the husband and wife who plan a household budget that honors God with disciplined spending and generous giving. In the college student who evaluates what she hears in the classroom by filtering it through God’s Word.
We can see wisdom in the wide-eyed joy of a new Christian learning to obey God’s Word for the first time, and in the counsel of a long-time believer who has walked through many dark valleys with the Lord. Wisdom is a priceless treasure worthy of lifelong pursuit. No wonder Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but foolsdespise wisdom and instruction” (v. 7).
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
THELOOKOUT’s Bible Reading Plan for July 29, 2012
2 Thessalonians 3:14–18
2 Chronicles 34—36
1 Timothy 1:1–11
Ezra 1, 2
1 Timothy 1:12–20
1 Timothy 2
Ezra 4, 5
1 Timothy 3:1–10