“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Are you wise? That may be too forward. Do you know someone who is wise? What makes them so? Perhaps it is a way she speaks. She just always has the words to say in every situation. It doesn’t matter what it is, she speaks rightly into it. Perhaps he always knows what to do. In every circumstance, he always seems to know which path forward will be the right one. Regardless of what exactly marks them out as wise, we want to be like people like this. How can we manage that?
In these words here, Solomon is offering some wise counsel to his son on how to achieve that mark for himself. We have the benefit of getting to listen in on the conversation. He has quite a bit to say about the subject, but it all wraps up in this one idea: Wisdom comes from God.
Now, that’s different from the way our culture generally thinks about it. Culturally speaking, wisdom comes mainly from experience. We go out and encounter life firsthand. Then, once we have been through a variety of situations, we gain wisdom. But if you think very hard about it, you can probably think of a person or two who has been through a lot of experiences and is just as unwise as when he started. She doesn’t seem to have learned anything from it at all. So, to simply say that wisdom comes from experience doesn’t ring as true as it is made to sound.
Perhaps we need to update that a bit, then, by saying wisdom comes from properly evaluated experience. This makes a little more sense. When we have been through a particular experience and taken the time to think through things like what actually happened, what we wanted to happen, how we could have gotten from one to the other, and what went wrong to keep that from happening, we will gain some necessary perspective. Do enough of this kind of thinking, and we’ll gradually grow in wisdom.
That may do the trick, but there’s no guarantee. Plenty of folks have thought through what they did and gone right back to do the same foolish things they did before. What will actually do the trick? How can we grow in wisdom? Where does it really come from?
Look again at what Solomon says here. Where does wisdom come from? It comes from the Lord. Wisdom comes from the Lord. It starts with knowing Him. At its core, wisdom is about knowing the Lord and living out of that knowledge. A life of wisdom flows from there. And as Solomon makes clear later, this is a prize worth claiming. It is a prize worth making every sacrifice to obtain. Nothing is so precious as knowing the Lord and the wisdom that comes with it.
The question we really need to ask and answer when it comes to wisdom, then, is this one: How can we know the Lord? It starts with His word. The Scriptures are God’s primary means of self-revelation. If we want to know Him at all, we’ve got to invest ourselves deeply in it. Read it ravenously. Study it intensely. Memorize it diligently. Apply it consistently.
That last part is key. Application. Reading the word is vital, but if we don’t do what it says it won’t do us any good. From there, we begin to talk and listen to Him. This is prayer. He’ll listen when we talk. We need to be sure we listen when He talks. That takes discipline to train ourselves to do it. It takes being silent and still in regular amounts as a part of our life’s rhythm. But, when we do this, wisdom will gradually come to be the result. It will because the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. If we want to be wise, He’s the only place we need to go. He’s the only place we can go. Let’s get going.