Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. -James 1:5 (ESV)

I have been recently watching a Bible teacher on TV, studying with him as he goes through the book of Proverbs. So often, I will randomly read some of them and pick one or two out to expound upon. Recently, I’ve been going through them one chapter at a time — which has proved very valuable to me in my walk as a Christian.

Solomon could have had basically anything he wanted from God, but chose wisdom. Most would likely have selected money or power, but he chose instead to ask for wisdom. God was clearly impressed with his choice and granted him not just wisdom, but great wealth as well. Of course we know that Solomon, being human, had his flaws and would eventually succumb to worldly things that diminished him. But he knew enough, at least in the beginning, to opt for wisdom.

The book of Proverbs (written largely by Solomon) has a lot to say about wisdom. Actually, God has a lot to say about it and Solomon selected to record much of it for posterity.

Worldly people would have us believe that somehow modern enlightenment has freed us from the restrictions that morality (God’s law) imposes upon us. We are then, by that reasoning, free to sleep with [or live with in a sexual relationship] anybody we want to — without the shackles of commitment that many fear would be placed on them in a marriage. Of course, that always leaves us wanting something more that we often can’t quite be honest enough with ourselves to identify. Sexual gratification outside of marriage isn’t gratifying for long and usually comes with a very hefty price tag attached to it. That price tag is often a ticket to destruction. This is not destruction at the hands of God, I’m talking about self-destruction that we are often so good at as human beings. The law is not designed to confine us, but to set us free in God’s love to be the people He intends us to be.

Sometimes I like to pick up Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” to see what his take on a particular scripture is. I offer here his rendition of Proverbs 8:1-11:

Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling?
    Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
    at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
    where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
    everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
    You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
    I’m telling you how to live at your best.
My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—
    I can’t stand the taste of evil!
You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
    not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
    truth-ready minds will see it at once.
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
    and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
    nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.

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