Wisdom and knowledge are precious gifts:
· Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech. (Proverbs 2:9-12; ESV)
From where does wisdom come? The preceding verses in Proverbs explain:
· If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. (Proverbs 2:3-8)
Wisdom and knowledge are truly sweet. Today, I was observing birds flying back-and-forth, against the wind and with it. They soared and dived in what seemed to be an effortless display of ease.
The wind was so fierce that I could hardly ride my bike against it, yet these birds were clearly reveling in its fierceness. Despite their diminutive size, they seemed to navigate the wind without a hitch. What knowledge did they have that I lacked? Whatever this knowledge was, they were able to convert what I had experienced as a major obstacle into a source of pleasure.
The wisdom that comes from God also enables us to fruitfully navigate the winds of life. Why then isn’t everyone pursuing wisdom?
Wisdom comes with a price-tag. Wisdom requires that, in order to receive her, we must step out into the light of self-examination, something that few are willing and able to do. Proverbs informs us that wisdom comes with a rebuke. It tells us what is wrong with ourselves:
· “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs 1:22-23)
I too hated knowledge. I couldn’t bear to see myself as I truly was. Instead, I too was a “scoffer.” I built myself up by subtly putting others down. I caused pain but had convinced myself that I was entitled to do this.
I certainly wasn’t open to wisdom’s “reproof.” Instead, I wanted to be complemented not disparaged. While I wanted wisdom (and even had convinced myself that I had wisdom), it was unattainable as long as I continued to love the darkness and hid from the light.
Why do we have to go through pain to acquire wisdom? If we cannot see ourselves, we cannot see anyone else. If we refuse to understand ourselves, how are we going to understand others? If we are blind to ourselves, then we remain blind to everything else! Why? Because we are the lens through which we see life! If the lens remains dirty, it will obscure everything we attempt to see.
How did my blindness turn into sight? My Savior had to humble me, showing me how pathetic I had been and how He was my only hope:
· Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace. (Proverbs 3:34-35)
He had to first break me in order to heal me. If we want wisdom, we have to first pray that God will show us how in need we are of His wisdom. I had to be utterly broken in order to see the light and to come to the light:
· The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. (Proverbs 15:31-33)
No pain, no gain. King David recognized this fact and confessed:
· It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (Psalm 119:71-72)
By His precious mercies, I can now say the same thing.