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Pastor Marc Likins

The book of Proverbs is the most famous wisdom literature in the world. Millions of people for thousands of years have turned to this book for guidance and instruction. But very few ever stop to think about wisdom in general. What is it? Why is it important? How can I get it? These are all vital questions.

Why talk about wisdom?

Proverbs 8:35-36

For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

According to the book on wisdom, this is a matter of life and death.

There has been a shift in learning throughout the ages. Ancient societies unified and regulated their morals and found a way to weave them into daily instruction. Within our society, though, there is a distinction between moral instruction and academia. Morals are under religious communities’ jurisdiction, leaving the classroom for knowledge and facts, like history, English, and science.

Both of these disciplines are important and have their places. Morals answer the questions that do not require prayer and consideration. If you have the opportunity to have an affair, you should refrain. There is no counsel required. There are also times when just the facts are needed, and no questions of morality are involved. What medicine should I take? What insurance coverage is the best for me?

But you also need something that goes further than just the facts and morals. You need to pair them with wisdom. Wisdom will guide you within moral boundaries and remain in line with science and reality. But most decisions you make aren’t going to be made with just knowledge or just principles. Questions like “who should I marry?” and “what career is right for me?” are important decisions that require more than a moral code and more than the facts to make them – you need wisdom.

What is wisdom?

Proverbs 8:10-11

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

This question focuses not on what wisdom isn’t—moral codes and facts—and instead what it is—infinitely valuable.

More than gold, silver, jewels. Better than all the wealth and fame and power in the world. Even greater than anything you desire, like health, family, and prosperity. Wisdom is better than all those things. There are people who seem to have the full package—talent, charisma, intellect, beauty, and connection—but their life is unraveling. Others have none of those things, and yet their life is in order. Wisdom makes the difference.

Proverbs 8:12-16 give us a lot of synonyms that further describe wisdom.

Proverbs 8:12

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

Prudence is knowing how things really are.

Proverbs 8:14

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.