Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:10-11
What is wisdom? According to dictionary.com, it is the knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. Urban Dictionary says that it is knowing what you know as well as what you don’t know; not simply knowing what to do, but doing it. The Life Application Study Bible defines it as the ability to make good use of knowledge; ability to recognize right from wrong; good judgment.
When I think of wisdom, I picture an old couple sitting in their rocking chairs telling tales of old about how they made it through the hard times in life and came out stronger. Another image is of Albert Einstein and all his mathematical equations written hurriedly on a large blackboard. I’m also reminded of Solomon when he requested that the Lord give him wisdom instead of riches and power. He desired discernment to carry out his job, not for God to do the job for him.
At first, it seems odd for a young boy to ask for wisdom instead of worldly possessions. Of all the things, you want knowledge? But he wasn’t fooled. Solomon knew that true wisdom could only come from God. We grow wise in the Word because our God allows us that. There is nothing we can do for Him without Him.
Wisdom is not a personal achievement.
I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with more than one Bible study in Baltimore that I can attend. In my Wednesday COFFEE study, we are learning about not just wisdom, but lady wisdom. Proverbs speaks a lot on wise women – I’m sure many of you are familiar with Proverbs 31’s epilogue on the wife of noble character. It describes her as hard working, respectful of her spouse, God fearing, encouraging, caring towards others, successful, honored, and worthy. She is a model for all women of Christ. So what does it mean for a woman of faith to be wise?
In Proverbs 8, wisdom is portrayed as a woman that is trustworthy and detests wickedness (vs. 6-7). She is more precious than rubies (vs.8), and her fruit is better than fine gold (vs. 19). Wisdom was present at the creation and works with the Creator (vs. 22-31). God approves of those who listen to wisdom’s counsel (vs. 32-35). The more she fears and respects God, the more she will hate evil. She knows that love for God and love for sin do not coexist. Chapter 9 goes on to tell us even more of Lady Wisdom and her ways. But if you go back to Chapter 7, there is a stark contrast to be found…
Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:24-27
Before wisdom’s call in chapter 8, there is a warning against the adulterous woman in chapter 7. Why did Solomon feel the need to put these two messages side by side? Because we as women need to be reminded of the death our power and influence can bring.
You know it. I know it. Women have the ability to sway men any which direction we desire. Our impact can either be that of the wise woman or that of the adulterous one. This deadly woman is dressed to allure men (vs. 10); her approach is bold (vs. 13); she invites him to her place and cunningly answers his every objection (vs. 16-19); she persuades him with smooth talk (vs. 21) and traps him (vs. 23). Although an adulterer is referred to as one that allures with sex and lust, there are other ways we can become adulterous to those around us by thinking we are wiser in our own ways.
Have you ever tempted a friend to do something wrong with sweet talk? Oh come on! Just one more drink! I won’t tell anyone you drove home! Have you ever lied to your boss to keep your job? I’m sorry I’m late again. It’s just that I had a flat tire and got caught in some unexpected traffic on the way. Have you ever manipulated an employee into giving you some sort of discount that you didn’t deserve because you knew you could squeeze it out of him/her with your cunning words? Well, my friend just told me that she spoke to your supervisor and was given permission to omit the expiration date from the coupon. It should still be good towards my purchase. Do have a quick and hateful response to someone that rebukes you, or do you mind your temper, keep your mouth shut, and try to learn from what was just said?
These examples, plus many more, are how we as women use the ways of this world to get what we want when instead, we should be asking God for guidance like Solomon did. He had every chance to be cunning and deceitful and manipulative, but he chose to ask for a discerning heart in order to live wisely and carry out his duties.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. 1 Corinthians 3:19
Wise women don’t lie to get what they want. They don’t flirt with tempting invitations. And they don’t use sex appeal to win people over. These harmful actions lead to death and destruction (8:9). Lady Wisdom is hard to come by. She’s desired by all, yet so difficult to find. She’s pure, strong, truthful, and bold in her faith. Her confidence comes from belonging to Christ, not by the materials that belong to her. Be the ruby. Be the diamond in the rough waiting to shine for Christ in this world so dark.
If we are to claim our position as followers of Christ, we must do things His way. It’s time to seek His Word, His Truth, His Knowledge, not the wisdom those around us think they possess. The world tells us to use temptation and manipulation to cause people to covet + serve us and to envy our lives. But God says no, don’t direct attention to yourself, point people to Me through your wise example.
Friends, how beautiful it is when the Lord begins to reveal His Truth to you. How close you feel to Christ when you are able to discern our Father’s knowledge from the foul advice of this world. I encourage you all to pray. Ask God for the desire to follow Christ and for the wisdom it takes to know Truth. It’s such a sweet, sweet reminder of His love and grace. And He wants it for us all.
Wisdom is knowing what the world doesn’t.
Seek it. Live it.