Summary: Wisdom is merely seeing life from God’s perspective and responding accordingly. It does not happen by chance. It is given by God to those who pursue, test and prove its value.
<The owl commercial launches the message>
Did you know that that commercial is almost 50 years old? It’s memorable. It points to a question, provides a practical experiment and even an answer. However, the wise old owl is only validating his own personal knowledge and experience so is that wisdom?
Some claim google is wisdom personified.
I wouldn't claim this. Google, Wikipedia, YouTube videos are all purveyors of knowledge. But knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
Do a Google search for the word ‘wisdom’ and find 447 million posts?
Ask a friend what wisdom is and they may tell you it's the insight you gain just after you do the wrong thing.
Dictionary.com defines wisdom as: the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight and by this definition, this letter from Dr. Bob Moorehead, author and former pastor entitled “The Paradox of Our Age” might be considered wisdom. Take a listen:
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers;
Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints;
We spend more, but have less;
We buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses, but smaller families;
More conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
More knowledge, but less judgment;
More experts, but more problems;
More medicine, but less wellness.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life;
We’ve added years to life, but not life to years.
We’ve been to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space;
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul;
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We have higher incomes, but lower morals;
We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of tall men and short character;
Steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare;
More leisure, but less fun;
More kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce;
Of fancier houses, but broken homes.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom and nothing in the stockroom.
Now, everything Dr. Moorehead wrote and said is still true. It uses knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. However, I believe it lacks a single perspective which would elevate it from observation to wisdom.
It’s the perspective of the Divine.
We, as Christians, purport that the bible is filled with God’s wisdom. In fact there are 5 books in our bible called the “wisdom literature.” They are the book of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms and the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs).
Over the next seven weeks, we will be exploring wisdom as given to us from the scriptures. Today’s earlier reading was from the book of Proverbs or as the old testament names it, The Proverbs of Solomon. While the book does bear his name, we know he didn't write all of them and some were added after his death. However, the majority are written by him. According to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon wrote over 3000 proverbs yet only between 300-400 have survived.
A proverb is a terse albeit apt expression of a truth about life.
Throughout the book the author sees a definite connection between common sense and the divine.
Even in 1 Kings 3:12-14, we see how Solomon's common sense request of the Lord results in a wise and discerning heart which is then linked to following the statues and commands of the Law. All of which then conspired to lift Solomon to the status of wise man among the people of God. A status that is solidified in the story of the two women claiming ownership of the same baby. You remember the story - two women coming before Solomon because one mother’s child died and she switched it with the woman whose child did not die. Both claiming the living child as their own so Solomon decreed the live baby should be cut in half with a half going to each. To which the real mother said, “please don’t kill the boy but give him to her so he will live.” An action Solomon knew the lying mother would never do so he placed the child back with his mother.
The story of Solomon’s wisdom grew from that moment and gives us ample reason today to continue to read the divinely inspired words. Hence, the reason we read from the second chapter of Proverb earlier in the service. It was written to encourage the reader to seek God’s wisdom above all else. It uses imagery and immoral examples to stress the point that Wisdom is given to those who pursue it, not just to those who are naturally born with a proclivity for it. A fool can become wise if he/she pursues God’s inspiration.