If Warren Buffet offered you investment advice, would you take it? Or, if Bill Gates offered to come alongside you for six months to coach your startup technology business, would you accept his offer? If Dan Cathy said you could spend a week with the marketing geniuses at Chick-fil-a, how would you respond? One last question, I promise, if your father was the wisest man on earth and he wrote a book just for you, would you read it? If your answer is an emphatic, “YES!” then you are well on your way down the road to wisdom. You have to want wisdom if you are to find it.
If Guiness Book of World Records were tracking their data 3000 years ago they would have described Solomon, the ancient King of Israel, as the wisest man on the planet. It is said that Solomon wrote more than 3000 proverbs. A proverb is a short sentence with deep meaning. Proverbs are memorable and teachable. Some of the proverbs he recorded are found in a letter that Solomon wrote for his children. We are blessed because God inspired the forefathers of our faith to include this letter of wisdom for us in the Bible. It is called the Book of Proverbs.
In the opening verses, Solomon tells us exactly what he hopes will come from the study of these wise words.
Proverbs 1: 1-5 (CSB) – The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
For learning wisdom and discipline; for understanding insightful sayings; for receiving prudent instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity; for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced, knowledge and discretion to a young man— let a wise person listen and increase learning, and let a discerning person obtain guidance.
- Finding Wisdom is a CHOICE.
Everyday we stand at the crossroads of a decision. The experiences we have in life are largely in response to the choices we make. Choices have consequences. Dr. Adrian Rogers, a faithful Bible preacher full of wisdom and wit once said, “You are free to choose, but you are not free to choose your consequences. Your choice will choose your consequences.” Solomon would tell us that when we stand at the crossroads of a decision, you either choose the the path of the wise, or the path of a fool. Wisdom is a choice.
Proverbs 1: 20-23 (CSB) – Wisdom calls out in the street; she makes her voice heard in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates: “How long, inexperienced ones, will you love ignorance?
How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge?
If you respond to my warning, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words.
Proverbs 1:33 (CSB) But whoever listens to me will live securely and be undisturbed by the dread of danger
I believe verse 33 is the key to the whole book of Proverbs. The desire of Solomon was for his children to live with wisdom – making wise choices and experiencing the blessings that come from them. Do you think God has any less desire for you than Solomon had for his children? Of course not! This is the reason God had the book of Proverbs included into the canon of scripture.
Wisdom (Hokma) is defined as:
“Sound action or decision with regard to the application and judgment.”
Wisdom is to be skilled in an area, not simply with the head knowledge about that area, but with the common sense to know how to apply it. Wisdom is a matter of both mind and the heart. When I was a kid, I heard the phrase, “Boy, use your head!” more than a few times. How about you? I even heard the phrase, “You’re thinking with your heart, not your brain.” Did you ever hear that one?
Look back at the opening verses of Proverbs and in verse 3 you read, “for receiving prudent instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity.” Solomon uses a word that’s translated as prudent and means “to be street smart”. To be street smart is the goal of wisdom: to know how to live, how to treat others, and how to walk with integrity. In essence, it is to glorify God with your everyday decisions.
Let me give you one last observation that the wise old king gave. It is there in verse 5, “let a wise person listen and increase learning, and let a discerning person obtain guidance.”
- A Lot of Wisdom Can Be Learned From Listening to Wise People.
I’ve already asked you if Warren Buffet offered you investment advice, would you take it? I’m sure your answer is the same as mine. Of course we would take it! At the time of this article in 2018, Warren Buffet is 87 years old and still serves as the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He still works everyday, not because he needs the money, but because he loves what he does and finds value in his work. He is one of the richest people on earth worth more than 84 Billion dollars. In an interview I read, he was asked about his humble beginnings and how he developed the wisdom to begin his impressive investment career. He stated that when he started investing, he read 600 to 1000 pages a day. Even now he still spends 80% of his day reading. He isn’t reading for entertainment, but to educate himself and expand his knowledge.
When asked, “What tip would you give someone wanting to be successful?” His reply was, “To be successful, a person should read at least 500 pages a day in books that educate and expand his knowledge.” He went on to say, “Most people are not successful because they will never make that commitment.”
What is the value of reading? It is that you are allowing the voices of experts in that area to speak into your life. If you want to walk in wisdom, you must listen to wise people. Today, we have paper books, ebooks, podcasts, audio and visual sermons, lectures, even conferences you can attend via Internet and never have to leave your home. We are surrounded with opportunities to learn from the wise, we just have to want it bad enough to make the choices to be like Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to His words.
Ultimately, true wisdom is obtained when we humble ourselves to God and learn from Him. We can never forget that God alone is the source for wisdom. Where do you think Solomon got his wisdom from? In 2 Kings Chapter 3, we read of God visiting Solomon in a dream and asking what he would like for God to give him as he began leading Israel. Solomon could have asked for anything: riches, power, prestige. Instead, he asked for wisdom. God was honored and granted him wisdom, as well as, riches, power and prestige. God gives above and beyond all we could ever ask for or imagine!
James 1:5, (CSB)- Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.