wisdom and understanding

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“Get wisdom; get understanding. Don’t forget and don’t turn away from my words. Don’t abandon her, and she will guard you. Love her, and she will protect you. The beginning of wisdom: Get wisdom! Get understanding before anything else.” (Proverbs 4:5-7, CEB)

Yesterday’s daily water was a sort of mind-bending exploration on the concept of understanding. This is mysterious, for sure, because personal understanding must begin with a reality that we don’t know what we don’t know; and therefore, can’t understand things that are beyond understanding. This requires faith, because living in God’s right-side-up world means trusting in His will and way, even when it might not make sense in the here-and-now.

Today’s passage from the Proverbs was written by King Solomon. He starts what we know as chapter 4 by recounting how his father, King David, taught him about the pursuit of wisdom and understanding. This obviously made an impression on Solomon, because he put it into action. In 1 Kings 3:5-14, you can read the account of God coming to Solomon in a dream and offering to give him essentially whatever he wanted. Solomon asked first for wisdom and understanding. This impressed the Lord, and as a result, God gave Solomon everything he asked for, and then everything he didn’t, too. The lesson we learn from this is we all too often start with asking God for things that we want without considering first the things God wants for us.

Once you get in line with God’s will for your life, things have a way of falling into place. Sure, this doesn’t mean that God will make you wealthy and famous as He did for Solomon, but finding your purpose brings so much more than financial blessing, because it brings the blessing of fulfillment. This concept is echoed again in the New Testament in the teaching of Christ as Jesus said, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).

So what’s the big takeaway? How do we begin to understand wisdom? It is essentially, knowledge guided by experience. As the old adage goes, knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, where wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad. This requires asking God to help you take what you know, and apply it in living daily for Him. Then, understanding this requires faith, because you don’t know what you don’t know, and will never be able to fully understand everything our eternal God knows and understands. So seek Him first, and allow Him to help you know what to do next.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for the times I seek things that make me happy first, because I want to be guided in life by what you know and understand. I seek first your Kingdom, your wisdom, and your righteousness so I may see how everything then falls into place. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.