Dear Lord, show me the face of wisdom and help me to keep her voice in my heart. You alone are the master of all that exists; you alone can create with just a word, speak to my heart and create in me the desire to follow your lead. Help me to see and understand with crystal clarity your will, show me the light of your love, that I may share your love and honor your great name. Amen.
The goal of reaching wisdom is not enough, we are instructed to hold and maintain it, to know it and practice it. There are so many things in this world that can distract and lead us astray, sending us head-long down an erroneous road. We must guard our hearts and minds, our thoughts and speech against dishonesty and deviousness. For what we hold in our hearts and our minds dictates how we behave and how we live our lives.
Our actions spring from our beliefs, our convictions and inner drives. Wise action is a result of clear thought, and clear thought, which is vital to living wisely, comes from God. Solomon counsels us to seek God first, and with his Holy Spirit filling our hearts, to keep our eyes trained on the goal, which is seeking truth, following God’s path, and keeping his ordinances. This is how we can survey the land in which we live and choose the prudent path for our feet to follow. This is how we “live long and prosper,” how we are delivered from evil.
It’s all about a mind-set, a way of looking at the world, a pattern of behavior, and how that mind-set affects our relationships. To get along in this world, to live a long and fruitful life, we must first understand what it means to be wise. Wisdom is not an innate part of our being; it is something that must be sought after. We are not born with it, we must acquire it. It is not something we find on the beach, at the mall, or hidden in our grandmother’s closet. It’s the result of quiet contemplation, of seeking the inner voice of God in our hearts and applying his spiritual guidance to the every-day situations in our lives. It is only through our passionate attention to the voice of wisdom that we can understand what is true and right, that we can recognize wickedness and therefore avoid it, setting our feet in the opposite direction from it.
Jealousy, anger, greed, envy, pride, all consuming lust for anything, these are the precursors to wickedness and evil. When we are ruled by this way of thinking, it is so easy to get sucked into doing the wrong thing, especially if we cannot recognize what is happening to us. We hang out with nefarious characters, who care little or nothing about much else than themselves, we go along with popular trends, we participate in troublesome activities, and we willfully reject what we know to be honest. Evil is like a contagious disease, it infects all that it comes in contact with, and spreads easily. The only way we have to guard ourselves from its effects is to live according to God’s wisdom.
To be wise, we must search for the light; we must carry it in our hearts and hold it high for the sake of others. We must keep it as we would keep a precious and valuable jewel, lest we lose it and be adrift in the dark, getting tossed on every wave that crashes toward us, pushing us closer and closer toward the desolate shores of misery. Wisdom is the light that shines in the darkness, illuminating our way, showing us where to step, guiding us out of the shadows, and into the clear, calm land of spiritual fulfillment.
One of the things I like best about Solomon’s verse is how he illustrates wisdom. He speaks of wisdom as a woman, and the phraseology is, for me, the picture of a loving mother, one who embraces us, guards us, guides us, exalts us, reprimands us, and honors us. I find it so spot-on that wisdom is described in this manner, a comfort that her realization is imperative to our living a blessed life. Solomon promises that if we do not forget her, she will keep us. If we love her she will guard us. If we prize her she will exalt us. If we embrace her, she will honor us.
Solomon’s lesson for his children is that we should seek, above all else, understanding, insight, wisdom. We should listen to the intelligence our ancestors have collected and recorded for our benefit. He tells us to never forget this: The primary goal in life is to obtain wisdom, therefore we should set our intention on acquiring it, and the purpose of its attainment is understanding.
Once again, we are reminded that the root of wisdom is the application of understanding in our daily lives, and to secure wisdom, we must gain insight. Insight is inspired understanding. Inspired understanding comes from our reverence for all that we do not know, all that is beyond our grasp, for our reverence of God, for God is the master of all that is incomprehensible to us. So here we are, again, back to square one – the beginning of knowledge, understanding and wisdom is the “fear” of the lord.