DO WE LISTEN TO WISDOM?
17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you. 20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, 21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,so that you bring back truthful reports to
those you serve? Proverbs 22:17-21
All throughout my life I have heard that there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. From my understanding, knowledge is collecting, learning and retaining information and wisdom is the action of applying the knowledge that we have in a way that is beneficial. In other words, there are many times we have the information that we need to make sound judgements, but do we really listen? You may be saying, how do we listen to wisdom if it is an action word. Very simply, by actually applying the knowledge in a way that shows that we have fully retained the knowledge. In other words we would not read and study about the law of gravity and then turn around and believe that if we jump high enough we could fly or if we jump off of a mountain we would float. Listening means that we understand the knowledge and adapt it to our personal lives in a way that makes sense. It means that when we LISTEN to WISDOM we don't made decisions that are contrary to what we believe, but reinforce the wisdom through constant application.
One easy example we can use is the constant of Christ. We, as Christians, have studied and accepted Jesus as the Son of God, the propitiation for our sins, and the representation of God in flesh. We have accepted that Jesus came, died and overcame death by rising from the grave. We have studied Jesus' life and ministry with people and disciples and we continue to use the Bible as the Holy Word of God. We believe that God will be victorious in
the end overcoming all sin, death and evil in this world, and we know that if we profess Jesus as Lord with our mouth and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead that we will be saved through God's grace. We believe that God will never leave us or forsake us and that Jesus, as God's Son, was sent not to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. We have the knowledge, that if applied in our hearts, minds and souls, this knowledge can become the powerful wisdom that Solomon is talking about in our Proverbial teachings for today. But if we only have head knowledge and fail to transform that into heart knowledge, then do we really retain any wisdom at all? If we never fully use our knowledge of Christ to change our thoughts, our hearts, or our actions, then how can we really believe we have listened and gleaned wisdom of who Christ is in the first place. If knowledge is not applied, then the voices of wisdom have been completely silenced.
See it all begins with the fact that knowledge is power. Knowledge allows us to be able to see, understand and interpret situations in our lives from many different angles. But if we are never capable of applying that knowledge, then we fail to listen to wisdom. We fail to believe that those that have gone before us and those that have already walked a mile in our shoes, have any wisdom for us to gleam from in our current situations. In my simplest mindset, I say it this way, "We don't have to reinvent the wheel, but we can use the knowledge from those that invented the wheel and apply it with our wisdom from today and make a better wheel." If we fail to apply their failures and successes from the past to help move forward in a new way, then we have truly learned nothing and are subject to truly repeat history. Listening to wisdom is something that we have done for so many generations, but for some reason, today we are failing to listen and we are watching as things are falling apart. I mean go back and look at Deuteronomy 6. In the Shema that was passed down for generations and through the hands on daily teachings of the parents and elders to the younger generations, the knowledge of their past was passed on in hopes of using wisdom to press forward in a more God directed life. I know that they continued to stumble and fall, but if you go back to the root of the issue, it all has to do with their unwillingness to listen to wisdom.
Solomon asked God for wisdom, and the reason he asked for wisdom is because he knew the importance that wisdom carries. In looking at Solomon's teaching today, wisdom is once again the application of listening and learning from those who have knowledge. Being able to discern, trust and pass on our experiences then becomes knowledge for generations that will follow. I know that my goal in life is to help people have a better understanding of who God has created them to be from beginning to end. My knowledge comes from years of experiences, both successes and failures, and yes I know that things will and do change, but the foundational principles still remain. Solomon saw and understood this and so have so many others that have gone before us. We know that we cannot change the entire world in a day, but that does not mean that we cannot obtain the knowledge of the past to listen to their
wisdom and then discern new ways to prepare for today and the future. We know that the world continues to change, but we also know that the changes are still based from the life lessons that we have learned from the past. As we continue to look to today, I hope and pray that we will continue to seek to listen to wisdom. I pray that we will not discount those that have struggled for the freedoms that we have and the opportunities that we have been given. I pray that we will continue to listen to the voices of wisdom and not be so hard headed to think that we have to plow a completely new way. Use the knowledge that has been learned, listen to wisdom so that the future will be one of progress and peace and not continued to be filled with chaos and uncertainty which leads us to continue to repeat the mistakes of our past.