“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” – King Solomon, Proverbs 4:7
“Getting” is a major pursuit for people, isn’t it? In these days that we’re living in we are continually being encouraged to go and “get” many things. We’re a society of accumulators.
Solomon was an incredibly wealthy man. I guess there wasn’t much in the world of his time that he wouldn’t have had at least one of. But here he singles out ONE priority; he tells us to GET WISDOM. He calls it “the principal thing”. When God had told him to ask for anything he desired, Solomon had the good sense to ask for the principal thing: wisdom.
Notice what he DOESN’T say …
He doesn’t say to get education. Because knowledge itself is not wisdom. A lot of people confuse the two.
We put a huge premium on education these days to give our kids more opportunities in life, and don’t misunderstand me, I don’t want to underestimate the importance of that. (If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!) We simply need to recognize that knowledge does not guarantee wisdom. The world is full of educated fools.
He doesn’t say to get friends in high places. You know the old saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know. This is another big thing that is emphasized. One of the great buzzwords of today is “networking”.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had on the day of my graduation from Bible College. There were many distinguished guests present for the ceremony, and I had the opportunity to talk with one particular man who was very well known; the minister of a large and thriving congregation and a prominent leader in our denomination. I was a young buck just starting, and still very “wet behind the ears”. So I was very interested when he said, “Phil, let me give you some important advice for the years ahead.” I leaned forward. If I’d had a notebook I would have taken it out right then and there. Then he said this: “Get contacts.”
THAT was his great advice to a young start-out preacher? “Get contacts. It’s not what you know …” I still remember the sinking, hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was only a kid; what did I know? But I knew better than THAT. “Surely you have more godly counsel to offer me than ‘get contacts’?”
Sadly, a few years later that man fell into very public sin, and left the ministry in shame. He lost his marriage and his family. “Contacts” weren’t the answer for a man who couldn’t even see it because he was running on nerves; his own rapidly depleting strength.
He doesn’t say to get experience. You see, experience can contribute to wisdom — it should — but it’s not a given.
Some people have lots of experiences, but they waste them. Usually it means that they keep on repeating their mistakes. That is the very opposite of wisdom. The Bible says … “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
He doesn’t say to get charisma … He doesn’t say to get money … Other things that world puts such a premium on.
No, the brilliant Solomon, a world leader on the stage of history, says “Get WISDOM.”
So, how do you get it? The Bible prescribes 3 ways …
1. Fear the Lord.
This is the only place to start. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
2. Ask God for wisdom.
It’s a prayer He delights to answer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
3. Pursue wisdom.
Go after it all the time. Of wisdom the Bible says, “She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.” (Proverbs 3:15)
So, read the Bible, get around wise people, ask more questions, offer less opinions. Someone once said: “It’s better to remain silent and appear a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”