Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing, and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you…whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
In our new knowledge based economy, we are bombarded with slogan’s like “knowledge is power” or “the more you know.” However, biblical wisdom understands that knowledge is merely the starting point for wisdom.
Matt Pearman writes that in our shift from an industrial era to a knowledge era we have to now decide what to do, when to do it and how to do it. This sort of knowledge based action requires more than intellect. It demands wisdom because “the key to effectiveness is knowing what is most important and then weaving it into your life through simple structures.” Wisdom is knowledge followed by obedient action in every aspect of your life.
Knowledge without action is simply intellect; Action without knowledge is pure foolishness.
Often, however, we falter in one of two directions, just as Solomon tells us in the above Proverb: “Scoffers delight in their scoffing while fools hate knowledge.” For some, we are scoffers getting trapped in an endless cycle of debate where we want to stun people with our dizzying intellect by becoming contrarian lawyers debating the finer points of minutia just for the delight of argumentation. We scoff.
Others will be fools who ignore wisdom’s reproof. We will rush foolhardily into an issue without pausing to reflect. Like an impulsive teenager we will let our emotions and snap judgments determine our trajectory. We jump off a bridge into a lake without checking the depth below. We fool.
Wisdom, however, is the combination of knowledge and action. A wise man will know what needs to be done, and then actually do something about. In Scripture, Wisdom is the role of the Holy Spirit who allows God’s Word to infuse into every aspect of our lives. He shapes our knowledge and propels our actions.
Are you quick to act without seeking wisdom’s counsel? Or is your spinning intellect causing you to go nowhere? How can you allow the Spirit of Wisdom to dwell in you?
Recently, I have adapted the Jesuit examen into a simple mantra prayer that I will say throughout the day, as an attempt to allow the Spirit’s Wisdom to dwell in me: