5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 6Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 9They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.Proverbs 8:5-9
Like a town crier announcing the news, Wisdom stands in the streets and on the rooftops issuing an invitation to those who will hear. She is constantly inviting us to learn from her in the first 10 chapters of Proverbs. We are told over and over that it is not necessary to possess all knowledge to learn from Wisdom. We are not expected to know everything about life, but that we can learn as we grow.
Learning is Possible
A couple of nights ago I was talking with a retired school teacher. He said that when he first started teaching he was unsure of himself and constantly wondered if he actually knew the material well enough to teach it. He taught middle school shop class.
What he found out over time, was that he was surrounded by other young teachers who also felt like they were not skilled enough to actually do the job they were asked to do. I have felt this many times in different jobs and responsibilities that I have had.
There are times when we feel uncertain about something we are striving to do. We can respond by jumping in and working at the skills to improve, or we can just quit and say “I’m not good at that kind of thing.” Another response we can have is to remain in that odd place of doing the task in as mediocre of a way as we can with no interest—or even thought that it is possible—for improvement.
Wisdom is a Skill
Wisdom issues her invitation, not to the educated and highly trained philosophers, but to the simple ones and fools (v. 5). How reassuring! I don’t have to have it all together to step into Wisdom’s house and take advantage of her invitation.
The word wisdom carries with it the idea of a skill that is to be practiced and developed. Remember the analogy of the race car driver? He starts by learning what the accelerator and brake pedals are for (knowledge). Then, by experience, he gains understanding of how they work. But his wisdom of how to use them comes with developing the skill of driving the car.
Wisdom invites those who are not yet skilled to learn from her. She doesn’t mind that they are not yet mature in every aspect. But what she needs are willing students. You can’t become wise if you don’t put in the practice of developing knowledge into understanding and understanding into skill.
Wisdom’s Closing Words
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. 34Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. 36But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.Proverbs 8:33-36
Her words in summary: Listen. Learn. Don’t be stubborn. Find wisdom. Find life.