What the Wise Do

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Proverbs 1:5

Do you desire to be wise? Do you know what godly wisdom is? Are you familiar with what those who are wise do? Many have set out on a quest for wisdom, but have questions and need guidance about how wisdom is truly obtained. There are those who are wise, by God’s grace, whose wisdom and insight should be sought after (1 Kings 10:1-6). Others desire to be wise and believe they have arrived. Yet they are merely wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 3:7).

Wisdom is a wonderful gift from God (Proverbs 2:6). It’s also something God calls us to pursue. A blessing and benefit that we have in Scripture is that in it God defines wisdom, shows us the path to obtain it, and gives us examples of wise brethren who have gone before. Solomon was one of them. God, through men like Solomon, provides answers to the questions of what wisdom is and what it isn’t. He compares and contrasts godly wisdom against foolishness (Proverbs 29:11). God points to what heavenly wisdom is and what it looks like in practice (James 3). He calls His children to get wisdom and understanding, to seek after and obtain them. He also calls us to not forget or turn away from His words (Proverbs 4:5).

Take note of Solomon’s words in Proverbs 1:5. Two things are true of those who are wise:

1) They aren’t stubborn nor prideful. They don’t believe that they have arrived at the pinnacle of insight and wisdom, only having nuggets to offer and not gain. No, the wise have open ears and learn from others, benefiting from growth in knowledge and how to best apply it.

2) They have understanding and see the benefit of getting counsel. This can be tough for some people. We’d like to think that our knowledge is sufficient. We don’t need anyone else. Yet, that is foolish. There is safety in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14). Wise counselors give us new food for thought, confirm that which we were already thinking or doing is wise, or recommend wisdom may be following a completely different path. So, regularly seek out such counsel. Prayerfully consider that which is offered. Then seek to make a good and informed decision.

Matthew Henry comments, “There is not a greater enemy to the power of religion, and the fear of God in the heart, than conceitedness of our own wisdom.” Do you desire to be wise? Get your own wisdom out of the way. Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Rather, prayerfully seek that wisdom from above that only God can give. Then seek to keep that wisdom in daily practice, doing what wise men do.