Proverbs 4:7

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,

and whatever you get, get insight.”

Proverbs 4:7 ESV

This verse provokes an obvious, yet critical question. Where can I get wisdom? Can I order some online? Do you enjoy the mystery that awaits you in a fortune cookie? I do. But I don’t look to fortune cookies for wisdom. Neither do I look to aged alcoholics for wisdom. That’s not to say that I could never gain wisdom from an aged alcoholic or a fortune cookie. That is to say, whatever apparent wisdom I may gain from the Internet or fortune cookies or an alcoholic must be measured against an unwavering standard.

Beware, everything that sounds wise isn’t necessarily wise. For example, when I was in college a friend and I shared an apartment not too far from campus. Other than the sense of freedom it provided us, the best feature of the apartment was the community hot tub. We enjoyed going to the hot tub late at night to kinda relax away the day. On occasion, an aged alcoholic would be there. He was easy to talk with and he enjoyed regaling us with the wisdom he had gained from a lifetime spent on the end of a bottle. I was enraptured with the nuggets of wisdom that he so effortlessly spilled our way. So much so that I even wrote one of these treasures in my Bible. The problem was I was a fool and had no ability to discern between gold and fool’s gold. To this young fool everything he said appeared to be gold. Only much later in life did I realize that so much of what he said was nonsense, and that the nugget that I wrote in my Bible was only fool’s gold.

What is a young man, or any man to do when the promise of wisdom is so high and the risk of foolishness is so great? As wisdom says, “For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death” (8:35-36).

Here’s the answer from Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (9:10). God is the only infallible source of wisdom. Go straight to the source. Regularly spending time in Proverbs is a step in the right direction.

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