Wisdom literature found in Hebrew, Egyptian-Greek, Islamic, Chinese, and a variety of different faith traditions offer short and sometimes mystifying words of advice on life and the nature of the universe. If you are looking for a roadmap, as such, of how God designed the world to work, the practical day-to-day guidance these books provide can make life more acceptable, especially when it doesn’t appear to be going that way.
If I’ve got my listening ears on, I can hear Wisdom appeal to me every day, urging me to follow
Wondering how to conduct one’s life wisely is what leads people to seek out wisdom literature. The Book of Wisdom found within what Christians call the Old Testament (or Hebrew Scripture) is filled with a collection of sayings that counsel us in how to tend our relationships and move through life in the spirit of Godly living. More than advice (anyone can advise or offer an opinion), Proverbs can be considered professional advice; all counsel is advice, but not all advice is counsel.
We come to understand what is good for us through experience or knowledge (gathering facts, truths, and principles). In seeking wisdom, we have to move beyond acquiring knowledge to applying the information in our lives. The soundness of our actions reflects our application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
Here’s the rub, that’s not easy. The good news is that Proverbs is full of people we can relate to —fathers, mothers, children, and friends. We find people who are wise and those who are … not; people who are passionate, and lazy or tempted and tempters.
adding wisdom literature, wherever we find it, to our daily lives builds our faith – because it can form our actions.
Scripture tells us everything begins with God and that those who truly pursue wisdom will find reward greater than material wealth: “Happy are those who find wisdom … for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14) Wisdom itself is the greatest reward.
I especially love the verse, “Wisdom cries out in the street, in the squares she raises her voice” (Proverbs 1:20). If I’ve got my listening ears on, I can hear Wisdom appeal to me every day, urging me to follow.
At 5 or 105 years old, adding wisdom literature, wherever we find it, to our daily lives builds our faith – because it can form our actions. Below are just a few samplings from the Book of Proverbs that are easy to commit to memory.
- Proverbs 12:15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice.
- Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Proverbs 15:32 Those who ignore instruction despise themselves, but those who heed admonition gain understanding.
- Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
- Proverbs 29:25 The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure.