If you were to develop a curriculum to help people grow skillfully in navigating the complexities of life, what would you include? The role of education is not merely to pass on information, but to give direction concerning how to live. No amount of information can transform a heart. What is needed is the application of knowledge with daily life so that the trials and tricky aspects of life can be navigated with skill.
Proverbs lays out several aspects of a curriculum to help the simple, the young, and the inexperienced grow in wisdom. First, there is the need to observe the world. Since God created the world by wisdom (Prov. 3:-19-20). Since wisdom has been embedded into creation, wisdom can be gleaned by observation. For this reason, the father can tell his son to watch the ant and to learn the lessons of hard work and preparation from this tiny insect (Prov. 6:6-8). The world has been created with the wisdom of the Creator, therefore those who watch and observe can see the natural order that God has designed for human life to flourish.
In addition to observation, there is the need for tradition. In Prov. 4:3-9, the father passes on the wisdom that he has received from his father. Timeless truths that have been accumulated over generations have been distilled down into principles and proverbs, collected together to be passed on. Therefore the wisdom that we need isn’t something that we just acquire on our own, but with the collective authority of others. For this reason, we need many counsellors (Prov. 15:22).
But there is a problem with tradition and observation: we are limited by the problem of sin. Because of the curse, we see through a glass dimly (1 Cor. 13:12). We aren’t able to perfectly discern what God has willed and planned. Therefore we can look at the world and become wise, but that wisdom is limited unless we root our search for wisdom in the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7; 9:10).
Therefore, the way that God overcomes our limitations is by his revelation. Part of the curriculum of the wise includes the revelation of God from Scripture. As we look at the world, listen to others, and weigh all things against Scripture, what we find is that God has provided everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pe. 1:3).
The curriculum of the wise includes our eyes, our ears, and our hearts engaging our minds. As we look, listen, and learn, what we will discover is that God meets us with his wisdom in our lives to make us happy and holy.
So are you looking, listening, and learning? God is speaking to you. Wisdom is calling out (Prov. 1:23) and inviting you into the joy of the Lord!
See you Sunday,