Last month I mentioned that the middle verse of the Book of Proverbs emphasized the importance of wisdom - "How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver" (16:16). Today I invite you to consider both the paradox and promise of Biblical widsom according to Proverbs.
We all know that a paradox is an apparant contradiction in terms. CS Lewis used a paradox in describing his Narnia series: "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." From the perspective of Proverbs the paradox of wisdom is this: wisdom is both a divine gift and a human achievement. It is something we pray earnestly for, but something that can largely be "figured out" by diligent listening and work. Both prayer and work are necessary. I will explore this paradox in future columns.
The concept of wisdom in Proverbs also gives a promise. If we seek it, and try to learn its way, we will be rewarded. This "reward" is expressed in two ways: "then you will find the knowledge of God" (2:5) and "then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path" (2:9). The benefits of Biblical wisdom are not simply in the spiritual realm; they lead to insight into the great triad of "right" and "just" and "fair." This practical wisdom holds great promise for those trying to discern the right path - in family, business and family business.