Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. ~Proverbs 4:5-6 (ESV)
One of my favorite scenes in Attack of the Clones is when Obi-Wan is humble enough to go and seek out help when he could not get an answer from the Jedi archive.
He has gone to a local dinner in hopes of finding answers to who made the poison dart that killed the would be assassin. In talking with his friend Dex about the dart’s origins, Obi-Wan ponders aloud why the analysis archive did not have any record of the dart’s origins.
Dex points out that “It’s these funny little cuts on the side give it away. Those analysis droids only focus on symbols.”
“I should think that you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge and wisdom.”~Dex
Obi-Wan was searching for knowledge- an answer to a factual issue. What he was missing was wisdom (application of knowledge and experience).
Knowledge vs. Wisdom
What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? How would you describe each?
Webster’s dictionary defines knowledge as “the fact or condition of being aware of something.”
It also defines wisdom as “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships.”
In Scripture we are told that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
The fear of the Lord needs explaining. It is not fear in the sense of seeing a bear rummaging through your trash cans, right outside your kitchen. It is a fear in the sense of reverence or awe.
The word translated “fear” in many versions of the Bible comes from the Hebrew word yirah (יִרְאָה), which has a range of meaning in the Scriptures. Sometimes it refers to the fear we feel in anticipation of some danger or pain, but it can also can mean “awe” or “reverence.” In this latter sense, yirah includes the idea of wonder, amazement, mystery, astonishment, gratitude, admiration, and even worship (like the feeling you get when gazing from the edge of the Grand Canyon). The “fear of the LORD” therefore includes an overwhelming sense of the glory, worth, and beauty of the One True God. (source: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Parashah/Summaries/Eikev/Yirah/yirah.html)
If you were to rewrite Proverbs 9:10, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. We could say “The reverence you show to the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Why Wisdom Begins With Fear & Reverence
Why is fear, reverence, or awe the beginning of wisdom?
Go back and read Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
We should be in awe and reverence for the Creator of the universe. We should approach the Lord humbly and look to Him for help and answers.
Western science started in an attempt to understand how God created things and ordered the universe. It is modern science that has tried to push God out of our understanding.
We would be smart and wise to come to God looking for wisdom.
What if you are not wise? How can you attain wisdom?
We see in James 1:5 that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
That is very comforting. There is a condition that is included in verse six. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
We can know a lot of the facts and figures of Scripture. We can study theology and church history, but miss out on knowing God.
It is said that some will miss entering heaven by 18 inches, the average distance between our head and our heart.
Knowledge of God is important. Having wisdom that comes from God is more important. Through seeking out God in reverence, awe, and fear, we can come into a relationship with Him.
In talking with non-believers we need to be careful to distinguish between worldly knowledge and wisdom and the knowledge and wisdom that come from God. There can be a big difference.