1 By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is strong,
And a person of knowledge increases power.
6 For by wise guidance you will wage war,
And in an abundance of counselors there is victory.
I’ve written about these three qualities before…Their interrelationship fascinates me.
Wisdom is sort of the end product: skill in living; a life well lived, marked by good, prudent, righteous choices.
Understanding is a synthesis process, organizing what you know in a way that gives you a deep heart-grasp of what the rules for living (what the psalmist calls “the Law of the Lord”) are all about- the “why” behind the “what”. It’s developed through meditation.
Knowledge is information- what you’ve learned. It’s input gained through reading, studying, listening, observing.
It strikes me that underpinning all of this is the rare and valuable quality of humility. It’s the humble mind and heart that are teachable, willing to learn from others, willing to let go of presuppositions, prejudices and assumptions that won’t stand up in the face of better data.
Why the metaphor of “building a house”? I wonder if Solomon (or whoever the writer was) wasn’t alluding to the reality that for many of us, God has chosen and anointed a special individual to speak into our lives, bringing us important information, challenging our hidebound ways of thinking and living, breaking through our narrow-mindedness and expanding our horizons: our spouse. God has uniquely placed them to bring us new knowledge, understanding and wisdom, because nobody (besides Him) knows us better. So, to get the maximum benefit of this special relationship, we need to embrace humility, put down the shields of defensiveness and listen intently.
This all reminds me of the premise of practical theologian Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage, which he posed as a rhetorical question: what if the main purpose of marriage isn’t to make us happy but to make us holy? Iron sharpening iron and all that.
I’m publishing this reflection and Sheryl’s going to read it. This could come back to bite me in the…..well, so be it.