Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wisdom as life

As is evident from these lists, wisdom is a lifestyle to be lived rather than merely content to be mastered. This “skilled” living encompasses both one’s actions and one’s speech, so that wisdom is demonstrated in how one acts and what one says. However, wisdom is more than only pragmatic in character, although practice is the evidence of wisdom’s influence in one’s life. Rather than merely an external pattern to be emulated, wisdom is a principle permeating one’s inner life, and through this is designed to influence all of one’s outer life. It is for this reason that the sage throughout Proverbs 1–9 consistently reminds the audience that wisdom is a matter of the heart. It is the heart that the sage says (“with all diligence”) must be guarded “for from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). Wisdom must then “enter your heart” and knowledge must be “pleasant to your soul” (2:10). It is in the heart that commands must be kept and stored (3:1, 4:21; cf. 2:1; 7:1), with the heart that one trusts in Yahweh (3:5–6) and takes hold of wise words (4:4), and on the heart that commands and teachings as well as love and faithfulness are written and bound (3:3, 6:21, 7:3). Wisdom demands that people set their hearts on prudence (8:5) and apply their hearts to understanding (2:2).—A Severe Mercy, pages 365

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