For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
In 1373, when Julian of Norwich was thirty years old, she became ill and nearly died. When her minister prayed with her, she experienced a number of visions in which she considered Jesus’ crucifixion. After miraculously recovering her health, she spent the next twenty years living in solitude in a side room of the church, praying over and thinking through the experience. She concluded that “love was his meaning”; that is, that Christ’s sacrifice is the supreme manifestation of God’s love.
Julian’s revelations are famous, but what people often overlook is the time and effort she spent prayerfully working out what God revealed to her. In those two decades, she sought to discern what this experience of His presence meant as she asked Him for His wisdom and help.
As He did with Julian, God graciously reveals Himself to His people, such as through the words of the Bible; through His still, small voice; through a refrain of a hymn; or even just an awareness of His presence. When this happens, we can seek His wisdom and help. This wisdom is what King Solomon instructed his son to pursue, saying he should turn his ear to wisdom and apply his heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2). Then he would “find the knowledge of God” (v. 5).
God promises to give us discernment and understanding. As we grow in a deeper knowledge of His character and ways, we can honor and understand Him more.
How does God reveal Himself to you most often? When He does, how do you come to understand what He’s revealed?
Gracious God, help me to grow in Your wisdom.
The book of Proverbs helps us understand theology—the nature of wisdom as centered in God—and also guides us toward practical skill in living. From an ethical standpoint, this leads to flourishing not only for the individual but also for the community. The proverbs of the Bible help guide us toward wise attitudes and behavior and away from foolish ones. Some of the insights found in this book include: relationships (6:16–19), sexual ethics (6:24–29), listening to advice (9:7–9), work ethics (10:4–5), business ethics (11:1, 24–26), planning (16:1–3, 9, 33), dealing with authority (23:1–3), the misuse of alcohol (23:29–35); relationships with friends/neighbors (24:28–29; 27:17), conflict (26:17, 20–21), anger (27:3–4), taking care of the vulnerable (28:27), and the danger of pride (29:23).
Adapted from Understanding the Bible: The Wisdom Books.