Wisdom in a World of Chaos

By Jamie Harms

The Psalms and Proverbs are kind of like peanut butter and jelly. They are an amazing and comforting pair. While the Psalms are a balm to our hearts as they juxtapose raw emotions with hope in the character of God, the Proverbs draw on our minds. They call us to study, to learn, and to discipline ourselves to center our thoughts and actions on our God and His wisdom as found within the text.

King Solomon, considered one of the wisest rulers to live, wrote this book of instruction to the young men of his day to show them how to gain both knowledge and wisdom. While knowledge implies facts, wisdom implies the practical application of those facts. And as declared in the opening statements of the book “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

The fear of the Lord.

We have many things to fear in today’s world, including viruses, protests, environmental changes with fires and hurricanes, stress in relationships, and the future. These fears capture our hearts and minds as we pour over resources and news headlines, trying to make sense of it all. In turn, our actions reflect what we are reading and where our focus lies. The fear of the Lord should capture — and captivate — our hearts and minds in an even deeper way than the news, so our hearts and minds can be completely focused on Him. This in turn will determine our actions. 

In this world of chaos, we need knowledge and wisdom, not from the world but from the Word. The living and active Word of God (Hebrews 4:12) is our anchor in the storms that life throws our direction and keeps us rooted like trees planted by streams of water, bearing much good fruit in season (Jeremiah 17:17-18). 

The book of Proverbs is not meant to be a quick read, but as one in which we stop and wrestle with what is being taught. As it is a form of Hebrew poetry, we will see lots of parallelism and imagery. We should stop to consider what the author intended and in what circumstances. These wise sayings might at times appear to contradict themselves, and we must pause to think about how they might fit into the context of Scripture as a whole and within our specific circumstances. This requires discipline and the fear of the Lord, but we know from our readings last week that “The sum of (God’s) word is truth, and every one of (His) righteous rules endure forever” (Ps 119:160). The sum of the Proverbs tells a story and sheds light on our path as we seek wisdom in this world of chaos.

For the month of September, we want to seek wisdom from the source of wisdom — God in His Word — as we read one chapter of Proverbs each day. Each morning you can expect to find here at ufcwomen.blog the text of the Proverb, a key verse to Pause and consider, a few questions to Ponder, and a Prayer prompt to guide you through your daily time with our Heavenly Father, who promises to give wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5). May we put our trust in our faithful Father as we discipline ourselves to spend time in His Word. In this may we then know how to live out our faith in Him and be beacons of light and hope to our world.