“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,” Proverbs 1:5.
Life ought to be a romp of learning, an adventure into deeper mysteries and higher vistas. God created us with amazing minds, hearts that can feel, souls that absorb, spirits called to soar. Even in our fallen condition the vestiges of the image of God in us are such that we can embark on a journey of learning and wisdom so that everyday awaits our exploration. God gave us the stars, the trees, the critters; He gave us each other; He gave us Himself.
God placed Adam’s race on this planet, and after our fall from glory and light and life He came to bring us back to Himself – and in the restoration of relationship with Himself God desires to teach us about Himself, about His creation, and about the beauty we can enjoy with one another.
“A wise man with hear…” We primarily gain wisdom and understanding by listening. While there are times we gain wisdom by talking or writing (for when we try to communicate our thoughts we can “see” things we hadn’t seen before), we gain more wisdom by listening than we do by talking. Observing helps us hear, paying attention to what is around us, to the body language of the people we listen to. The partnership of the eye and the ear can provide insight and understanding into people and events, and through our eyes and ears God speaks to us. (Consider the word “insight” – inner sight). Paul writes, “I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened…” in Ephesians 1:18.
When we read the Scriptures we are called upon not just to use our eyes to read the words, but to use the eyes of our imagination to picture the images that the words communicate (of course this is true of all reading). Perhaps this is one reason people (I’ve been told) used to read aloud as a matter of course – reading aloud engages the eye and the ear together and enables us to “see” things in our reading that we might not otherwise see and understand. I have found that reading the Bible aloud greatly enhances my experience in Scripture and deepens my insight.
Acquiring wise counsel entails not only listening and observing, but also asking questions – we can listen to what people are saying, and we can ask questions so that they will say more.
The writers of Proverbs listened to God teaching them through others, they listened to God teaching them through His Word, they listened to God teaching them through circumstances and experience, and they listened to God teaching them through creation. Are our ears tuned to the voice of God? Are we listening to the symphony of life that He has composed? Are we increasing in learning and acquiring wise counsel?
As I conclude this piece the birds have started to sing as the sun begins to rise – my ears and eyes are telling me that our kind heavenly Father has given us another new day – our Father is speaking to us…are we listening to Him?