Wisdom is intensely practical once you find it, and finding it is what we are to be doing. We are to “seek her as for silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures” (Proverbs 2:4).
But, ah, where do we find wisdom? This is Job’s question: “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12). If we are supposed to seek and search, where do we start digging?
Before the question is answered, Job points out two things: You can’t find wisdom anywhere on earth; and even if you could, there is not enough wealth on earth to buy it. Think of trying to put a price tag on the Pacific Ocean. And if the value could be ascertained, no one could afford it. That is like wisdom.
Job asks the question again in verse 20: “From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?”
Answer: It is hidden from both the living and the dead (verses 21-22).
However, “God understands its way, and He knows its place” (vs. 23).
And then God provides us with the full answer: “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding'” (vs. 28).
So we have a two-fold answer to the question. We find wisdom by (1) fearing God, and we find understanding by (2) departing from evil.
We see this pairing of wisdom and understanding together elsewhere in Scripture, and we find the pairing of fearing God and departing from evil together as well.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Psalm 111:10).
The more distance we put between ourselves and sin, the more we grow in wisdom. The more we obey God, the wiser we become. “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). If you are getting advice or ideas that are contrary to the Lord and His Word, whatever it is, it is not wisdom. There is absolutely no wisdom that is against the Lord. Period.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly” (Prov. 2:6-7).
Wisdom is for the upright. God has plenty stored up for those who want to do what He says. But for those who disobey God, those who interpret His commands loosely or disregard them all together, they are shut out from wisdom. They are wise in their own eyes, and that is the extent of their wisdom.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:7). There it is again. Fear God. Obey His commands. Rather, be wise in God’s estimation, not your own. Fear God and do what He says.