"I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity; Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street. The Fear-of-God means hating Evil, whose ways I hate with a passion—pride and arrogance and crooked talk. Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics; I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out."
God's word is clear to those who want to learn - there is a "plainness" to them that brings understanding when we are seeking him with all our heart. For the one who seeks, there is revelation. Wisdom and judgment are not separated concepts - they come together. When we search for wisdom, we find it because God is open to the seeking heart. Really, wisdom is found in a person, not in a book. It is found in the person of Jesus.
We don't begin our quest for wisdom by seeking for some "thing" - we begin by searching for the presence of Christ. Whoever finds Christ finds a life filled with promise and reward. God promises seekers his approval, life, and a freedom in his presence that cannot be experienced any other way than through Christ.
This proverb opens up to us four "characters" - Lady Wisdom, Sanity, Knowledge and Discretion. We have already considered "wisdom" - the knowledge of what is true and right coupled with the best judgment displayed in our actions. Her "partners" in life are Sanity, Knowledge and Discretion. Let me introduce you to them:
- Sanity - soundness of mind and judgment. We can call this neighbor by many terms such as "reason", "rationality", "sensibleness", or "reasonableness". Wisdom's closest neighbor is "reason" and "sensibility". In other words, when we seek God's advice FIRST, we maintain a certain "soundness" in our decision-making. We'd say that are decisions are based on "reason" and are "sensible".
- Knowledge - the facts, truths or principles that aid us in life choices. Her next neighbor is what gives us "awareness" into a situation or circumstance. This neighbor of wisdom balances the "intake" in our lives with soundness of mind. When we are aware of facts, we make better decisions - it is only when we go into things blindly that we find ourselves caught in the middle of things we never counted on.
- Discretion - the ability to be discreet or judicious in our own actions and speech. We have been given lots of opportunity to display this "neighbor" in our daily conversations, the company we keep, and what we allow into our minds on a daily basis. The only reason Sanity and Knowledge are neighbors of Wisdom is because Discretion lives in the same neighborhood. Discretion reveals herself in modesty and decorum. She holds her tongue, considers her options, and is careful about what she displays.
Kind of a nice neighborhood to live in, if you ask me. Good friends to have! Wisdom alone is not enough - we need her companions in our life, as well. I always liked the kid's TV program, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood". It was a simple program featuring all kinds of stories that displayed "good neighbors" and invited children to be "neighbors" in this kind of a neighborhood. I think Wisdom is calling out to us "won't you be my neighbor" - inviting us to be neighbors of Sanity, Knowledge, and Discretion. Keeping good company has a tremendous influence on the choices we make!