God has placed a premium on the responses we undertake. One of those 'premium' responses is listening. To those who listen, he speaks into their lives and helps them to grasp knowledge. Those who are too intent on just handling things without the instructions he brings, they hear, but they don't listen. Another 'premium' response God values is that of integrity - being truthful about what we don't know and then seeking to gain that knowledge is one way of revealing integrity in our lives. I often do crosswords, but there are times when the hints given just don't even make sense to me! It always amazes me when I see the answer key and see such a simple answer I never even considered. If I just plunged ahead, saying I understood the hints even though I clearly did not, it would not end up with the letters I need for completing the rest of the puzzle - the integrity of the puzzle is damaged. God doesn't place a premium on "faking it" or "just making something fit" - he places a premium on integrity.
Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble. Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the Lord. Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn, and you will prosper. (Proverbs 18:2-3, 8)
As we have been studying these verses over the past couple of days, it appears there is to be evidence of a person actually valuing themselves by the actions and attitudes they exhibit. To acquire wisdom is to love oneself - valuing yourself enough to actually admit you don't know it all and then to quiet yourself long enough to actually "get" some knowledge which you might apply to the situation at hand. People who cherish understanding will prosper - those who overlook it or think it is not important will know much unrest in their lives. Most of the time we think scripture doesn't support the "love of self", but in truth, when we love ourselves enough to learn at the feet of Jesus, this type of "self-love" is perfectly right. It shows we value the Creator enough to sit at his feet long enough for him to show us how this whole created life is supposed to work.
To acquire wisdom, one is determining to get it as their own - not being content with second-hand knowledge, but desirous of getting it for yourself. When we approach knowledge this way, God is delighted to give us exactly what we seek. He gives us new or additional character traits and abilities. We then hold these new truths as something we will cherish - hold dear, keep or cultivate with care and affection. When we cherish knowledge (learning) - we are taking what we are given and then allowing it to get deep into our brains, enough so that it affects our emotions and bolsters our spirit.
Wisdom is the ability to discern inner qualities and the relationship between these qualities - some call this having insight. We need to see that insight is something grown, not given. It needs to be taken in, find deep root within us, and then it becomes useful to us. Knowledge is superficial - wisdom has deep roots. Understanding is the ability to grasp even the hidden meaning which comes as a result of what we have come to learn over time. I like the last verse we are studying today - we do ourselves a favor when we learn all we can. Learning all we can depends upon a right frame of mind, determined commitment of heart, and an openness to act as we are instructed. Remembering what we learn is sometimes the biggest challenge! Just sayin!