If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:3-5)
Have you ever looked for something you didn’t really want to find? I have discovered that I possess an incredible power of nondiscovery. I can overlook stains and spills of remarkable sizes which I would prefer to not be there in the first place. Our quest for wisdom often encounters the same hindrances.
I have yet to meet a person who is against wisdom. No one says: “Maybe less wisdom is what we need here.” Everyone professes himself to be a seeker of wisdom. Yet we see in the verses above that the only prerequisite for discovering wisdom is seeking it. So why is it still such a rare commodity? Why does it frequently seem so elusive?
The answer has to do with what you find at the end of your search. If you relentlessly pursue the path of wisdom, you end in a fear of the Lord. Many (if not all) of us instinctively know that. That’s precisely the problem. Discovering a greater fear of the Lord, and a deeper knowledge of God will often confront and cut across our current aims or worldview. In a word, wisdom is often found on the other side of personal conviction. When you deal with true, living wisdom, you find yourself dealing with the true and living God. A search that you initially conceived of as leisurely travel for the purpose of collecting artifacts of interest and sophistication has now turned into a personal confrontation. Our beliefs, our behaviors, and our person are all up for examination before this living God, who is the source of wisdom. We are threatened with a real possibility that we ourselves might need to change. We may be pressed with implications that we reform how we think, or act, or speak. It is understandable then, that we often stop short in our purported voyages of wisdom-seeking.
These verses push us to search for wisdom like we would sliver or hidden treasure. That would imply that we don’t find wisdom on the surface. The discovery of these hidden treasures requires hard work, diligence, and personal cost. Often, we flatter ourselves that we are seeking wisdom when in reality we are engaged in the surface-level work of confirmation bias. We look for what we want to see and listen to what we want to hear. We brush past potential mines of wisdom because it is easier to assimilate their surface appearance as belonging to categories we already possess. We think we’re listening, but we’re really listening for “how does this fit in with what I already believe, and want to be true?”
So if you want wisdom, the question becomes: “No, but do you really want wisdom?” Are you willing to push past an intellectual veneer and put your very self on the table, open to be shaped and directed by a knowledge of who God is and what He says is true?