The book of Proverbs is a treasure chest of solar systems. Stars of wisdom shine in condensed phrases and verses, and as one looks closer, one can make out first planets, then moons, then at greater detail, asteroids, and all manner of geography orbiting around each star. Stars then form constellations of truth, which compose whole galaxies of knowledge. My hope is that, by probing some of these verses a little more, we can see more of the universe that God has created around us, and how it all fits together for his glory.
The proverbs of Solomon…to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity. (Proverbs 1:3)
In the Avengers’ Endgame, recovering and restoring the Infinity Stones is the group’s great quest. This would undo the apocalyptic damage Thanos was able to wreak on the world by controlling all of these stones. In Aladdin, it’s the Genie’s bottle. In Lord of the Rings, it’s the one ring. We intuitively search for ways to portray and capture some master skeleton key, which will unlock all doors, and fling open all possibilities. If only there was some way we could grasp and hold in harmony all the seemingly contradictory mysteries of the universe.
The good news is that Proverbs gives us that key. It’s wisdom.
The bad news is, it’s not something we find once, and then make sure we get a really good safe to put it in. It’s an orientation of life. Wisdom ultimately is the person of Jesus Christ, but simply knowing that doesn’t get you all the answers either. Knowing that Jesus is wisdom incarnate doesn’t magically unravel all the knots of life.
Wisdom may be the key to understanding hotly debated issues of justice and equity, but that’s akin to saying that location is the key to real estate. You’ve really just begun the conversation. And yet, if we know that wise dealings, especially in justice and equity are dependent on wisdom, then we do know something. We know that answers to complex social debates we’re mired in are not ready-made, simply awaiting discovery, if only we can bring out the right universal formula or equation.
Take for example a particular crime or offense that you discover. What may initially strike you as the patently obvious required response of true justice may, upon further investigation, be biased, or an overreaction. If justice is symbolized by a pair of scales, the question is not only whether the scales are balanced. Wisdom goes beyond that, and asks whether you have truly placed all the weights on both sides which need to be accounted for. True wisdom is broad. It’s often hidden. It’s often counterintuitive. The same can be said about wisdom in relation to equity.
If we understand that wisdom is the key to pursuing wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity, it will help us avoid crass oversimplifications, haughty tones, and rash, knee-jerk reactions. We will pursue a deeper knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ so that, in becoming like him, we will have more of the wisdom required to deal in these other subjects.