[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to start your week.]
Focus Verse of the Week
Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. (Proverbs 23:23, ESV)
The paradigms of Israel's religion, law, prophecy, and wisdom were not exclusive to Israel but were shared by other ancient Near Eastern cultures. So it was not the form of Israel's religion that made it distinctive, but its content. Wisdom was a common way of thinking in this part of the ancient world. Briefly, it was a way of viewing and approaching life, which involved instructing the young in proper conduct and morality and answering the philosophical questions about life's meaning.
In the Old Testament wisdom at one level describes skilled arts and artisans, like weavers (Exodus 35:25-26), architects (Exodus 35:30-35), and goldsmiths (Jeremiah 10:9). At a second level, wisdom was keen insight into life and ways of dealing with its problems. Solomon was associated with wisdom in this sense (1 Kings 3:1-15; see also 1 Kings 4:32-34), although the term used was "understanding," which occurs often as a synonym of wisdom.
At a fourth level, the terms wisdom and wise apply to men and women who represent a way of thinking and conduct that is orderly, socially sensitive, and morally upright. Thus, the major thrust of wisdom in the Old Testament was a code of moral conduct. This is especially represented by the Book of Proverbs, which gives instruction on personal behavior from the discipline of children (Proverbs 22:6) to the golden-rule treatment of one's neighbor (Proverbs 24:29). The goal of wisdom was to build an orderly and functional society that reflected the moral requirements of God as set forth in the law of Moses.
(Adapted from Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Wisdom.)
A Thought to Keep
Are you seeking the wisdom that comes from studying God's Word and seeking His will? Make it your main desire this week.