Knowledge and Wisdom

“Wisdom is good with an inheritance; it is an advantage to the one who sees the sun. For in the shadow of wisdom is like being in the shadow of silver; the result of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who masters it.”

(Ecclesiastes 7:11-12)

How often it is that wisdom and knowledge are paired together in the scriptures. It is what Solomon asks for when God asks of him what he would want as he becomes king (2 Chronicles 1:10) and in the Proverbs, Solomon regularly pairs them as coming from God alone (Proverbs 2:6; 8:12; 9:10). Isaiah refers to the Spirit of the Lord as both the Spirit of Wisdom and as the Spirit of Knowledge (Isaiah 11:2) and Daniel, like Solomon before him, affirms that both wisdom and knowledge come from the Lord (Daniel 2:21). Similarly, the Apostle Paul states that both come as gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church (1 Corinthians 12:8) and thus it is his prayer for the church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9).

And thus, Solomon writes here that wisdom will preserve the life of the one who masters knowledge. Yet, this is not simply general knowledge, but it is the knowledge of the Word of God that is in sight here. Yes, there is a great deal of knowledge that can be gained as one looks at the world around them, but without the knowledge of God that comes from his Word, then all other knowledge is skewed and twisted, it is like looking through a window with warped glass. The atheist believes that he knows, but he is blind to his blindness and wisdom will not protect his life because he cannot truly master the knowledge he has without that knowledge being grounded in the Word of God.

And thus, wisdom is like that good inheritance that will protect and provide for you, even in your old age when you can no longer work and labor for your provision. But we must not stop there. The Hebrew viewed his inheritance as a sacred gift from God through his father — something that was eternally provided for him and for his family. Indeed, this was God’s gift to Abraham and that which God gives, he does not eternally rescind (though we might lose it for a season under his discipline). Note that this principle is one to which we cling as Christians as well (Hebrews 9:15). So, Wisdom too, Solomon says, is like an eternal inheritance — not to all mankind, but to those who come to God seeking knowledge humbly and in a place of worship (Deuteronomy 4:29).

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