Wisdom’s First House


I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was sitting in my Old Testament Studies class, pondering a great definition for wisdom, skill in the art of godly living, when a disconcerting realization interrupted my thinking:

“I don’t have wisdom.”

I had read the “wisdom” books—Proverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes—and I’d studied them.  But suddenly I was confronted with the uncomfortable truth that, although I had some informational knowledge of the subject, I didn’t actually possess biblical wisdom.  I wasn’t skilled in the art of godly living.

I didn’t know at the time, but I approached the wisdom books as a thick manual to consult as I encountered various life situations. I didn’t have experience in walking through life, and walking through the counsel of the Scriptures, in company with the Counselor Himself. And since that’s how wisdom is gained and applied, I was at a considerable disadvantage in my pursuit of wisdom.

I guess God knew that, because He soon initiated a training program to teach me wisdom. With the Counselor as my personal guide, God had me walk together with Him through some difficult-to-endure circumstances and through some difficult-to-embrace wisdom literature.

In preparation for my practical journey to an increase in wisdom, I received some insight from Derek Kidner as to how the three wisdom books relate to one another.  I’ll never forget his helpful description of the three wisdom books as three houses:

1) The Prosperous House (Proverbs)

2) The Stricken House (Job)

3) The Decaying House (Ecclesiastes)

And I learned that, in order to gain personal and practical wisdom, I’d have to live in all three of wisdom’s houses.

Today’s post is the first in a series of three. I am presenting wisdom’s first house, the wisdom of Proverbs, as a necessary introduction to my exploration of the second and third houses.

The Proverbs show me how to live in a God-made and God-inhabited world.  In pithy statements that paint in broad strokes, and that speak in sweeping generalizations, the Proverbs teach me that God’s world has coherence, that there is a certain way that things work in His world. Through wisdom, I can prosper in community with God and with men.

Proverbs gives us a picture of our own personal flourishing as we acquire and apply skill in the art of godly living. Wisdom’s first house is a safe and comfortable place to stay. It’s the house we want to build together with God and never leave.

But wisdom has two more houses. And we should acquaint ourselves with each of them because, sooner or later, we’ll have our opportunity to move in.

Got wisdom?

7 thoughts on “Wisdom’s First House

  1. Dave,
    I always look forward to your blog posts … but now the anticipation is doubled (or should I say “tripled”?) And I love how you succinctly put it: “Through wisdom, I can prosper in community with God and with men.”
    I should also tell you that my 12 y.o. read over my shoulder — and she asked, “Is there another drawing today?”
    Yeah, she loves what you write too, but she’s a real fan of your artwork!

    • It is very kind of you to express your appreciation for, and anticipation of, these posts. The idea of wisdom’s 3 houses has been in the back of my mind for years, just simmering on the back burner. To be honest, I am eager to see what’s been cooking for so long. And I’m with your 12-year-old. I’m all about the pictures. 🙂

  2. Dave,
    I so enjoy reading your blog each day! Thank you for your interesting perspectives…I find they challenge me daily in my walk with the Lord. My ponderment today… “Through wisdom, I can prosper in community with God and with men.”

    • Thank you for your encouraging feedback. Writing helps me think and helps me meditate on truth. I am glad that you are finding some benefit in reading what I’m writing. It’s so helpful to process truth in community. Thanks again for your response.

  3. Dave, I appreciate your words. I had never thought to divide wisdom into three categories, so to speak. And I had to chuckle (just a little) at your approach to gaining wisdom in the beginning of your pursuit. I usually like to do things the easy way too. Unfortunately, wisdom is seldom gained the “easy way,” but rather as we walk through struggles and heart-and-soul” searching. I’m looking forward to your next blogs.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Jeanne. I had never thought of wisdom in such a way either, but Derek Kidner has a way of expressing profound things in simple ways. You are so right. There really isn’t a short-cut to becoming wise, is there? Struggle and heart-and-soul searching seems to be the path. And “wisdom is with the aged” because they’ve usually done a lot more of both of those things.

  4. Pingback: Wisdom’s Third House | Drawing from Experience

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