Each month I read through Proverbs and yesterday being the 14th, I read one of my favourite verses.
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known. Proverbs 14:33 (NKJV)
I have in the past made the connection to Jesus being our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30) and Him resting in my heart if I possess understanding. However, while I take comfort in that application, that was not the original meaning given Solomon had not heard of Jesus when he wrote this verse. So let us explore it a bit further.
Wisdom is practical skill or ability and understanding is discerning and considering something. Proverbs is a book of practical wisdom. The verse has a contrast between the wise and the foolish, with the fool in Proverbs being one who rejects the knowledge of God, not one who lacks information or education.
This verse, like many others in Proverbs, stands alone as a piece of pithy wisdom and the contrast is between those who retain wisdom and those whose inner life is always on display for others to see. This versus is not an exhortation to be secretive, it is an encouragement to retain wisdom. We see it reflected in what James wrote when he said we are to be swift to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19).
In essence, wisdom is at rest, it finds a home, in those with understanding. What needs to be addressed of course is what needs to be understood. Taking the broader context and purpose of Proverbs one thing 14:33 is telling us is that we need to understand, to discern situations before we address them. In the present state of our culture this verse is of particular importance. We live in an era of keyboard warriors very willing to share their opinions with others and few who are willing to step back, pray and discern.
I had a situation this week where I made a difficult decision to provide direction to someone and I knew it was direction they would not want to hear and would create some issues for them. Prior to providing it I spent some months praying and weighing it and sought wisdom from others whose discernment I trust. I wanted to be certain I was making the right decision. As He is so good at doing the Lord confirmed the rightness of my decision after I made it.
While this is one example of applying Proverbs 14:33 most of our opportunities will not have a timeline of months, nor do they need to have this timeframe. In keeping with Proverbs overarching theme of practical wisdom, the next time we choose to respond to something on social media or offer an opinion at home or at work we can pause and do a little inner check. In doing that check we can determine whether what we are offering is coming from wisdom resting in our heart.