This verse, specifically the first phrase, has carried great significance for me for many years.
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)
The significance lies in the fact that when I think of wisdom I think of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Jesus is wisdom to us from God. Thus, when I consider the idea of wisdom resting within me I think of Jesus resting in my heart. There is however a qualifier, it says that wisdom/Jesus rests in the heart of those with understanding. Which means there is a need to look at what understanding means.
The Hebrew word translated as understanding is bin and refers to discerning or carefully considering. It could be translated as ‘Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has discernment/is discerning’ and we know from Hebrews 5:13-14 that wisdom is the fruit of maturity.
We have the word in understanding context in the verse and then the broader context of Proverbs. We also have a contrast in this proverb with wisdom resting in the heart of the wise, in a sense hidden, waiting to be revealed at the right time, while what is in the heart of the fool is exposed. In Proverbs the word ‘fool’ refers not to one who lacks intelligence, rather it refers to one who does not seek and honour God.
A clear implication here is that the wise and mature have less to say than the fools. The wise and discerning weigh their words carefully. We live in a time when civility has greatly decreased, in particular in online discourse. What is needed in this hour is wisdom; wisdom coming from the hearts of those who take the time to listen, weigh and consider before speaking, those who have Jesus resting in their hearts. In this hour we need not bombast and hype – we need wise words that point the way.
Knowing that the understanding or discerning create a place for Jesus to rest in their hearts and then speak when He is speaking or prompting from within, we need to do two things. We need to practice restraint if we are not already doing so. We then need to discern and speak what Jesus is speaking into the lives and circumstances of those around. After all Jesus pointed us to the fruit of wisdom, let us heed Him.
35 “But wisdom is justified by all her children.” Luke 7:35 NKJV