Do you remember the name Buckminster Fuller? He was an inventor, mathematician and futurist who wrote a book shortly before his death 30 years ago titled Critical Path (St. Martin’s Press, 1981). In the book, Fuller introduced the idea of a “Knowledge Doubling Curve.” Using all of the knowledge that the human race had accumulated and transmitted by 1 AD as a starting point, Fuller believed knowledge would have doubled by about 1500 AD. The next doubling of knowledge would have been about 1750 AD. Doubling increased exponentially during the next two centuries and had grown to about every 25 years by the end of World War 2. Today, because of the computer and other information systems, the doubling time of knowledge is close to every 12 months and experts say it may one day double every 12 hours!
I touched on some of these futurist views in the section about “The Science of Immortality” in my book A History of Man’s Quest for Immortality (Fifth Estate, 2007, pp. 391-470). Though “knowledge doubling” is certainly a big challenge to our society, there is a bigger problem. Knowledge is increasing, but wisdom is decreasing. Our children will “know” more in their lifetime than we will ever know in ours, but they will have little “wisdom” to use that knowledge.
We must teach wisdom to our children now!
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend to children, this special series is for you. This is the first of many posts to help you help your children grow in wisdom. Let’s begin with the lessons from the wisest man who ever lived (not counting Jesus Christ).
- Love Your Soul
The words of King Solomon in Proverbs 19:8 are powerful: “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.” Our parents teach us from an early age how to love them, ourselves and others, but what about our soul? The soul is eternal. The body dies, but the real you lives forever. We spend so much time taking care of our bodies and improving our minds and relationships with others, but shouldn’t we also learn how to care for our eternal soul?
King Solomon was one of the wisest people who ever lived. The Bible tells us: “And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment … And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore … And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt … And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” (1 Kings 3:28; 4:29, 30, 34)
Solomon had a wise father. King David was not perfect, but he was wise. David loved God and wanted to do God’s will. David loved his son and wanted him to be wise. Solomon learned so much about wisdom from his father and from God. Solomon made the correct choice in his early years: to get wisdom.
“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king. Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.” 2 Chronicles 1:10-12
Solomon received tremendous wisdom from God and was known around the world for it: “And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built … And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom … So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.” (1 Kings 10:4, 6, 7, 8, 23, 24)
How can we receive God’s wisdom into our souls? How might God use us to be a light to the world of His Love and Knowledge? Let’s turn to His Word and learn.
We begin by taking Proverbs 19:8 in context. Solomon learned much about caring for his soul from his father, King David. So, let’s first see what David knew about wisdom and what he would have passed along to his son. Then, let’s see what Solomon knew about wisdom and what he would have passed along to his son prior to his writing the words of Proverbs 19:8. What we learn is good for us and for our children and their children.
First, what David knew about wisdom. Notice how instruction, knowledge, wisdom and understanding are often placed together.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalms 19:7
“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.” Psalms 37:30
“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” Psalms 49:3
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Psalms 51:6
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.” Psalms 107:43
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Psalms 111:10
“Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.” Psalms 119:98
Now, what Solomon knew about wisdom and what he would have taught his children. As you read what he wrote to his children, think about how you could teach these same precepts about wisdom to your children.
“To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding … To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity … A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction … Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets.” Proverbs 1:2,3,5,6,7,20
“So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding … For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding … He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly … When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul.” Proverbs 2:2,6,7,10
“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil … Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding … The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens … My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion … The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” Proverbs 3:7,13,19,21, 35
“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth … Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding … I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.” Proverbs 4:5,7,11
“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding.” Proverbs 5:1
“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman.” Proverbs 7:4
“Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? … O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart … For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it … I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions … Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength … Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Proverbs 8:1,5,11,12,14, 33
“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars … Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding … If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.” Proverbs 9:1,8,9,10,12
“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother … He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame … The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall … In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding. Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction … In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise … The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom … It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom … The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.” Proverbs 10:1,5,8,13,14,19,21,23,31
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom … He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace … He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:2,12,29,30
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise … There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” Proverbs 12:15,18
“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke … The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death … He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:1,14,20
“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands … In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them … A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth … The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit … A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident … The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly … Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known … The king’s favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.” Proverbs 14:1,3,6,8,16,24,33,35
“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness … The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so … A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise … A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother. Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly … The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise … The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” Proverbs 15:21,33
“The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it … How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! … He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning … The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” Proverb s 16:14,16,20,21,23
“A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren … A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? … Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth … Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:2,10,16,24,28
“Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom … The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook … The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” Proverbs 18:1,4,15
“He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good … Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” Proverbs 19:8,20
Now, let me place this in context of something very dear to my heart: teaching martial arts in a Christian atmosphere. Instructing children and young people to defend themselves is a wonderful thing. It is a great opportunity to improve the bodies and minds of hundreds, even thousands of people. We teach our students the art of self defense. We teach them how to defend themselves and others who are innocent. It is a wonderful reward knowing they can do that effectively while they are on earth. But is that the best thing? Is there something even better? Yes! By far the greatest reward in life is to teach our children, students and friends how to love their own souls; for that will do them good throughout eternity. We begin by imparting to them the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of God. That will reap eternal benefits and bring great joy and happiness to many lives.
Please think on these things each day this week. We’ll share the next part of our series with you soon.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,