Wisdom to Know When to Seek Wisdom

Yael Eckstein  |  November 12, 2021

Yael Eckstein reads Passover story with her children

The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
— Proverbs 18:15 (NASB)

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

There’s a well-known adage, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” In other words, better to give someone the tools to fend for themselves than to simply provide their needs without helping them achieve their own independence.

As a mother, I apply this idea to teaching my children how to think. In school, they learn information about the world, whether in history or science class. They learn important skills like math, reading, and writing. And of course, they study the Bible and other important texts from Jewish tradition that nourish their souls.

But the one skill that I want them to have that many children don’t pick up in school is how to make sound decisions. What goes into good decision-making? When should we decide on our own, and when is it a good idea to seek advice from someone older and wiser?

I make a point of showing my children that I also don’t always know what to do and am not afraid to ask others whose wisdom I respect.

Wisdom to Know When to Seek Wisdom

In Proverbs 18, the Bible tells us that there are times when we can use our own understanding and acquire knowledge and wisdom for ourselves. These are the times when we are confident in our own abilities to discern and decide. I want my children not to be afraid to trust their own judgement.

On the other hand, there are times when the best thing to do is to rely on others. In these situations, Proverbs tells us that “the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” This is the knowledge that we arrive at by seeking out mentors and teachers and listening with our ears to their wisdom. We need wisdom to know when to seek wisdom from others.

God wants us to make choices. He doesn’t want us to always let others tell us what to do. But He also expects us to be humble enough to know when to seek the guidance of those whose wisdom is greater than our own.

Your Turn:

Next time you face a decision, pray for guidance and for the wisdom to know when to seek wisdom from others.

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