We like to think of ourselves as the ‘lucky’ country blessed as we are in so many ways, but also the ‘clever’ country. After all are we not highly internet savvy, with computers in the school classroom, a mobile computer in our phone, and also Facebook and Twitter-sphere adept? In addition we have ‘knowledge’ in spades, and if we don’t we can download it off the internet, because if we don’t know it Mr Google will supply it in a couple of clicks. Indeed knowledge and information abound, we drown in, indeed are often overloaded with them in ways previous generations could not even imagine.
However, ‘cleverness, ‘knowledge’, ‘information’ do not seem to lead to emotional well-being – levels of which seem to be falling with much evidence of increasing anxiety and emotional disease. This is not imagination. Recent research published in the ‘Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry’ has found marked deterioration in the mental health of teenage girls (in terms of symptoms of depression and anxiety) and a corresponding, although less marked, increase in anxiety and depression among teenage boys. It is clear that our increased ‘knowledge’ and ‘cleverness’ does not bring with equivalent emotional benefits.
What is the cause of this problem? The answer might just lie in the Bible, particularly in Proverbs where we are exhorted to seek something of priceless value, something of value above silver, gold and precious stones (Proverbs 3:13-15) This ‘something’ ignored by our culture in its drowning in intellectual ‘knowledge’ and ‘cleverness’, is something that gives long life, peace, true life and blessing-indeed emotional well-being (Proverbs 3:16-18)!
That something is ‘Wisdom’, not a subject on the curriculum of our schools and universities (although once regarded as a subject worthy of rigorous scholarly enquiry), yet something that God exhorts us to get (Proverbs 4:5) because it is ‘Supreme’ i.e. to be valued above all things – and God says to us—
“Esteem her, and she will lift you up,
embrace her and she will honour you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head,
and present you with a crown of splendour.” Proverbs 4:8,9
“Wisdom is more precious than rubies
and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 8:11
Could it be that just as our society’s obsession with ‘things’ and ‘celebrity’ and the pursuit of ‘pleasure’ does not satisfy or fulfill, neither does our ‘cleverness’ and the gaining of intellectual ‘knowledge’. Could it be that what we actually need is not ‘knowledge’ but to ‘get Wisdom’.
Of course, the Bible is the expression of the ’Mystery of God’ and there is a ’Mystery’ here. A clue to what this ’Mystery’ might be is that in Proverbs ‘Wisdom’ is spoken of as a person—
“She will set a garland of grace’…etc
So seeking Wisdom is seeking a person—who might that be? Who could it be that is ‘Priceless’ (Matthew 13:45/ Revelation 21:21) but not valued by our society, who is ‘the Wisdom of God’? (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Worth a look maybe?