As a parent you are familiar with all kinds of practice. For example, there is piano practice, soccer practice, play practice, choir practice, target practice, etc. But what about wisdom practice?
If your children are going to practice anything, it should be wisdom. In Proverbs 4:7 David tells this to his son, Solomon:
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
No, the first line of the verse is not a typo, even though it may sound awkward. The idea is the first step in gaining wisdom to go for it, that is get wisdom! If you want to be wise, nothing else can matter.
Proverbs teaches us that wisdom is a skill to be practiced. Wisdom must be acquired at all costs. No one is born with wisdom. To obtain wisdom you must be willing to sacrifice for it, just like you sacrifice time for soccer practice.
In Proverbs four Solomon recalls the plea of his father David to him when he was a boy. David told his son the most vital thing he could possess was wisdom. He said that everything else should be secondary to the practice of wisdom.
Remember the historical context of this chapter. Solomon is the second son David had with Bathsheba. Their first son died because of David’s profound lack of wisdom. Instead of being wise he was sinfully stupid in spectacular fashion. Solomon was raised amidst relational wreckage of David’s sin with Bathsheba. David thought he had it all. The world around him thought he had it all. But it mattered little because he didn’t value wisdom as supreme. Solomon had seen first-hand the truth of his dad’s words. The family of David was a relational disaster: Amnon, Tamar, Absalom, Adonijah.
You remember Adonijah. He was the second son of David who tried to take the throne from his father. I Kings 1:5-6 tells us how Adonijah followed the example of his brother Absalom. Sadly, David also repeated his failure with Absalom. We read:
Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
In God’s mercy and grace, Solomon took his father’s words to heart. He saw the acquisition of wisdom as the most precious of all possessions. How do we know this? Years later, God came to Solomon and told him that he would give him whatever he asked for.
Solomon asked for wisdom.
Wisdom practice. It is the difference between life and death, of being wise or being a fool. Whatever else you or your children do, get wisdom!