The Benefits of Wisdom
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I want to highlight his ministry and mission, particularly as a way of making clear the meaning of Proverbs 2 in today’s world. As I mentioned in my last article on Proverbs 1, when I read Proverbs for the first time as a young woman, it wasn’t always clear to me what the proverbs meant and how I could apply them.
In this article, I hope to show that Dr. King manifestly demonstrates how to apply Proverbs 2 in our lives.
Proverbs 2: 6-8
6For the LORD gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity,
8to guard the paths of justice
and protect the way of His saints.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Love is one of the pinnacle parts of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice, and justice is really love in calculation.”
As a Baptist minister and civil rights activist, he played a major role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. He is best known for his part in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on Christian beliefs.
His life and teachings were highly influenced by Proverbs 2. This chapter in the book of Proverbs encourages the reader to seek wisdom and understanding, as they are more valuable than silver or gold.
Proverbs 2:6 was a guiding principle for Dr. King’s life and work: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Dr. King believed that wisdom and understanding were essential for achieving racial equality and justice. He often quoted Proverbs 2:11, which states, “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” He believed that through the use of nonviolence and peaceful protest, the civil rights movement could gain the understanding and support of the broader American public.
He believed wisdom and understanding were necessary for overcoming hate and bigotry. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech he declared, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” This message of love and brotherhood was rooted in the wisdom found in Proverbs 2:12, which states, “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.”
Dr. King was deeply influenced by the wisdom and guidance found in Proverbs 2. One of his tenets was that through the pursuit of wisdom and understanding, the civil rights movement could overcome hate and bigotry and achieve justice and equality for all. His legacy continues to inspire people around the world to seek wisdom, understanding and make the world a better place.
Today we can all benefit from Dr. King’s example. How can we apply God’s wisdom and understanding to our lives and to the lives of others? How does Proverbs 2 touch your life now? I’ve found it’s important for me to seek God’s wisdom whenever I have tough decisions to make or when I’m not sure of the right or correct action to take.
“Proverbs 2: 10-11
10For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will delight your soul.
11Discretion will watch over you,
and understanding will guard you”
We can’t ask for more.