Searching and researching: lessons from proverbs

I was reminded again, today, that it was the season of Lent. And while I do not come from a liturgical tradition, there is something about the “call for repentance” as a “call for reflection reorientation” that strikes me at the moment.

Currently I am working on my PhD dissertation, and have been struggling to keep God in the centre of things. All the books, thousands of books, that I see before me all seemed empty… as they did not seem to be bringing me closer to God. But I realised again that the problem was not with the books, but with me. It is I who have strayed from God, and it is I who need to seek him.

I read the Proverbs chapter 2 passage, and I was struck by how relevant it was for me as a research student; especially the idea of looking for and finding the wisdom and knowledge of GOD. I have generally believed that there is no dichotomy between academics and spiritual life, but I think I was reminded that the focus of my academics is ultimately spiritual. It is a religious response to God, it is a religious quest for God.

So with that in view, I quote the first 11 verses of Proverbs chapter 2, hoping that it will be ‘more remembered’ by me, more internalised, both now as I sit in silence and as I continue search and re-search.

The text is in the New International Version (NIV) and copied from

Proverbs 2:1-11

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,

3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.


1 Response to “Searching and researching: lessons from proverbs”

  1. 1 dimlamp March 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I think it is more a matter of God searching for and finding us. For example: I John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” And my favourite: Romans 5:8: “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (NRSV) True wisdom, understanding, knowledge and insight of God is Jesus Christ and him crucified, so the apostle Paul, Luther, et. al.

    Blessings in your doctorate studies.

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Passage for this Season

Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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