At least I used to think so. A recent Bible study in Proverbs on the virtue of wisdom led me to research more on the subject. For as long as I can remember, owls were a symbol of wisdom and intelligence. Those wide eyes that stared out from childhood stories and cartoons were considered all knowing.
Greek and Roman mythology portrayed owls as solemn birds because they were mysterious and could see through the darkness. It turns out that owls are not so wise after all. Their small brains compared to their body size makes them much less trainable than crows, hawks, parrots, and pigeons. Another childhood belief burst by modern science.
Wisdom in owls and humans seems to be in short supply these days. Socrates once said, “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” 2020 is turning out to be a year when much wisdom is required to navigate all the confusion. The Covid 19 pandemic, killings, demonstrations, and riots have made me realize I have no control over life’s circumstances.
I feel very humbled and know that the God of the Universe is the only one I can turn to for strength and answers during uncertain times. God wants to give us wisdom, but he wants us to recognize him as the source and to ask for it.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5
Solomon established his kingship in Israel after the death of his father, King David. God was pleased with him and one night he appeared to Solomon:
God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon’s replied that what he wanted from God was wisdom and knowledge to lead his people.
He did not ask for gold, silver, or other material possessions, but selflessly asked to be a wise and understanding leader. God answered his prayer by giving him wisdom and worldly possessions too.
How can I receive God’s wisdom? The answer is found in the book of Proverbs:
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
To fear the Lord requires an understanding of the character of God and a desire to worship him and please him in the way I live. Humility is the key to receiving Godly wisdom.
Hollywood, television, politicians, and social media scream out their message of worldly wisdom. Follow it and you will become like the fools described above. Godly wisdom is described in the book of James as follows:
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
I may not be a wise old owl, but I can be a wise older lady who reflects God’s wisdom in this world.