Wisdom and Knowledge

The current Jeopardy champion, James Holzhauer, and his current twenty-two game winning streak has become must watch television. The syndicated game drew its best household rating in 14 years in the week of April 29th. Holzhauer has currently earned the second-highest winnings in Jeopardy history with $1,691,008 as of May 3rd. Holzhauer has amassed this enormous amount in the shortest period of Jeopardy history, because of His unusual playing strategy. Holzhauer currently holds the top ten single-game winnings of Jeopardy history, his highest winning total was $131,127 on April 17th.

Holzhauer’s strategy in playing the game of Jeopardy is vastly different from the normal top-to-bottom and category-to-category style, but rather he jumps throughout the board seeking the higher valued clues and daily doubles. This strategy is known as the “Forrest Bounce,” and is named after a contestant from the 1980’s. Holzhauer’s strategy has worked not only in amassing him large amounts of winnings, but it also serves as a mechanism to confuse the other contestants. There is no sequential order to his strategy, but rather he bounces from one topic to the next. Holzhauer has averaged $9,128 per daily double, correctly answered 49/53 daily doubles, and has a 97% response accuracy.

The importance of knowledge is the very premise on which the game of Jeopardy is based. While the contestants on Jeopardy manifest a very distinct form of knowledge, the ability with precision to recall random facts, is not the type of knowledge that will lead a person to spiritual strength and preparation for eternity. The knowledge of this earth is fleeting, but the wisdom and knowledge of God is everlasting. It is good to accumulate the knowledge necessary to be successful in life; however, the most important knowledge is only found in the Bible.

The wisest man to have ever lived, Solomon, did not leave us without guidance in our pursuit of heavenly wisdom and knowledge. The wisdom of Solomon was recorded, preserved, translated, and copied for our knowledge and study. One of Israel’s historians recorded – “Solomon spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five” (1 Kings 4:32). In the book of Proverbs, Solomon’s wisdom and knowledge are written in a variety of patterns to warn, encourage, and inform the reader of the wickedness that can so easily entangle him.

Solomon’s foundation for the wisdom and knowledge that leads to life is “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). When one is motivated by an awesome fear of God’s wonder and power, it helps in the building of his life on the principles of the Bible. The wise and knowledgeable servant of God will not become distracted by the wiles of the adulterous woman. The wise and knowledgeable servant will not allow laziness to keep him from his work in this world and for his God. The wise and knowledgeable servant will find contentment and will not endure the pain of negligent debt. The wise and knowledgeable servant will marry a virtuous woman who is united with him in attaining spiritual success and riches.

Solomon encourages his reader to seek wisdom and knowledge – to answer wisdom’s call! Solomon wrote –

2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;” (Proverbs 2:2)

5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth (Proverbs 4:5).

1 Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: 4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:1-4)

3 She has sent out her maidens, she calls From the tops of the heights of the city: 4 “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks understanding she says, 5 “Come, eat of my food And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 “Forsake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding” (Proverbs 9:3-6; emphasis mine, bcj).

A journey through the book of Proverbs may be an arduous task for the spiritually weak and lazy, but for the one seeking the wisdom and knowledge of heaven, it is a roadmap given directly from God.

The landscape of Jeopardy has been changed by the unconventional game playing of James Holzhauer, but how long will man remember his great achievements? The annals of human history may record the successes of Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer, but what about the book of life? In the end, the amount of earthly knowledge that one remembers will be meaningless. Our greatest devotion in life must be the acquiring of heavenly wisdom, which can be solely obtained through the Bible. The Bible offers man the necessary instructions on how to be found faithful in the sight of God. A person’s knowledge of random artists and authors may win him money on Jeopardy, but a knowledge of God and His commands can be rewarded with the crown of life. Am I seeking to acquire the heavenly wisdom and knowledge contained in the Word of God?