This is part three in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn what God has to say in this book about wisdom and discernment. Yesterday’s passage taught wisdom is both a choice and a blessing. We have to make a choice to seek wisdom and if we are diligent in doing so, God will bless us with it. There is both a human and a divine element to wisdom. When I have wisdom I will be able to more fully understand God and will be more able to live a life that pleases Him.
The third chapter of Proverbs continues the theme of the blessings wisdom can provide. The first few verses indicate that wisdom will give to me “length of days and years of life and peace.” It will help me “find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” Clearly wisdom is something God wishes to provide to His people so they can enjoy lives that are pleasing to Him. Wisdom allows me to find favor in the eyes of God.
Verses 5 and 6 are well known and I know many people who rely on these verses for guidance and inspiration throughout their lives. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” What awesome truth is contained in those verses! If I trust in the Lord with my whole heart, my will my reason and all that I am, while refusing to depend on my human understanding, God will direct my way. He will provide the guidance and the godly wisdom I need to make right decisions and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Every Christian would do well to understand, memorize and believe these verses! They can be such comfort in times of trial and in times where we do not know if we should turn to the right or to the left. Trust the Lord, seek His wisdom and know that His wisdom will help you choose the path you should take.
The passage continues with showing the benefits of wisdom. We are told that wisdom will be “healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” If we honor the Lord with our possessions He will provide for us financially for “your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Of course we can see all around us that this is not always the case for often those who seek God’s wisdom are not healthy and wealthy, so how are we to understand this?
What we find is that a long life, prosperity and health are the normal expectations for a life of wisdom. This does not mean that they will definitely be given to us. If we do not receive them in this life we can rest assured that we will be given them and more in the world to come. We also read in verses 11 and 12 that we are not to despise the Lord’s correction and discipline. It may be that if we are not experiencing these things God could be correcting some sinful behavior. However, this is not always the case as we see, for example, in the life of Job. He was faithful to God and sought wisdom, yet for a time had prosperity, health and happiness taken from Him. We are left with no choice but to follow Job in submitting to God’s design and plan for our lives.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Nothing I can seek or desire can be more important and more valuable than wisdom. If there is anything I seek in life it should not be wealth or happiness or popularity; it should be wisdom!
In verse 19 we read “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.” We see that wisdom is what God used to create the world and everything in it. This displays the power of God’s perfect wisdom. If God’s wisdom can create something so great and so magnificent, should we not do all we can to attain the wisdom that He offers? To seek for wisdom and to take hold of it is to imitate God.
The chapter closes with an exhortation not to envy evildoers. The Word tells us that perverse and devious people are an abomination to God and are not worthy of our envy, for God chooses to take into His confidence those who are upright. Where He curses those who are wicked, He blesses those who are righteous. In the end it is the wise who will inherit great honor while the wicked will be put to shame. The New King James translates this thought as “shame shall be the legacy of fools.” Who would ever want their legacy to be one of foolishness? I pray that God would allow me to leave behind a legacy of godliness and wisdom.
The objective for this study is to learn godly wisdom and discernment. Based on the third chapters of Proverbs, here is what I have learned:
- God blesses those who seek wisdom with peace and favor.
- Wisdom helps me understand when, how and why God is chastening me and disciplining me as a loving father disciplines his child.
- Nothing in all the world compares to the value of wisdom. Nothing I could desire can compare to her value.
- I am to strive to attain wisdom seeing the beauty and value of wisdom in the world around me.
- I am not to envy foolish people, for in the end God blesses only the wise. If I continue to seek wisdom I will leave a legacy of grace rather than shame.