My heart needs a stronger bent toward wisdom. The pursuit of wisdom does not dominate my thinking, drive my doing, nor consume my life. Bible reading, meditation, and study occupy an extremely small portion of my day. Reading challenging, thought-provoking books and thinking about their message do not find a ready place in my day’s activities. Probing the life experiences and lessons in others . . . well, that rarely happens.
Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing.” In my head and heart I know this to be true. So that’s a good step. But I want more than mere knowledge and intellectual assent to the truth! I want to live in such a way that I prove I believe it. I want to live in joyful obedience to the last part of that verse: “Therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
Source for those first two paragraphs: The Worth of Wisdom.
I’m teaching the men’s Sunday School class in our congregation this month. Today’s lesson is based on Proverbs 3:1-18. I already wrote about the first ten verses: Wisdom, Mercy, Truth, and Trust — Get ‘Em!. Here you have a selection of hasty, preliminary notes I jotted down for myself on verses 11-18. (The stuff in Spanish is from the Reina-Valera 1960 version of the Bible. Beneath each such usage you will find my translation to English.)
This passage has two of what I like to think of as the Proverbs Beatitudesthe worth of wisdom for our character and spirit:
- “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” (Proverbs 3:13).
- “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her” (Proverbs 3:18).
“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction” (Proverbs 3:11).
- The Hebrew word translated chastening here was translated instruction in these verses from last Sunday’s lesson: Proverbs 1:2,3,7,8.
- “el castigo de Jehová”
- “the punishment of Jehovah”
- The Hebrew word translated correction here was translated reproof in this verse from last Sunday’s lesson: Proverbs 1:23.
- weary = H6973 = “to be (causatively, make) disgusted or anxious”
- Don’t resent or undervalue or resist God’s instructive chastening.
- Neither tire of or get fed up with His correction.
“For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:12).
- “al que ama castiga”
- “the one he loves he punishes”
- Correction is a manifestation of love for and pleasure in.
- But never is this correction in the absence of a genuine need for it.
- This isn’t a declaration of our need for constant correction and chastening.
- Neither is it a model of such for parents and church leaders to follow.
- Which do those under our authority know better and experience more: our love or our correction?
- Learn the truth you are being corrected into — depart from the evil you are being corrected for.
- Rejoice in learning more of what pleases God.
- Rejoice in being delivered from error and evil. (I would rather be corrected than continue being wrong.)
- Rejoice at being brought back into a right relationship with God, into a right state of accounts with Him.
- Rest in His love. Thrill at it. Rejoice to be an object of it.
- Realize you are the target of His love.
- And that’s why you are the object and target of His correction.
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” (Proverbs 3:13).
- Finally, a verse that’s about the lesson title!
- If that’s how I see it, I have failed to see wisdom (and the worth of wisdom) in the preceding twelve verses!
- He who seeks and finds wisdom, who strives for and finally gets understanding — he is blessed.
- Blessing to go along with peace, mercy, and truth.
- So value wisdom and understanding beyond all that you value or could value, all that you wish for or could wish for (as the next two verses say).
“For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:14).
- “Porque su ganancia es mejor que la ganancia de la plata, Y sus frutos mßs que el oro fino.”
- “Because her profit is better than silver’s profit, And her fruits more than fine gold.”
“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her” (Proverbs 3:15).
- My wife’s name is Ruby. I hope nobody makes some wisecrack. I’ve heard some very dumb ones. Get serious, folks — these are the Holy Scriptures, not a joke book!
- We value many and varied material things. Many of these things we have; many we wish to have; some we strive diligently to acquire. We might not stow away rubies and other precious stones, but antiques, collectibles, and heirlooms just might find their way into our “treasure chests” a little more readily, eh?
“Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour” (Proverbs 3:16).
- More over-promising by God?
- Or more under-attaining by us?
“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17).
- And more?
- Might this also be a revelation of what wisdom in my heart produces in my life and character?
- How does this compare with what James says about the wisdom that is from above? Lemme look…
- “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
- pleasantness = H5278 = “agreeableness” — elsewhere translated beauty and pleasant
“She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her” (Proverbs 3:18).
- Still more divine overpromising?
I ask several times about God overpromising. I don’t believe He does that, even when my own experience seems to prove that His promises are exaggerated and not fully honored, perhaps even because He can’t.