A careful study on the topic of wisdom will leave someone recognizing the fact that they actually knows very little. The Word talks frequently about wisdom, what wisdom looks like in practice, and the benefits of wisdom. In no book of the Bible is the topic addressed more than in the book of Proverbs. Wisdom is stated throughout the book in many forms and is held up in high honor among the children of Mankind.
Solomon was recognized to be the wisest man who had ever lived during his life. He desired wisdom and sought to establish his kingdom for selfless reasons. He asked God for wisdom, much like the book of James instructs us to do today. God blessed Solomon with wisdom, and he reigned as king for forty years. Solomon was not a perfect man, but if having wisdom to share with another means that someone needs to be perfect, there would be no hope for any of us.
Solomon has given us the book of Proverbs. The Christian would be wise to heed the instruction found within this indispensable book.
Wisdom is a blessing to be sought after
Scripture says, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” (KJV, Prov. 3:13). Here we can see that wisdom is both a blessing and must also be sought after. So often, the common tendency may be to think that if something is a blessing, there is no need to also seek after it. It would seem logical that if someone is blessed, this blessing is outside of anything that he has done. However, in large part, this type of thinking is actually contrary to the Bible.
The popular notion of, “Let go and let God,” is out of place and does not find its home in the Bible. The Christian is not called by God to a state of inactivity. In Proverbs 3:13, we can see that Solomon instructs his readers to seek out wisdom when he states that those who find wisdom are blessed. This means that the Christian must spend his time seeking after wisdom if he would desire to be wise.
Wisdom is more valuable than riches
But is wisdom worth seeking after? Does wisdom hold enough value for a person to prioritize seeking after it? The Bible declares that seeking after wisdom is worth someone’s time and energy. Scripture says concerning wisdom, “For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies…” (Prov. 3:14-15). Solomon says that the value of wisdom surpasses that of silver, gold, and rubies.
There are a number of people who are living their lives in an attempt to accumulate as much wealth as possible. The underlying premise of a business is oftentimes to maximize the wealth of its shareholders. Riches are not inherently evil, but there is a way in which they can take first place in the heart of man.
Solomon seeks to establish his readers in truth. Far beyond the value of riches lies that of wisdom. It would not seem to be outrageous to assume that God’s greatest blessings can be had by all the peoples of the earth. Many people are living in difficult conditions and know nothing of what it means to be wealthy. But if that which held the greatest value was silver, gold, and rubies, it would appear as though God would favor those fortunate enough to be born in a country where they could have money in the bank.
Wisdom is incomparable to other desires
But surely there are things in this life that are more valuable than wisdom. Surely there are other desires that would lead to a better life and greater blessing. Solomon touches on this point when he says, “… and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her” (Prov. 3:15). Solomon is saying that all of a man’s desires cannot be compared to that of wisdom. Another way of stating it is that nothing should be desired above wisdom nor should anything be desired that is opposed to wisdom.
To desire wisdom must therefore be a chief desire of man. Wisdom is to be sought after, valued, and desired above all other desires.
Wisdom comes with many benefits
Solomon first establishes the need for someone to seek after the wisdom of God. Solomon then moves on to stating the way that wisdom is highly valuable, thus declaring that wisdom is worthy of being sought after. Finally, Solomon shifts to highlighting a number of benefits that wisdom will bring.
Scripture says, “Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is everyone that retaineth her” (Prov. 3:16-18). The following is the list of benefits that wisdom gives us:
• Length of days – Solomon is not a health-, wealth-, and prosperity-Gospel advocate. However, there is a truth behind the fact that when someone lives a life of wisdom, it will, generally speaking, advance his years. The wise person watches what he does, watches his company, and guards his life. He lives with an eye on the fact that God has given him his life to steward over it, and he therefore seeks to manage his life well.
• Riches – The book of Proverbs is full of guidance on how to approach finances. Solomon already stated that wisdom must be sought after above wealth. But this does not mean that when someone chooses wisdom, he will be poor. Many wise people have lived their lives under the guidance of wisdom and found that they have also been blessed with riches as a result. This is not the same thing as saying that if someone is a believer, then he will be wealthy, which is more in line with the health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel. Nevertheless, it is to say that when someone lives a life of wisdom, he will learn ways to manage his finances well.
• Honor – Honor is given to those who are esteemed among men. When someone lives a righteous life, he will be noticed for living this way. Some people will not be concerned about the wise. Some people will turn a blind eye to the conduct of the righteous. But there is a remnant that God has secured, as there always has been and always will be, that will look upon the righteous in the land and hold them up with great honor.
• Pleasantness – The way of wisdom is like the Good Shepherd guiding His sheep. Scripture says, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want, Amen. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters” Psalm 23:1-2. Have you ever thought of the way that Jesus guides His sheep through the wisdom of His Word? We can see a picture of the way of pleasantness, and it consists of green pastures and still waters.
• Peace – With wisdom comes peace. A peaceful and tranquil heart is not a blessing known to all humanity. Nor is it a blessing known to all Christians. Those who know the blessing of a peaceful and tranquil heart are those who walk in the ways of the wise.
• Life – It can be helpful when discussing life to bring up the topic of death. In the Garden, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, spiritual death came upon them. They were separated from God and banished from His presence. But to have life is to know the presence of God and to be in close contact with Him. Wisdom is said to be a tree of life. Thus, Solomon brings us back to the Garden. Wisdom guides us home and back to God’s original intent. God seeks to make all things new again. Blessing His children with wisdom is one of the ways in which He chooses to do so.
And we pray:
Father, I pray that You would bless me with wisdom this day. Help me to see wisdom as a prized virtue and one that I should seek after with my whole heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.