We have laid the foundation of wisdom. Who it comes from and the availability to everyone. We all are aware of the fact that life has many bumps and bruises as we live it. We cannot hide from life and it seeks us out. No matter what your pedigree or amount of money or position in life, things will happen. Some will be good and some will be bad. The bad will be generated out of our/your/my poor choices and bad decision making or may even come as a result of the bad decisions of others. The good will come from “collision” avoidance and sound judgement. Collision avoidance radar is what Proverbs is all about providing. There is no luck involved.
Proverbs continues on in Chapter 3:13-20 about how God has provided wisdom for us to protect and guide us in our lives.
13-19 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies and nothing you desire can compare with her, Long life is in her right hand, in her left hand are riches and honor. Here ways are pleasant ways and her paths are peach, She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, those who lay hold of her will be blessed.
19-20 By Wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble
Many times people look for some deep hidden meaning in the Bible and sometimes it is there. However, in Proverbs when we look at these words that Solomon wrote for us through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we see that there are a few difficult passages to interpret, but most are very literal and when placed in life situations will work.
A long time ago I challenged God to prove that these words were true. I have found them to be true over my lifetime. I have come to understand that application is very important as well. I have also found that trial and error is sometimes a great teacher. When I applied them improperly I learned what the true meaning of the words were. Part of the application is that the basics should come from parents (Chapter 3 :1-2), however, in my family I had an absent father who did not take time to teach me daily about how to interact in the world and life situations. I had to rely on literal interpretation with no understanding of the situation. At times I felt like an experiment gone wrong. My dad was not bad nor did he have evil intent that I should fail in life, he did as his father had done before him and so on. He did the best he could with what he knew. So, for those who have parents still alive and around, listen to them! Strip out all the emotion or the negative thoughts of life lived and listen to what they say with an open mind. Especially as they become elderly, they have seen life and can relate to how to interact and be. Trust me when I say the elderly do have something to say to us that has real meaning. They are not useless and to be cast aside, but a valuable asset as we age.
Let me repeat that these principles I am talking about will work for all who practice them. Believer in Christ or not. The maker of the universe set them in place for us. They work with continuity in life and how it is lived.
There is the discussion of sin that needs to take place. In God’s view sin is not something He can allow. It is foreign to Him and He is sinless. So when we are in sin, we cannot enjoy all of His blessings. We must confront the sin and confess and deal with it. In other words sin creates a problem for us in our relationship with God. If we are in that sin condition we then may have blessings blocked or stopped or they may not be evident in this life. The early Hebrews were able to confess sin and offer sacrifices to be cleansed under the Old Covenant with God and we are cleansed in the New Covenant by Christ and his sacrifice. More on that later as we talk about true wisdom.
In this particular group of passages, wisdom is allegorically attached the title of “she and her” and given human attributes for ease of understanding. Here is what “she” brings into your life. It also brings a few things that may be tough for us to handle and could be perceived as negatives. Here they are:
1. Discipline: learning may allow/require rebuke and personal pain situations with others. Usually this is experienced in confrontational situations that are heavy with emotion. They may be at you or from you, but they are painful either way.
2. Sound judgement: We may be out of sync with the “current “ thought or practice of the day. Having read many self help books over the years and most of the real truths in them I have been able to correlate to practical principles found in the Bible and most in Proverbs. I attending many “high end business courses” by thought leaders that were very informative, but for me a repeat of much of the scripture passages I had been reading. It was interesting to see that these people who thought they had discovered the “secret formula” were really expounding on biblical truths written thousands of years ago. That is the hard part of this study is getting your head around this thought. We have had this information for several thousand years, at least 3000 according to Proverbs and the timeline for Solomon’s life. Yet, we continue to come up with the latest and newest and great leadership formula to succeed in life and business. When it has been written for us and tested by time. However, the world wants us to be in sync with it and to bow to its practices. Go along to get along. There will be occasions when the Law of God is in direct conflict with the Law of the world. In this case choosing the Law of God may create some pain as we grow in wisdom.
3. Benefits -not everything that glitters is gold: Everything that comes with wisdom cannot be measured as silver and gold and valuable, wonderful things. Our human nature draws us to things wisdom may provide like gold, silver and other tangible items. While our hearts and minds draw us to that initially, it is not the only benefit. We learn that life is a bare knuckles brawl and we see the folly of others as we grow in understanding. This has been called the “predictive path”. We see the foolish man “seek out and run to trouble” as Proverbs notes. Remember your mom saying, “That boy is nothing but trouble, he is not going to amount to anything!” Well, once we understand the real nature of man and recognize our manipulative nature in order to achieve or acquire or own, then we also see the dark side of ourselves and we see “that boy that mom was talking about”. In spite of good advice and multiple warnings, many people enter into destructive behavior and it makes us heartbroken. This can be family or friend, acquaintances and even parents.
Finally, the Wisdom of God points us to Him and how He has placed order in a universe of chaos with His power. Verses 19-20 point us to another passage in scripture. Many times this is the case. The verses of Proverbs point us to another Old Testament verse (Old Covenant) or even a New Testament verse (New Covenant) for clarification or confirmation with an actual event .
In the case of these two verses it points us to Job 38.
The background here is that Job has been under a trial in his life from Satan (with permission from God). Satan basically says Job has been provided everything in life, so he would naturally worship God. What would happen if he lost it all, would he not just curse God and die? So God says, “go test my servant Job, he will be able to handle it” (I am paraphrasing). So Job has lost all and in the prior chapters and he has asked some pretty tough questions of God. God decides to audibly answer Job. It is easy for us to see now that Job could not understand the complex nature of God if he could not even understand what God had really done for him. That is how it is with us. One event happens and we are so done with God. Well, like Job we must continue forward. It doesn’t mean we don’t get to ask questions or wonder why this happened, but it does mean that God will remain who He is. Just like you I have a lot of unanswered questions, but they will wait until I see Him. Anyway, God proceeds to tell Job about His true power. If he (Job) could not understand what was happening, he may not be able to grasp who the God he served was. This is a true revelation of the power, nature and the continuity of God in scripture. What he reveals to us in one book of the bible is not in conflict with another. The truth is the truth from generation to generation and forever as God sees it. He is unchangeable over time, unlike us. I suggest you read Job 38.
We must take from it what we can in order to become “critical thinkers”. This is not just a nice story book, but a revelation of the Creator from the beginning. We should read and learn from the warnings and mistakes of the past, so they are not repeated in the future.