Wisdom in Action

Proverbs 3:13-26

What a contrast here provided by the author of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” vs “Happy is the man, blessed is the one who finds wisdom”. Even more surprising, this outburst follows immediately on the heels of instruction on the subject of suffering! Consider, also, this comes from one who had everything earthly that could be desired, who had sought for meaning and contentment in pleasure, accomplishment, fine cuisine, work and popularity.

Solomon had discovered the surpassing value of true wisdom; in fact, he better than many others had a real frame of reference to compare its value relative to many other things. It’s not hard to hear the voice of experience speaking through the text; an older and wiser father seeking to help his son avoid the foolish choices he himself had made. Scripture is silent on the exact means God used to bring Solomon back from his wandering. His first step on the slippery slope was marriage to an idolatrous woman, Pharaoh’s daughter. That was followed by a host of other bad choices, searching for contentment in all the wrong places. It’s likely that Solomon had first-hand knowledge of the Lord’s chastening followed by the rewards of following the way of true wisdom.

As Solomon in our text shares what he has learned, he first declares that wisdom provides gifts for the wise man that money cannot buy and then goes on to describe how a wise man relates to others.

A. gifts for the wise man

results of having found wisdom, acquiring or gaining understanding – progressively adding to the already acquired store

blessing vv. 13-18

goes beyond happiness that is dependent on circumstances v. 13

includes inner joy that comes from a right relationship with God

also joy that results from a successful search for hidden treasure

remember where genuine wisdom is found (hidden) – 1 Cor. 1:24 “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” Col. 2:1-3 “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

blessing is always connected with obedience

Psalm 1 – Blessed is the man who

since affliction/chastening immediately precede and produce obedience, blessing accompanies wisdom developed in the midst of difficulty

entails richness of reward that transcends material wealth vv. 14-15

proceeds/benefits are better

gain/profit is better

more precious

comparing moral to material value – moral benefits of wisdom more valuable/precious than material possessions

all the possessions imaginable are of little value without wisdom to use wisely – e.g., sports heroes and bankruptcy

results in the truly good life vv. 16-18

not just long – long life with only trouble and affliction is not a blessing

genuine pleasure is found in the ways of holiness

applied wisdom results in pleasant/delightful/charming/agreeable life

includes peace with God and consequently peace of heart

leads to eternal life which could have been Adam’s had he eaten of the tree of life but is ours through Christ, our Wisdom

comprehension vv. 19-20

Intelligent Design is not new – Solomon got it v. 19

wisdom – proper application of knowledge

understanding – know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

knowledge – conception by the mind of facts or truths

The senses give knowledge of outward appearances; the intellect connects and reasons about these appearances, and arrives at general laws or truths. ISBE

if God’s wisdom, understanding, knowledge fueled the design of creation, the ability to “think God’s thoughts” is required to decode creation and its design. Full comprehension is impossible – God is infinite, we’re not – but accurate comprehension to the limits of man’s ability is impossible without true wisdom.

God’s two books: natural revelation, special revelation. Natural came first, special must be understood first to properly view and understand natural. If a spiritual Being created, ability to understand spiritual truths and a knowledge of them is necessary to fully grasp the creation, its meaning, and its significance.

applies to other significant reshaping of the earth – Flood v. 20

perhaps, also, to initial separation of waters Gen. 1:7

and the present water cycle, necessary for life

security vv. 21-26

if we pursue sound wisdom and discretion, God will provide security in all areas of life

shown by a pleasant demeanor v. 22

provided by a safe path v. 23

experienced by pleasant untroubled sleep v. 24

accompanied by no “guilt by association” with the wicked v. 25

we won’t get tangled up with them when they go down

security comes not from our genius but God’s faithful keeping

confidence in self-existent covenant-keeping God – LORD

Disciples’ Prayer – “deliver us from evil”

when we do our part to follow ways of wisdom, God does his part to keep us in them


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