My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
As I read today’s passage, I noticed wisdom demands pursuit. Notice the active verbs of the father to his son as he describes obtaining and preserving wisdom. He instructs him saying turning your ear to wisdom… applying your heart to understanding… call out for insight… cry aloud for understanding… look for it as silver… search for it as hidden treasure. Based on this passage, wisdom appears to be a journey. Like something you find and search for as though you were searching for a treasure. This pursuit strongly contrasts the idea of rejecting wisdom we’re unpacking this week. If you rejected wisdom you'd have a completely different list. That list might read, Turn your ear away from wisdom, apply your heart to finding your own way, don’t ask for help, figure it out yourself. Don’t look for wisdom, wait for wisdom to find you. Somehow, this list, while definitely more independent, seems doomed to failure. Notice the words later in the passage which describe those who have gone after wisdom. They become “faithful,” “upright,” “blameless,” and “just.” In return for the pursuit of wisdom we see God respond to the seeker with some unexpected bonuses. We see God hold success in store for those who pursue wisdom and we see Him be their shield, guard and protector. How fitting! It makes sense that wisdom from God would act as a “bodyguard” for our lives. When we have His wisdom and pursue His ways, we receive the protection of simply having access to the mind of Him who created everything we experience. Without the protection of God as a result of heeding His wisdom, we may be independent and able to do what we want, but we also proceed unguarded. As God does many times, He gives us a choice. His ways or our own?
Reflect on times you’ve chosen your own wisdom over God’s. How could the outcome have been different if you had chosen God’s way?
Memorize Proverbs 9:10 this week.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.