A True Desire for Wisdom

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This verse cannot be understood properly without reading what leads up to it and what follows it. Chapter 3 of Proverbs is divided into three main sections totalling 35 proverbial verses.

The first section includes verses 1-12 are all about the positive effects that come to us when we gain confidence in God. We are told that we should not forget our love and fidelity for God and others, that we should trust in the Lord with all our hearts. We read also, that we should not trust in our intelligence alone, or think ourselves wise in our own eyes. If we do all of this and honor the Lord with the ‘first fruits’ of all of our labors, if we remain disciplined in this manner, we will be rewarded.

The second section, verses 13-20, deals with the benefits of finding wisdom. In seeking and finding the deeper understandings of wisdom, we find greater happiness. The ‘profit’ gained from wisdom is greater than gold or silver, or anything of mere material value. In seeking, finding, and holding fast to wisdom, one finds the happiness that the heart most deeply desires. This wisdom, of course, is the wisdom that God is continually offering us throughout the whole of the Scriptures.

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The final section of chapter 3, verses 21-35, concern the wisdom of being just toward one’s neighbors. In willingly choosing to submit to God’s wisdom, and to live justly toward our neighbors, there will be many benefits far beyond material well-being. We are admonished not to forget all of these things, to be disciplined in their ways, and to make them a part of our daily lives. If we do, they will be, ‘life to our soul, and the adornment around our necks.’ If we seek God’s wisdom and live in accord with it, we will not ‘be afraid of sudden terror, or of the ruin of the wicked when it comes.’ ʺFor the Lord will be [our] confidence and will keep [our feet] from the snare.ʺ (verse 25)

Is it not wise to know what is just and to live accordingly? Is it not wise to treat the neighbor as you would have the neighbor treat you? Is it not our experience that the more we come to know God, the more we begin to understand and to desire his wisdom and the benefits it offers to us? It is in our growing knowledge of this divine wisdom that we gain confidence in God and in his faithfulness to keep our feet from the snares of temptation, or from the snares of those who desire to beguile us away from Him in any way.

Lord, keep alive in us the daily desire to seek your wisdom for our lives. Give us the grace to have an ever-growing confidence in your love and mercy toward us. In this confidence, let us be your good and faithful servants in all that we do and say in both our private and our public lives. We ask these prayers in your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.