Wisdom offers a satisfying life.
“God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones” (Proverbs 2:6-8 The Message).
It’s a simple plan. God gives wisdom and insight and then expects us to live according to what he has revealed. When we do, he rewards. Although we have been focusing on the book of Proverbs, we find that wisdom is found throughout the entire Bible. Every word of God is true and wise and worth reading, meditating on, and applying. Every book of the Bible will give us understanding and instruction for living lives of wisdom.
In his teaching, Dr. Bruce Waltke reminds us that Proverbs gives us traditional wisdom, meaning that the teachings were handed down from generation to generation. He also points out that Ecclesiastes describes experiential wisdom in which the author acts as a scientist, exploring and experimenting and drawing conclusions from what he observes. The writer of this particular book of wisdom concludes, after all his research, that we must have a relationship with God in order to make experience meaningful
Then, Waltke says, Jesus was another teacher of wisdom and, as such, represented the highest form of wisdom – authoritative. He did not rely on tradition or experimentation to learn the truth of what he taught. Jesus is the epitome of wisdom, the originator of it, and every word he spoke was exemplary perfected wisdom. (1)
Wise living is reiterated, as well, in the teaching of the epistles. Paul says, for example, in Ephesians 5:15, “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)” (Amplified Bible).
It’s obvious from these examples that the teachings of wisdom are found throughout the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The truly wise will read and study God’s Word to be able to know and apply the ways of wisdom. The discoveries we make and the lives we live as a result will be well worth the effort we put in to dig out the treasures of wisdom buried in the Bible.
“Understanding is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Silver and gold can give you a house, but not a home, can put food on the table, but cannot give fellowship around the table, can give a woman jewelry on her fingers and precious fur upon her back, but cannot give her the love her heart really wants. Laboring for money will yield inadequate rewards, but if you live according to wisdom, you have the full ordained order of life itself. . . Wisdom’s ways are pleasant ones and all her paths are peace.” (2)
As the quote above indicates, part of the satisfying life offered by wisdom includes peace.“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
Remember the teaching in our posts concerning the fool? Those who choose the way of foolishness tend to stir up dissension and trouble wherever they go. They are argumentative, contentious, and self-centered. Not so with the man or woman of wisdom. While we are not guaranteed a no-conflict life, we are given indication that our lives will, in general, be filled with less strife and conflict than the lives of the foolish. And when we do run into trouble with someone, the way of wisdom gives us ways to deal with the conflict in an effort to reach resolution and peace. We will have more peace in relationships, peace with God, and internal peace that replaces the anxiety of living lives without the wisdom of God to guide us.
Another reward of the life of wisdom is contentment. “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23). The way of wisdom is the way to life - full, abundant, freedom-filled life. When we choose wisdom, we choose life. The result, as we stay on that path, is contentment. Trouble will not be absent from our lives, but it will not steal our joy or diminish our contentment.
(1) Waltke, Bruce K., audio lecture series entitled “The Book of Proverbs”, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Institute of Theological Studies, 1986, Lecture #1.
(2) Ibid., Lecture #19.