In this passage, the first of many beatitudes in Proverbs, we hear echoes of Psalm 1, Psalm 119, and Matthew 5. The one who finds wisdom finds true happiness!
Wisdom’s inestimable value is described in Proverbs 3:14-15: ″more profitable than silver″ (v. 14), ″yields better returns than gold″ (v. 14), and ″more precious than rubies″ (v. 15). Wisdom offers both quantity and quality of life: she distributes gifts of long life-a sign of God’s blessing-honour, and wealth (v. 16), and her paths are pleasant and peaceful (v. 17).
The reference to wisdom being a ″tree of life″ (v. 18) takes us back to the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). Access to this tree of life was lost when Adam and Eve listened to the serpent’s voice. In the Bible, the ″tree of life″ often represents a fruitful, blessed life (see Proverbs 11:28-30, 13:12).
Wisdom’s part in creation is described in 3:19-20: the wisdom of God is the source of a well-ordered creation. If God had created the order and rhythms of life through wisdom, then the best orientation we can have for living in God’s world is to know this wisdom by which He created the world. For Old Testament believers, this wisdom was to be found in the fear of the Lord (1:7). For us today, it means following Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). For ″through him all things were made″ (John 1:3) and ″all things have been created through him and for him″ (Colossians 1:16).
To try to live happily in God’s world without reference to Jesus Christ-through whom and by whom the world was made-is a hopeless quest. Jesus is the wisdom who promises us abundant life (John 10:10).
Proverbs 3 reflects a father’s loving and passionate concern that his son recognises the value of wisdom and sets out on its path. Knowing wisdom is both a gift and a task. In the same way, Jesus is God’s greatest gift to us; however, growing in Christ also involves prayerful discipline, listening to the Word of God, rejecting the serpent’s voice, and walking the narrow path.
What does wisdom offer us in terms of the quantity and quality of life? What do you think is the key to living a life of wisdom?
How would you respond to the fact that growing in wisdom is both a gift and a task?