The father continues urging his son to keep pursuing wisdom by showing why God desires it and what it produces. In Proverbs 3:21, he adds to the emphasis by pleading with his son not to let these twin aspects of wisdom out of his sight: sound judgment or common sense, and discretion or discernment.
These are the fruits of wisdom-the ability to act shrewdly in response to a problem, and the ability to discern and think through the possible consequences before carrying out an action. In other words, wisdom causes us to stop and think things through. The benefits of doing this are outlined in verses 22-25: when we live by God’s ways, He will watch over us (v. 26).
Such sound judgment and discernment will always show themselves in the integrity of relationships: the wise will neither withhold nor defer doing good to others, will do no harm, will make no baseless accusations, and will not envy the violent (vv. 27-31). In other words, the wise will be diligent members of the community, contributing to its peace and harmony.
The Lord himself stands behind these exhortations: He detests the perverse (v. 32), curses the wicked (v. 33), and mocks the mocker (v. 34), as these are contrary to His character and will. At the same time, He shares with the upright (v. 32), blesses the righteous (v. 33), and gives grace to the humble (v. 34; see James 4:6). The son is urged to choose the right path.
The father concludes with one last warning in verse 35: the wise will inherit an honourable reputation, while the fool will ultimately be shamed.
Prayerful, considered living; addressing issues with a commitment to the integrity and priority of God’s Word; thinking clearly through the consequences of a proposal-all these are aspects of the wise life. Do not let them out of your sight (v. 21)!
How can you apply sound judgment and discernment to the issues you face today?
Pray through Proverbs 3:21-22. How can you make more effort to keep to this pattern of living? Ask God to help you preserve these elements of wisdom, and to not lose sight of them.