Proverbs 3:13-26

The “long term” blessings of obtaining wisdom

Verse 13-20

  1. Verse 13, Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

    1. Note: Finding wisdom is right after being chastened.

      1. Sometimes we don’t think we need wisdom until after God chastens us.

      2. One thing for sure, we need the wisdom of God to be able to tell when we are chastened and when we are not.

      3. We also need the wisdom of God to know when to keep our nose out of other peoples business.

    2. Happy means blessed.

    3. There must be a difference between wisdom and understanding.

      1. Wisdom is said to be found.

      2. Understanding is said to be gotten.

      3. Wisdom is given by God, but it must be found (in the Bible); by a diligent search of the Bible.

      4. Understanding is also given by God, and must be gained through education, either from educational institutions, or from the Bible.

  1. Verse 14, For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

    1. Merchandise.

      1. Merchandise speaks of trading - or the profit gained from trading.

      2. The verse speaks of giving worldly merchandise in order to gain spiritual merchandise.

        1. Many people believe it is better to have an expensive house and car, and all the glittering items of this world, and spend their time gaining all that earthly merchandise.

        2. The truth is that peace in a home is better than all the money in the world.

        3. Proverbs 15:17 – Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

        4. Proverbs 17:1 - Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

      3. This means that we will not spend time trying to gain material possessions in this world, but we will spend our time and energies seeking the kingdom of God.

      4. We ought to rest assured that God will provide all the necessities of this life if we will only put his will first.

    2. Make it our business.

      1. Not a by-product of our lives, or a hobby.

      2. Go into it as a businessman would, full steam ahead!

      3. Many “Christians”, not wanting to be labeled “fanatical” or having excessive religion, are not really dedicated to serving God.

      4. They attempt to serve God enough to soothe their conscience, but not enough to let it show to their friends or affect their livelihood.

    3. Buy wisdom regardless of price.

      1. Matthew 6:19-21 - Lay up treasure in heaven, not on this earth.

      2. Matthew 16:24-26 - What shall a man give in exchange of his own soul.

        1. How much silver and gold is your soul worth?

        2. If you are lost, how much silver and gold would you exchange for an eternity in the Lake of Fire?

        3. If you are saved, how much silver and gold would you exchange for lost eternal rewards?

      3. Matthew 13:45,46 - The pearl of great price.

        1. There are some who believe this pearl of great price is the local church, but the Bible never states this is so.

        2. There are some who believe this pearl is salvation, but who can sell all they have to buy salvation?

        3. The parable of the pearl of great price reveals the preciousness of the inward parts of the Kingdom of God.

        4. Wise saved people understand the preciousness of the inward parts of the Kingdom of God, therefore they willingly and freely give up their lives for the kingdom of heaven.

    4. Satanic use of merchandise - Revelation 18:9-13.

      1. Satan makes merchandise of everything on this earth except wisdom.

      2. Satan has no wisdom because he has rejected everything the Bible teaches.

      3. Since he has no wisdom, he has no eternal merchandise (profit), only destruction.

  1. Verse 15, She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

    1. Wisdom is more precious than wealth.

      1. II Peter 3:10-13 states that this world and all its possessions will be destroyed.

      2. Proverbs 1:7 - Fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.

      3. Ephesians 2:7 - We’ll learn more about God throughout eternity.

      4. Hebrews 11:8-10 - Abraham was a man of great wealth, but did not count that wealth as the inheritance, but looked for a city from God. Abraham dwelt in tents - He did not settle down on this earth (even though he had riches.)

    2. Without wisdom, we will not be able to keep material possessions.

    3. Material possessions will not satisfy us, but true service to God will.

      1. Luke 18:18-27 – The rich young rulers wealth kept him from salvation and eternal happiness.

      2. Luke 12:13-21 - This rich farmer counted his earthly wealth, but failed to take care of his eternal soul, therefore died without enjoying the wealth God gave to him.

    4. All human desire cannot be compared to wisdom.

  1. Verse 16, Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

    1. Here is an amazing thing – Wisdom holds the two things most desired by humans.

      1. Length of days speaks not only of a long earthly life, but also eternal life.

      2. Riches and honour is something that all humans desire, yet cannot fully enjoy without God’s blessings.

      3. I Kings 3:5-15.

        1. Verse 9 – King Solomon asked God for wisdom, nothing else.

        2. Verse 12 – God gave Solomon wisdom.

        3. Verse 13 – God gave Solomon riches and honour.

        4. Verse 14 – If Solomon would walk in the ways of God, God would give him length of days.

    2. All the things most desired by humans will be offered to them, if they first seek Godly wisdom.

      1. Wisdom doesn’t have length of days and riches and honor in a clinched fist that must be pried open, but in an open hand, freely offered to anybody who would first seek wisdom.

      2. Every person wants to live a long time, and be healthy while they are living.

      3. Every person wants riches and honor.

        1. This is why the gambling lotteries are so successful at raising money for crooked politicians.

        2. Most people want something for nothing, and paying a couple of dollars for a chance at getting several million dollars appeals to most people.

        3. They are so blinded they do not realize their chances of winning are very slim, and their chances of throwing their money away is great.

        4. These same people will never spend much time studying God’s Word so they will put themselves into a position of gaining wisdom, so wisdom will offer them long life, riches and honour.

    3. Length of days.

      1. Proverbs 3:1,2 – gained by following the commandments of God.

      2. Ephesians 6:1-3 – Long life is gained by obeying father and mother.

      3. Dying before your time will probably be avoided because God will intervene.

      4. Some, however, die because of the wicked actions of others.

        1. Bro. Emerson’s boy got an overdose by some wicked person while in military service.

        2. Some are affected by a disease caused by sin that they did not commit. (Venereal disease, AIDS, etc.)

    4. Riches and honor.

      1. Matthew 6:33 - God will add wealth to you (at least enough) if you seek him (wisdom) first.

      2. Many people have found destruction in their lives because they sought wealth before wisdom.

      3. I Kings 3:5-9 - Solomon asking for wisdom instead of wealth.

      4. James 1:5-8 - If we lack wisdom, let us ask of God.

  1. Verse 17, Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

    1. The real way to pleasure and peace is through wisdom.

      1. Many believe the path to pleasure and peace is through wealth, but that is wrong.

      2. Many spend their lives working to retire so they can enjoy life, but they are wrong.

      3. Many spend their mental and physical energies trying to figure out how to get rich, but never find pleasure and peace.

      4. Many try to find pleasure and peace with illicit sex, but find tension, disease, and loneliness instead.

    2. Difference between two wisdoms.

      1. See my notes on James 3:13-18 for a description of two kinds of wisdom.

        1. James 3:14 states that worldly wisdom is earthly, sensual, devilish.

        2. Godly wisdom is not “common sense”, but “uncommon, spiritual” sense.

        3. James 3:17,18 states that Godly wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

      2. The wisdom of this world, which brings sadness and confusion and finally death and destruction for those who trust her.

      3. The wisdom of God, which brings pureness, gentleness, and peace to those who trust her.

    3. There is a lot of nervousness and tension in the world today.

      1. Is this caused by not reading and studying the Word of God as we ought?

      2. Are we “living more”, and enjoying it less?

      3. As we very busy, but not having time for the best things God has to offer?

      4. Do we take the time to “Be still and know that I am God”, or are we busy trying to get all we can out of life?

      5. Are we trying to “get out of life all we can”, or “trying to give all to God while we are alive”?

      6. Is there peace in our lives? Are we satisfied with our life?

      7. Do we feel like we are doing a lot of unnecessary things?

      8. Do we think we can get more out of life by doing less and serving God more?

    4. The answer is to study the word of God more, and pray more. Spend more time with Him. 1

Verse 18, She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

  1. A blessing to us. (Can give us a fulfilled life) not like the modernists say.

    1. There is a difference in “laying hold” on wisdom and “retaining” wisdom.

      1. It is necessary to first “lay hold” on wisdom before being able to “retain” wisdom.

      2. “Laying hold” on wisdom indicates a time in a person’s life when they discover for themselves the principles of wisdom.

      3. “Retaining” wisdom indicates the continual life long use of the principles of wisdom.

      4. King Solomon “laid hold” on wisdom when God granted him wisdom, but he did not “retain” wisdom into his old age as revealed when he took strange wives and began to worship false gods.

      5. All old people are not wise, not all young people are foolish.

    2. Some believe the tree of life was removed from the Garden of Eden and will not appear again until eternity when it appears in the New Jerusalem.

      1. It is true that the “physical” tree of life was removed from Eden and placed in the New Jerusalem.

      2. It is also true that the spiritual fruits of the tree are available now through a spiritual understanding of the Word of God.

    3. For a fuller description of the tree of life see “tree of life”, ..\GENESIS\03V16-24.DOC (My comments on verse 22-24)

      1. Fulfills wisdom in us.

      2. Proverbs 11:30 - Fruit of righteousness is a tree of life.

        1. Galatians 5:22,23 states, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

        2. Ephesians 5:9,10 declares, (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

      3. Proverbs 13:12 - Fulfilled Hope is a Tree of life.

      4. Proverbs 15:4 - A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.

    4. Partaking of the wisdom of God is actually partaking in the absolute happiness of God. We can be happy now.

      1. There is an indestructible link between partaking of the tree of life now and in eternity.

        1. Revelation 2:7 – He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

        2. Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

          1. These verses speak of a promise God gives to all overcomers, indicating future blessings.

          2. There is no doubt the future promise of partaking on the tree of life is true, yet Revelation 22:14 is speaking to all who read the book of Revelation, not just a comment about future happiness.

      2. We can be victorious now!!

      3. We don’t have to live a defeated life and be discouraged.

      4. We don’t have to doubt!!!

      5. By simply doing according to the Word of God.

        1. Not looking at whether friends or enemies approve.

        2. Not noticing if people are for us or against us.

        3. Always noticing whether God is for us or against us.

  1. Verse 19, The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

    1. There are those who believe heavenly wisdom does no earthly good; yet:

      1. Hebrews 11:3 - worlds were framed by the Word of God.

        1. The Word of God (spoken word) is wisdom, and wisdom is found in the Bible, the written, living word of God.

        2. Knowing that God created the world brings joy, evolution brings sorrow.

      2. Proverbs 8:23-31 – These verses reveal that wisdom was with God before the creation of this world, therefore (verse 32) the sons of men should pay attention to God’s wisdom and the principles of holiness.

        1. Proverbs 8:32-36 reveal the foolishness of those that refuse to heed the wisdom of God.

        2. They are fools and bring destruction upon themselves.

        3. Psalms 136:5 states,

        4. The following verses are exactly the same, just in case we did not get it the first time.

          1. Jeremiah 10:12 – He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

          2. Jeremiah 51:15 – He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.

      3. God established the universe by wisdom.

        1. He created everything in such a way that it would last forever, if man hadn’t sinned.

        2. The orbits of the planets and stars prevent them from colliding with each other, and destroying each other.

    2. This causes us to know that God has control over all the universe and will take care of all things, us included.

      1. Psalm 50:10 – God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

      2. II Peter 3:7 - God is holding the world in reserve awaiting judgment.

      3. Hebrews 12:1,2 - Let us be like Christ who endured the cross and all the suffering in his flesh because he was looking ahead to the joy and glory reserved for him.

      4. I Peter 5:6 - God will exalt you in due time.

      5. I Peter 5:10 - After you’ve suffered awhile.

      6. II Corinthians 4:13-18 - (Verse 17) - Our light affliction.

  1. Verse 20, By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

    1. This refers to God’s control of water, and all other natural elements.

      1. In the days of Noah, Genesis 7:11 states, In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

      2. In the days of Moses, Exodus 15:5 declares, The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

      3. Exodus 15:8 states, And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

      4. Even the making of the oceans as a storage of the vast waters of the earth is excellent wisdom.

    2. Clouds drop down the dew.

      1. Some declare the Bible to be in error for saying that the clouds drop down the dew.

      2. The dew is moisture which comes from the humidity in the air which lies close to the earth.

      3. The Bible calls this humidity a cloud, and in truth it is a cloud. The “cloud” is not as high in the sky as the cloud the rain comes from.

      4. All moisture comes from God.

      5. Job 38:9 - God declared his wisdom to Job in making clouds which hold water to give moisture to the earth in the form of rain. 2

The “short term” blessings of obtaining wisdom.

Verse 21-26,

  1. Verse 21, My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:

    1. Proverbs 4:20,21 - Another exhortation just like this one.

      1. This exhortation is given immediately after God gives wisdom as stated in the previous verses.

      2. The practical application of this verse is that heavenly wisdom is useful in this present world.

        1. Just as God created this world by wisdom (verse 19) and established the heavens by his understanding (verse 19), the practical application of heavenly wisdom has earthly value.

        2. Some are so filled with “heavenly wisdom” they are of no earthly good.

    2. Let wisdom not depart from thine eyes - frontlets.

      1. What our eyes see is what we retain.

        1. If we continue to look at heavenly wisdom, we will retain heavenly wisdom.

        2. If we look at this world without heavenly wisdom, we will loose heavenly wisdom and gain earthly wisdom.

        3. We should never take our eyes off spiritual, heavenly wisdom all the days of our lives.

      2. The word “let” indicates wisdom will slip away from us if we make no effort to retain it.

      3. The frontlet.

        1. Exodus 13:11-16 - (verse 16) - All male first born animals are sacrificed to God to remember the coming out of Egypt.

          1. Giving the first born animal to God is a constant reminder that God provides daily necessities.

          2. Giving the first born animal to God with a willing heart reveal a continual dependence on God for daily and eternal necessities.

        2. Deuteronomy 6:3-9 - (verse 8) - The frontlet is to remember the love of God. (See verse 4,5).

        3. Deuteronomy 11:13-17 - (verse 18) - (verse 26-28) - The frontlet is to remember the blessing of serving the Lord and the curse of forgetting the Lord.

        4. God wants us to continually remember his blessings.

        5. If our eyes begin to wander from God’s wisdom (the study of His Word), we will soon follow our eyes into sin.

      4. We never get too old, or too sure of ourselves to forget these words. As long as we live, we need to serve the Lord.

    3. Keep sound wisdom and discretion.

      1. The word “keep” indicates that sound wisdom and discretion easily departs.

      2. Sound wisdom means the abiding success of wisdom produces.

      3. What is the difference between wisdom and discretion?

        1. Wisdom is the practical application of Godly knowledge, beginning with a heart knowledge of God.

        2. Discretion is purpose, which will keep us from all wickedness and lewdness.

    4. Look at all the things keeping our eyes on God’s wisdom will do.

      1. Verse 22-26 is what God’s wisdom will do for us.

        1. Verse 22 – We will have real life in our souls, not the life the world offers.

        2. Verse 22 – Grace to our necks – God’s honor will be reflected in our lives.

        3. Verse 23 – The path of our life will be safe.

        4. Verse 23 – God will keep us from falling into sin, rebellion, or wickedness.

        5. Verse 24 – When we are defenseless, we will not be afraid.

        6. Verse 24 – We shall not worry when we lay down to sleep.

        7. Verse 25 – We will not be afraid of desperate fear, because, even though terrible things can happen to us, we know God will give us peace in the midst of the storm.

        8. Verse 25 – We will not be concerned that the anger of the Lord will be upon us as it is upon the wicked.

        9. Verse 26 – The LORD is our confidence: our wisdom, our faith, our good works, or our friends, is not our confidence.

        10. Verse 26 – God will keep our feet stable when we walk in slippery places.

      2. Verse 27-30 is what God’s wisdom will allow us to do for others.

      3. Verse 31-35 is what God’s wisdom will keep us from.

  1. Verse 22, So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.

    1. Retaining sound wisdom by continually looking to Christ as he was before the foundation of this world will be life unto our soul, and grace to our necks.

      1. Refer to verse 19, which refers to Proverbs 8:22-31.

      2. The very thing we all desire, life to our souls and grace to our necks, can be had only through Godly wisdom.

    2. The “life” spoken of is not the kind of life world people live.

      1. There is a greater, more peaceful kind of life that this world knows nothing about.

      2. Many people seem to think that if you’re a “Christian”, you can’t have any fun, or really enjoy life -- this is not what God says.

        1. They seem to believe you must take poison (get intoxicated, drunk) to have a good time.

        2. But look how sick they are the next morning.

        3. They seem to think you must take fire into your bosom (commit adultery) to have a good time.

        4. But look at their diseased bodies, their destroyed families, and sin consumed friends, and their destroying lifestyle.

    3. Life unto thy soul. (Hope).

      1. Daniel 6:10 - In Daniel’s old age, he stayed close to the Lord, and the Lord stayed close to him in the lion’s den!

      2. Don’t give up, just because you get old. Be a help to people around you.

      3. Faithfulness in old age is a result of faithfulness in youth.

    4. Grace to thy neck - as an ornament of value.

      1. God will keep your neck off the devil’s chopping block.

      2. Others will see that your wisdom is from God.

      3. Matthew 5:16 declares, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

  1. Verse 23, Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.

    1. Then (but not until)

      1. There will be no walking in safety until we have forced ourselves to look straight ahead to the promises of God.

      2. As long as we let our eyes drift away from God’s precious promises, we have no guarantee that we will walk safely and our foot not stumble.

      3. The guarantee of a safe walk and feet that don’t stumble come only after we have applied the principles in verse 21 to our lives.

    2. Walking safely is walking according to the Word of God.

      1. Not necessarily talking about our physical life, but that having Godly wisdom will teach us how to live in such a way as to preserve our lives for the sake of Christ.

      2. As we learn by praying and studying the Word of God, we see more and more how God wants us to serve Him.

      3. II Timothy 4:6-8 - Paul was confident of his place before God, even though he was unsure of his place in this world.

      4. According to Acts 26:19, Paul lived his life according to the word of God and God’s call to him.

    3. Foot shall not stumble - a promise.

      1. This verse is not saying there won’t be hazards or dangers, but that God will safely lead us around them.

      2. I Corinthians 10:13 states, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

      3. This verse is not saying that Satan will not tempt you, or give you trouble.

      4. Revelation 12:10 declares, And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

      5. James 1:14,15 – We will be tempted and drawn away of our own lusts, but God will with the temptation make a way to escape that we will be able to bear it.

  1. Verse 24, When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

    1. We can have sweet sleep when we follow the commands of God and trust him for the needs of our daily life.

      1. We don’t spend a lot of time staying awake worrying about those needs.

      2. We will have confidence in God to provide them for us.

    2. Many older people have told me that they pray before they go to bed and give themselves over to the Lord, and have a good nights sleep.

      1. It is good practice for old and young alike to trust God for a good nights sleep.

      2. When your ways of full of wickedness, or filled with the cares of this life, you will not sleep well.

      3. Psalm 4:8 - lay down in peace and sleep, for God makes us safe.

  1. Verse 25, Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

    1. The sudden fear that comes at night which awakens us from sleep.

      1. I suppose everybody, at one time or another, wakes up with sudden fear.

      2. When this happens to us, we can have confidence that God knows and will give us peace.

    2. There is another kind of sudden fear.

      1. The fear that we will suddenly have a heart attack will sometimes bring on a heart attack.

      2. The fear some of our children will be killed or permanently maimed.

      3. The fear that our house will be burned down with us and our family in it while we are asleep.

      4. I suppose all of us have these kinds of fear, but we ought to have confidence in God, knowing that He is able to keep us even if those things come upon us.

    3. The sudden destruction of the wicked from this earth to eternal damnation.

      1. Job 21:7-18 - The wicked may prosper while they life in this earth, yet they are destroyed quickly and with severest finality.

      2. Psalm 91:1-16 - The righteous who dwell with God (verse 1,2) won’t be afraid at night (verse 5) or day (verse 6). He shall see the wicked destroyed on every side (verse 7,8), but God shall keep his people (verse 9-16).

    4. The righteous may think they will be involved in the destruction of the wicked, but let us not fear.

      1. God will keep us.

      2. We need to believe that He will.

      3. In order to believe God will keep us, we must study His Word, learn it by heart, and believe it in our hearts.

  1. Verse 26, For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

    1. The Lord is our confidence.

      1. We do not have confidence in ourselves, for we know we are just sinners saved by grace.

      2. We are trusting the Lord to keep us from the destruction of the wicked, and to give us confidence in Him to do it.

      3. We are not trusting in our armies, or our own defenses, knowing that our true defense is in the Lord.

      4. Proverbs 21:31 states, The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

    2. Psalms 73.

      1. Psalm 73:2 - Asaph’s foot had almost slipped when he took his eyes off the promises of God, looking toward the prosperity of the wicked.

      2. Psalm 73:4-12 - Asaph gives a description of the wicked, who seem to live without fear of reprisal.

      3. Psalm 73:13-16 - Asaph declares that he has followed the Lord in vain.

      4. Psalm 73:17-28 - Asaph went to the house of the Lord (during a time of great doubt) and found the answer.

      5. Though we may ourselves doubt that we will be kept, though we sometimes may doubt that our “trying to serve God” is worthwhile, we’ll understand by going again to the House of God. God will keep our feet from falling.

1 Preached to here 08/09/2006 IBC Wednesday Evening

2 Preached to here 08/16/2006 IBC Wednesday Evening