Proverbs 4 – Wisdom Is Supreme

Proverbs 4:1-11

Wisdom Is Supreme

1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, 4 he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she (Wisdom) will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She (Wisdom) will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” 10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

What is wisdom? Since I didn’t feel like getting the dictionary, I “Googled” it and found lots of definitions. One article by a lady named Erika Andersen stated this:

Cleverness is not wisdom. (– Euripides)   There a lot of qualities that are somehow adjacent to wisdom, yet having them doesn’t necessarily make you wise. For example, intelligence, knowledge, analytical ability, thoughtfulness and – yes – cleverness. All are generally useful and positive, all have to do with mental capability. Since wisdom is primarily a mental capability, too, I think it’s easy to confuse having these things with being wise.

She closed her article with another quote:

It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. (– Henry David Thoreau)

Have you ever known people who are very intelligent, with no common sense, who make one bad decision after another, and then say “Why me?”   Another article stated:

Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The effect of wisdom results in sound actions and good decisions with regard to the application of such experience etc.

So how do we get wisdom? Do we just have to keep stumbling along, making mistakes and learning from them? That will take a long time, and the consequences of the bad choices may be difficult, if not impossible, to resolve. We will make mistakes, and it is essential to learn from them… but do we have to make so many? I think that depends on how hard-headed we are. Solomon is telling his sons that his father (King David) taught him as a boy, and he was now passing this teaching on to them. That is what fathers try to do. Over and over Solomon says to his sons (in one way or another) “pay attention”. I believe that applies to us too. We need to “pay attention” to what God’s Word say about wisdom, and it says LOTS.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. The fear of the Lord is not being terrified of God. The word for fear means reverence. God is important, holy, worth paying attention to, not to be ignored, worthy of honor and praise.

And my favorite verse on wisdom??? James 1:5 says If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. I REALLY like the last part of that …“without finding fault”. He doesn’t “rub our noses” in our mistakes. He doesn’t sugar-coat them either, but He loves to show us the best way, the wise way, His way.

Many people read A Proverb a Day. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, one for each day of the month. There is a lot of meat in there.


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