There’s so much good stuff in Chapter 3!
We find that the themes of Wisdom and Understanding are continued. I can always use more wisdom in my life, so that’s what we’ll zoom in on today. (I am using NIV.)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
Verses 5 & 6 are probably very familiar to you. Maybe you’ve got those memorized, but let’s take a close look:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. We say that we trust God, but with ALL of our heart? Wait, wouldn’t that mean that there’s no part of our heart given over to worry?
Lean not on your own understanding. Isaiah 55:8-9 says that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours so when we lean hard on what we can understand, aren’t we indirectly placing limits around our lives?
In all your ways submit to him. In order to submit to God, don’t we first have to find out what He wants?
He will make your paths straight. We tend to think of this as meaning that “God will level out the bumps in the road.” But I believe a more accurate meaning would be “God will cause our paths to have purpose” or “God will cause fruitfulness to come from the bumps in our road.”
I like to include verse 7 – it seems that those words Do not be wise in your own eyes really get to the point. After all, as adults we have been making our own decisions for a while now – it’s part of adulting. But what better way to humble ourselves, than to confess to God that there are things we don’t know and we need His help with the daily (even with the seemingly easy) decisions that we need to make.
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
Many verses throughout Proverbs personify Wisdom, even calling her “our sister.” Verses 13-18 name some of the benefits of walking with our sister Wisdom: blessing, long life, riches, honor and peace, to mention a few.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
Verses, 19-20 tell us that God was intentional to use wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in Creation. And verses 21-22 tell us that He wants us to be intentional, too!