Within this chapter, and the whole book of Proverbs, we find many practical tips on how to live an abundant life that is pleasing to God. The snappy, bite-sized pieces of wisdom outline the direct rewards of living according to God’s precepts, and the consequences when we don’t.
Ultimately, wisdom personified in Proverbs calls us to act according to God’s ways, which are often contrary to our own way of doing things, and of the world around us. In Proverbs 25 Godly character is exalted over instant gratification — values like patience, integrity, quietness, humility, loyalty, self-control and generosity are favourably compared to selfishness, pride, gluttony and dishonesty. We see the consequences of acting according to our own desires and in comparison the rewards that come from righteousness.
Proverbs 16.16 tells us that wisdom and understanding are much better to have than silver and gold. We need God’s wisdom to be able to live our #bestlife. If wisdom is so valuable and God desires for us to have it, how can we become more wise? God has promised to give it to us if we ask. 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 believe in asking God for wisdom, we are submitting to him and acknowledging that he knows more than we do.
This is also what I understand Proverbs 9.10 to mean. If ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding’, then I think this wisdom comes with respecting God’s word and his laws, and trusting in his ways as being higher than ours. In practically applying this faith — that God does knows better — we make decisions according to this and not according to what we may think is best at the time. Then, possibly after a little delay, we see the result — a good outcome to a situation we couldn’t see a way through in our own minds. We choose to fear (respect) God and put our trust in Him, regardless of how it looks to us, then in time and with experience we come to see his ways as being better for us. Wisdom is a practical application of God’s word, through faith, that we see worked out in our lives.
As more situations come up in our lives that we need wisdom to help us work through, we learn to draw on God’s word, to listen to him and to consider our previous experience, and ultimately we learn to trust that He knows best, and we can rely on what he says, even when it may not yet make sense to us.
In my own experience, there are many times God has told me to be quiet when I wanted to rage out at someone, or to leave something and not try to ‘fix’ it myself, to make decisions I couldn’t see possibly working out, but when I have trusted his wisdom I have never regretted it.
The summary — God values wisdom and wants us to have it, he will freely give it to us if we ask and through wisdom we can have the best life God has for us.