Proverbs 3:19-26 // The Value of Wisdom

It’s only a week after Christmas, but it probably already feels like it was a long time ago. We’re gradually leaving behind the trappings of Christmas – the wrapping paper, the decorations, the food – but we want to keep what is most important and at the center of this holiday. And as we move into the new year, we want to have the wisdom to take that with us even if we leave all the trappings behind.

We can find wisdom in magazines, on the TV and in many other places. But we can only find true wisdom in God’s Word. True wisdom is about incorporating the truth of God into our daily lives and making godly decisions. This is how wisdom is defined in Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:19-26 is part of a larger section in the book of Proverbs in which Solomon is putting on display the value of wisdom. He wants us to understand how valuable wisdom is. Like we would market a new car or a diamond ring, Solomon markets wisdom by describing its features.

In our passage today, there are three appeals to the value of wisdom. These are our

  1. thinking
  2. decision-making
  3. trust

An Appeal to Our Thinking

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

– vv. 19-20

The very first good blessings that ever came to the world came through the use of wisdom. In other words, the world operates by God’s wisdom. Even more specifically, though, He used wisdom to make the natural processes around us. In verse 20, we get an example of such natural processes: condensation. Can you imagine the wisdom that God used to invent this? And it’s just one of thousands of processes He made.

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God employed His wisdom in creation. If He did this to provide even the most basic things, and if He invited you to have some of this wisdom to use in your life, wouldn’t you take Him up on His offer? Verses 19-20 appeal to our thinking, urging us to take hold of wisdom.

An Appeal to Our Decision-Making

My son, do not lose sight of these – keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.

– vv. 21-22

This is advice from a father to his son: “Don’t lose sight of wisdom – if you do, you’ll lose sight of life itself.” It’s not only advice from King Solomon to his son, but also wisdom from God the Father to us. After all, “in Christ Jesus [we] are all sons of God through faith” (Galatians 3:26).

We have a lot of decisions to make in our own lives. But in everything, God warns us not to lose sight of wisdom.

What does this look like in real life? If you know you have to be at work at 8:00 AM or there will be negative consequences, you’re going to get other things done to make sure that happens. You’ll go to bed early the night before. You’ll set your alarm well before 8:00 AM so you can get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. In the same way, be mindful of wisdom.

Wisdom is “life for your soul.” It appeals to our decision-making and our will. Be mindful of wisdom. Don’t let it out of your sight.

An Appeal to Our Trust

Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.

– vv. 23-26

Proverbs does not promise a life that’s free from everyday difficulties. It is a book of principles. So these verses aren’t saying that bad things won’t happen – it’s saying that you’ll find freedom from the worries and concerns that plague other people if wisdom is a permanent fixture in your life.

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Although Proverbs is primarily a book of principles, these verses actually promise a life without suffering from worry and sinful consequences. They point ahead to Christ’s return, when every tear will be wiped away “and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).

Thinking about our life right now, we have to realize that there are two levels to what Proverbs is saying here. Level one is the principle that we’ll be free from a lot of stuff that bothers other people if we have wisdom. Level two is the promise that we will eventually be completely free from those things.

Wisdom brings with it great confidence in the Lord. We can put our trust in Him right now and for the eternal future.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, wisdom is a really valuable thing. It appeals to our thinking, our decision-making and our trust. Now remember, wisdom is the ability to incorporate God’s truth into our daily lives. It’s not about deciding to be a better person or changing our behavior. Wisdom is a life conviction that the truth of God’s Word is worth going after and using. Our passage today urges us to do whatever it takes to get wisdom.

Discussion Starters

  • What is wisdom?
  • How do we get true wisdom?
  • How does wisdom appeal to our thinking?
  • In what ways does wisdom appeal to our decision-making?
  • How does wisdom appeal to our trust?

Guest speaker: Jeff Walsh

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