SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
God’s Wisdom is a Treasure Worth Seeking
Key Verse: Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding. – Proverbs 3:13
Our key verse needs a little help in this translation. Happiness is not God’s ultimate will for our lives. Typically we think of “happy” as a bit superficial compared, for example, to “joy,” as in “the joy of the Lord.” So “happy” is not really the best way to describe those who find wisdom.
A better choice would be “blessed,” and that is why the New American Standard Bible translates it as follows: “How blessed are those who find wisdom.” Think of it as it is used in Psalm 1:1 – “Blessed is the man who does not walk. . . .”
But rather than quibble over words, let us move on to the heart of this good lesson. Solomon surely meant that those who acquire the wisdom of God are blessed with fulfillment, joy, and contentment. The obvious reason is that we find harmony with God by applying his wisdom to the living of our days. Restless we are until and unless we find and live by God’s directions for living.
Trust is the great key. We are never really “wise” until we begin to trust God. Some of us are slow learners when it comes to trusting God. We want our way, not God’s way. We are stubborn, thus stubborn sinners and reluctant to let God have the wheel. Wise we are when finally we say, “Lord, you take over; you drive please.”
The longer we hold out to run our own lives, the more unwise we are. We trust in ourselves and fail. We trust in others and are betrayed. We trust in riches and find no lasting fulfillment in wealth. We trust in one cause or another and it ends in disappointment.
My friend Grady Rowell is a wise man. Not perfect but wise. He has found his motto for living on our coins: In God We Trust. He closes letters with those words. He is right. Life is impossible unless we learn to trust God in any and all circumstances. Like Grady, then, we are wise to trust God when the way is dark, when our burdens are heavy, when our heart is broken, when our job is insecure, when our friends mistreat us, when death comes calling, and when our enemies persecute us.
One of the most beloved and well known of all the proverbs is 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
A bit of verse expresses it this way:
I may not know God’s plan for me
Each hour of every day.
But I will leave the choice with Him,
And trust Him all the way.
Solomon makes it clear that God is not unwilling to share his wise understanding with us. He waits for us to “call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding.” When finally we “search for it as for hidden treasure,”
then we find his wisdom and gain godly understanding.
God’s wisdom will “save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.” That is as clear as a bell; it needs no exegesis!
Young men and women need to study the Proverbs and think. Imagine how much different a young man’s life will be if at an early age he takes seriously this promise of God: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.”
How unwise it is for a man to think he is wise when he is but a fool. He who trusts in himself, and not in God, is both foolish and unwise. The foolish young man wants what he wants and he wants it now; he could care less about discipline or patience. Such a man should listen to Solomon and heed his advice while there is time:
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will
bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. . . . My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
If we ignore the necessity, and the privilege, of acquiring God’s wisdom, we will rush off in our own way and surely stumble and fall, sometimes tragically. A wise father will do his best to help his children to grasp the deep meaning of these profound words of Solomon:
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
I am an old man now. How I wish I could have a second chance to help my children embrace the wisdom of Proverbs! Perhaps reading these lessons they will be motivated to spend time with Solomon even now. If they did, they might seize the chance to share this wisdom with my grandchildren before it is too late. Perhaps, by the grace of God, I may be able to help them persuade their offspring to drink from this well of wisdom.
One thing is certain: God’s wisdom, so richly displayed in the Proverbs, is a treasure worth seeking – and worth sharing! If we are wise, we will find creative ways to do just that! And come to think of it, what better way to get others interested in it than to practice it in all our ways! Our example could be more persuasive than our pleadings!
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