“Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.”
~Proverbs 23:23 (NRSV).
The price of the good life is just too much for us to simply throw it away. But, still many do. We’ve probably all done it to some extent. Yet, in the original context of this proverb we can but imagine a young person being counselled wisely to avoid casting his or her truth to the dogs; to respect and value the truth, wisdom, the instruction of the younger years and the understanding of elders in their midst; to value it highly above anything else. (See also Proverbs 4 on this.)
And too often we tend to undervalue or devalue the issues of wisdom and learning. We do this always it seems to our own detriment. Instead we should have confidence in it.
There is real value in us teaching wisdom and understanding to our children, much as the wisdom and understanding we learned we appreciate in our later years. And if we didn’t get it, we appreciate it because we didn’t get it. Isn’t it ironic that in the years we could’ve voiced our appreciation we often didn’t.
Buying truth and not selling it is as much about having an awesome and irrefutable respect for goodness, value and worth as anything else. We’re lost in our respect for truth. It retains the good much like saving for the rainy day—never squandering. The life here acquires truth; it adheres to truth... the truth sticks and it sustains us.
When we ‘sell truth’ we’re in fact giving it up for the lies we value more; the transitory pleasures, the fundamentally flesh-driven fantasies, the tests of faith that sweep through and overwhelm us. We can even know we’re doing it, but hey, what the heck; we give up temporarily seeking the ‘easier’ way. “It can’t cost that much,” we say, justifying it in our momentary folly. We believe the lie.
But such a way that is opposed to truth is not easier at all. It never was and never is. The truth, whilst it is harder initially, is easier in the longer run.
There’s a strong parental flavour in this unit (Proverbs 23:22-25) and it’s presumed that the righteous bent to our parents’ (or significant guardians) wisdom is to be held; grasped with both hands no less and never to be let go.
It is the fundamental call to fidelity. Our fight to cling onto our truth—the understanding instituted in our upbringing, or later perhaps via wise discipleship in adulthood—is to be retained all throughout life. We’re not to backslide; and if we have, we’re to make the adjustments now and never look back—or be turned again to salt (Genesis 19:26).
Fight for your truth—the truth of objectivity and of life!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
 Roland E. Murphy, Proverbs – Word Biblical Commentary (Vol. 22) (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998), p. 176.