“Get wisdom; get insight: do not forget, nor turn away
from the words of my mouth.”
~Proverbs 4:5 (NRSV).
The direction and repetitiveness of Proverbs is getting continually strained by the time we reach chapter 4 of Proverbs. The message is unadorned. We are literally to go after and get wisdom and understanding. Realistically, it’s only the earnest who’ll ever achieve this lasting sense of the love for Wisdom.
The Parents’ Ongoing Imperative
This parent of Proverbs is not losing a single opportunity to cajole home the message of wisdom in the mind and heart of the young one being counselled.
No doubt, at some time, we’ve all needed this repetitive style of teaching for the lesson to be learnt.
There are warnings not to forsake this cherished-down-the-generations teaching. In Jewish folklore it was passed per the oral tradition way with each succeeding generation. Should’ve even one generation not obey this proven method for guaranteeing the safety of their spiritual genome, disaster could’ve hit the nation of Israel. Imagine all that moral virtue of the ancients finished in one or two foolish generations. Indeed, we have some idea of the consequences — look to seventy-year Exile.
The language is therefore understandably desperate through verses 4c-9: “keep my commandments, and live... get wisdom, get insight... do not forget, nor turn away... Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you... The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight... Prize her highly” and so on.
Life’s Most Important and Only Real Prize
If we choose to boil life down to only one thing, Proverbs’ parent is saying Wisdom is all there is — the be all and end all of life itself. In crude plain terms:
DON’T MESS AROUND WASTING YOUR TIME.
JUST GET IT!
Many might ask, then, from the practical viewpoint, “Just how do we set about ‘getting’ this thing called Wisdom?”
The answer is simple, the more we focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others, the more we travel closer to it, and expand our understanding of it. Then, on arrival, we’ll find that Wisdom is the pursuit and acquisition for every good thing; it’s bundled neatly under one easy to understand and harmonious frame.
From This One Thing – Wisdom – Leads All Good Things
If we get Wisdom we get everything worthy in life. It really is that simple; we have the tools to self-select the things of life. Discerning God’s will becomes easier as new seasons of growth in Wisdom continue to emerge like a blossoming flower.
Priority One: Wisdom.
Finding Wisdom really is a full priority situation calling all our lives there.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Adapted excerpt from Grow in GOD, my devotional commentary on Proverbs.