Truth in Advertising

If it were a cost / benefit analysis the appropriate course of action would be a no brainer. If the claims are to be believed, then the investment would be gladly tendered. If the returns are but a portion of what is promised, then why wouldn’t I be all in? If there’s truth in this “advertising,” then I would be a fool to walk away from it.

I’m three days into my readings in Proverbs and the “hard sell” is on. “Wisdom cries aloud in the street” (1:20) . . . receive me . . . tune your ears to me . . . incline your heart to me . . . raise your voice and cry out for me . . . seek me like silver . . . search for me like hidden treasure (2:1-4). The momentum through the first three chapters of Solomon’s treatise on “the beginning of knowledge” is building.

Orange, the colored pencil I use for highlighting promises, is starting to fill the pages of this opening portion of Proverbs. The promises come fast and furious . . . you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God (2:3) . . . you will dwell secure (1:33) . . . it will add days and years to your life (3:2) . . . you will find good success (3:4) . . . He will make straight your paths (3:6) . . . the LORD will be your confidence (3:26) . . . the wise will inherit honor (3:35).

I almost want to avoid coloring anymore. I’m so wary of a prosperity gospel that I don’t know what to do with all these benefits that are claimed for those who are blessed because they find wisdom and get understanding (3:13). But the prosperity being advertised here is “better than gain from silver . . . her profit better than gold . . . more precious than jewels . . . in fact, nothing you desire can compare with her” (3:14-15). The return is counted not in earthly riches . . . but something more valuable.

She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.    (Proverbs 3:18 ESV)

There was a “tree in life” in the midst of the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9). There will be a “tree of life” in the heavenly city (Rev. 22:2). And, if you believe Wisdom’s claims, she is tree of life TODAY for all who will lay hold of her.

The same wisdom by which God founded the earth . . . the same understanding by which He established the heavens . . . the same knowledge by which the clouds water the earth (3:19-20). This is the wisdom available to those who seek her. This is the wisdom that gives life to those who find her. So why wouldn’t I be in hot pursuit of such a treasure? Whatever the effort in pursuing . . . whatever the investment in seeking . . . all worth it . . . as the returns are beyond any treasures or pleasures this world has to offer.

And as I read, my heart is stirred, knowing that wisdom is found in the Word of God. In the written word, to be sure . . . but also in the living Word. The Word that was in the beginning . . . the Word through whom all things were made . . . the Word who, in Himself, is life . . . the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us . . . and “we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-4, 14).

Jesus is Wisdom . . . He is the tree of life . . . He is the One who calls out in the streets . . . He is the one worthy of hot pursuit . . . inviting me to seek Him in order to gain unworldly treasure . . . promising me that, in Him, will be found grace and power for everyday living.

If there’s truth in this advertising, and there is, then it’s a no brainer.

O’ to be a seeker of Wisdom. By His grace . . . for His glory . . .

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