The cause-and-effect promises of Proverbs continues in my reading in chapter three this morning. Just as in yesterday’s consideration, Solomon again encourages his son, “Receive this and you can expect that.” And at the center of “this” is wisdom. According to God’s word, there is a correlation between responding to divine wisdom and being rewarded with a blessed life.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
(Proverbs 3:1-4 ESV)
What we do with wisdom matters. It impacts length of days, years of life, and peace within. It turns the face of God towards us in grace and favor. It even influences how others will perceive and receive us as we simply do life. The Author of Life is the Giver of Wisdom (Prov.2:6), knowing that the quality of one is directly dependent on the appropriation of the other.
And so, ours is to learn the lessons and not forget the teaching.
And it’s not just some holy “to do” list we are to memorize. It’s not about mindlessly going through the motions of righteousness. Instead, the depths from which we respond matters. It’s our hearts which are to keep the commandments, the essence of who we are that seeks to respond in willful submission to His ways. Far from simply making a checklist for today’s random acts of godliness, we are exhorted to tie them around our necks and etch them into our souls. The obedience that makes a difference is inside-out obedience. Principle based more than performance based. Less about what to do and more about who to do it for. Not concerned with “just enough” but compelled to be all in. Such is the way of receiving wisdom and responding with wisdom.
To receive wisdom is to receive God Himself. To respond to wisdom is to respond to God Himself.
Verse three says that I am not to allow “steadfast love and faithfulness” to forsake me. These same terms are used when God reveals His glory to Moses.
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
(Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)
To put on wisdom is to put on the nature of God. To respond to wisdom’s call is to respond to the Voice from heaven itself. To fear the LORD, to desire the knowledge of the divine, to seek the understanding that is from above, is to clothe ourselves with the glorious nature of our holy God.
And that’s what happens when we “put on Christ.” He is Wisdom. He is the glory of God that we can bind around our necks and carve into our hearts. He is the fulfillment of the law, so that desiring above all to follow Him is to walk in the law without being worried about the letter of the law. He is our length of days, our years of life, and our peace that passes understanding. To know His favor is enough. And His success, true success, is found in seeking His kingdom.
What we do with Wisdom matters.
O that He would permeate our lives and lead us in the way everlasting.
Because of grace. For His glory.