Urgency. If there’s one word that captures the tone of these opening chapters of Proverbs it’s urgency. Nothing optional in Solomon’s exhortation. Nothing secondary in it’s nature. To heed Solomon’s repetitious pleading, if you were developing your life’s “to do” list, would be to place “get wisdom” at the top.
Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. 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 you get, get insight.
(Proverbs 4:6-7 ESV)
Get it. That’s an imperative. A command, not a suggestion. Get it. Acquire it, obtain it, buy it, possess it. As I’ve noted before action required!
And “it” is wisdom, and her companion is insight. If wisdom is skill for living, then insight is discernment for living.
Wisdom is the “what.” It is the instruction that when obeyed provides protection against danger and brings honor among men. It is what leads to straight paths and avoids the injuries of destructive snares. It is founded in the fear of the LORD and it is appropriated through the word of God. Get wisdom.
But too, “whatever you get, get insight.” The acquisition of wisdom results in the protective filter of insight. For all those situations, and for all those decisions, that are not covered specifically by a command or an exhortation, insight kicks in to discern whether a course of action is profitable or not. Understanding helps us deal with the grey areas. Beyond simply following wisdom’s specific rules, insight allows us to apply wisdom’s intent so that we are not left to our own devices to avoid paths of evil. As, in obedience, we exercise the ways of wisdom, we develop the insight to discern good from evil (Heb. 5:14).
So get wisdom. And get insight. Don’t leave home without them! The beginning of wisdom is knowing how desperately you need wisdom. The beginning of acquiring skill for living is recognizing that living requires skill.
Wisdom and insight are game changers. They impact life in a profound way. They are the difference between being protected and being exposed. They are the difference between paths of righteousness and ways of evil. The difference between being able to run freely and stumbling constantly. The pivot point between building upon the foundation of the gospel with the stuff that lasts, gold, silver and precious stones, or the stuff that burns, wood, hay, and straw (1Cor.3:12-15).
Wisdom, get it! Insight, get it too!
They are the dynamic duo of skillful living. If wisdom could be considered as a personification of Christ, the Word made flesh, then perhaps insight could be identified as the Spirit, the mind of Christ in us. If you have the One, you have the Other. If you seek heaven’s Wisdom manifest before men, then you’ll also be permeated by heaven’s power to internalize Wisdom given to dwell inside men.
And when, by His grace, we get wisdom, and she provides for us insight, then God gets the glory.