Probing Proverbs: 3:17-18 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.
To help us connect with His concept of Wisdom, God leads the writer to speak about wisdom as a person. God is very good at taking spiritual issues and making them tangible…something we can get our minds around. So committed to this is He, that He took on flesh to reach us. That is one of the aspects of the incarnation. So here we have Wisdom in a feminine form, notice her description:
She guides to delightful paths, she is satisfying, and she brings life.
Throughout our time in Proverbs we have seen how wisdom changes an individual’s life for the better, wisdom brings quality, purpose and a sense of destiny. The promises of wisdom are very attractive! A very important truth is communicated here; life when approached with thought and understanding does not disappoint. So many of the bad moments in life, if we are honest, were from decisions short on thought. We rushed into them; wisdom requires enough time to count the cost. Even if the decision must be made in a moment, if we have thought about important issues of life, we will have the wisdom to make that decision with no regret. Martyrs have laid down their life in a second, but that came after a time of meditation on what’s really important in life.
So from this Proverb let us consider what our response should be. Two words are used that clearly bring images of what our response should look like.
We are told that wisdom brings life to those that “embrace” her. Here is the basic meaning of “Embrace” - to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly. There is a strong emphasis on attitude in the word. This is not something that a person is doing under duress or begrudgingly.
I began following Jesus Christ at 20 and am still pursuing Him at 60…I can tell you the difference in my life when I have embraced the Truth He brought to me, versus the times I was obedient and yielded, yet with resentment or doing it only because I knew it was what He wanted me to do. Have no doubt, it is better to obey than sacrifice, however, when I embrace the wisdom He offered, not only was I obedient, I found joy, contentment, peace, purpose…I could go on. The point is a quality to my life was added as I experienced bringing joy to my Lord’s heart and discovering how “wise” His wisdom is! Embracing exposes a holy hunger to be close to God!
We are also told an individual that holds wisdom tightly will be happy! The basic meaning of “Tightly” is - firmly or closely fixed in place; not easily moved; secure.
Joy is an abiding contentment no matter the circumstances; happiness is an emotion, which reacts to circumstance. The picture here is clear. When we tightly hold on to wisdom, it brings an anchor to our emotions! We are not “easily” moved to panic, we have a sense of security no matter the circumstances. What a gift this is! Even though the world may be crashing around you, wisdom states that “God is Sovereign,” “God is in control,” and He will work “all things…even this” together for good!
You may be emotionally troubled and concerned, yet you do not fall all the way into anxiety or depression! Wisdom as an anchor will keep your highs from being too high, and your lows from being too low. Wisdom brings a “regulator” to our emotions. This is why wisdom must be embraced and held tightly – it is a way of life – so when life does happen, we have prepared ourselves beforehand!
The so what? Do you live proactively or reactively? How intense are you in your desire to live in Truth? Have you decided to Embrace God? Are you taking the Data you know about God and applying it?