The Successful Approach to Life

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 13 & 14

*Poetry: Proverbs 8

New Testament: Acts 2

Proverbs chapter 8 is an extended poem on Wisdom. The chapter is filled with personification where Wisdom is described as being alive and “calling out” to people (v. 4), and “uttering” words of truth and righteousness (v. 7). Also, Wisdom is described as something that is extremely valuable. In fact, she is elevated above any costly material such as silver, gold, and precious gems (vv. 10-11). Nothing can be compared to her. She is the most important treasure that could ever be found.

Why is it that wisdom is so valuable? Everyone knows that it is better to be wise than to be foolish. But what does having wisdom in life actually do for you? Wisdom is more like an outlook and mode of operating than a formula or blueprint. When you have wisdom, you look at life differently, which in turn, causes you to think differently, and thus, act differently. The choices you make in life will be different when you have wisdom. But what is the real difference, you might ask? The difference is that living with wisdom points you in the direction of Yahweh and builds a habit in your life of looking at things from Yahweh’s perspective rather than just our own.

You can think of having wisdom as having the ability to make the right choice and act in the right way in any given situation. Now, that might sound like wisdom is just a bunch of “rule following.” But that can’t be farther from the truth. Wisdom is not about “rules” but about perspective and patterns of thinking and acting. If you want to be successful in school, if you want to find a good spouse, if you want to get a promotion at work, if you want to have money, if you want to know how to deal with difficult people, and so many other aspects of life, wisdom teaches us the way to develop an approach to life that can yield joy, success, and prosperity.

You might be thinking, “Now hold on…are you saying that Wisdom guarantees that I will marry the person of my dreams, be successful, and have lots of money?” The answer is “no.” Wisdom doesn’t automatically yield these things in your life. In vv. 17-19, it says, “I [Wisdom] love those who love me, and those who desire me will find me. 18Riches and glory are with me, enduring prosperity, and righteousness. 19My fruit is better than gold, even better than refined gold, and my gain is better than silver.” If you want to have a good romantic relationship with someone, if you want to have money, and if you want to be successful in life, wisdom prepares and teaches us the principles that can help get us there. There is no guarantee in life that things will go your way if you live with wisdom. But I can guarantee that they will definitely not go your way if you are a fool.

In the closing part of the chapter, Wisdom says that those who follow her teachings (i.e., “keep her ways”) are “blessed” and will “find life” and “obtain favor” from Yahweh. That alone is a good reason to listen to Wisdom!

-Jerry Wierwille

Reflection Questions

  1. Who is one of the wisest persons you know? Describe them. Do any parts of Proverbs 8 remind you of this person?
  2. What are some of the wisest choices you have made? What was the result of each decision? What foolish choices have you made? What were the results of those choices? What upcoming decision do you have to make? How can you work at making a wise decision?
  3. What is your favorite verse(s) in Proverbs 8? Write it out and keep it somewhere you will see often this week. Pray for wisdom.

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