And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways.” (Proverbs 8:31)
We can see through a careful study of scripture that the “person” of Wisdom is a personification of Christ.
32“And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. 34 Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, 36 but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36)
We are given some great promises in this passage.
- The promise of blessing (vs.32,34)
- The promise of life (v.35)
- The promise of God’s favor (v35)
However, we also see that with those promises come some conditions. We are given three steps we must take to stay on the path of Wisdom.
Keep the ways of the Lord (v32). What does that look like? Jesus tells us in the great commandment:
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall lovethe Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and [love] your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus tells us, the ways of Wisdom can be summed up in one word – Love.
Learn the ways of the Lord (v33). If we want to keep the ways of Wisdom, we must first know what those ways are and to know what they are, we must be taught. God’s word is our source. Paul wrote to Timothy – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). The word study used here is spoudazo and it means to use speed, to make effort, be diligent, to labor. In the definition we get a clear sense of urgency and importance. Only through a committed and continuous study of His word can we know the ways of the One we seek to follow.
Observe the ways of the Lord (v34). The word observe has several meanings. It can mean to conform to or comply with, it can also mean to celebrate. In verse 34, both meanings can be applied. We are told that we are not only to obey God’s word, but that we should do so eagerly. We are to watch and wait, not merely for the purpose of complying with God’s word, we wait with anticipation and hope for opportunity to serve our Lord.
As we keep, learn, and observe the ways of the Lord, we are assured of God’s favor and a good life (v35). Consequently, rejecting God’s word will have a very different outcome. Time and time again throughout our study in Proverbs, the consequences of choosing evil over good have been described. We see it again here in verse 36. Let’s turn to the King James translation for a reading of this verse:
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
The Hebrew word for “wrongeth” is chamas. It means to treat violently; of physical and ethical wrong. What this verse is telling us is that to reject the wisdom of God is to do violence to one’s own soul; violence that can only lead to misery and to both spiritual and physical death.
I pray that the Lord will bring this tragic thought to my mind at every remembrance of those who are in darkness. And, that when He does, He will stir an urgency within me to shine the light of truth into those hopeless, helpless lives.
We talked about the steps to Wisdom today. Where could we possibly apply those truths in a more powerful way than in telling those who are dying about the hope that is in us?