Finishing up the teaching of wisdom and understanding, the author now moves forward with one last command but then introduces two new topics. Notice in Proverbs 3:21. The command is to not let them depart from the eyes. Interesting phrase for sure. From a quick glance, this phrase is found three times in the Scriptures. Two times here in Proverbs and once in Luke.

The first place is here in Proverbs 3:21. From all that we have seen, we are aware of the importance of having wisdom and understanding with us at all times. We will not rehash everything here, but I would encourage reading everything from Proverbs 3:13-20. This will lay out why keeping this before our eyes are vital.

Second place is Proverbs 4:21, Solomon is telling his son to keep his words and sayings.

Third, and last, Jesus, in Luke 19:42, tells his listeners that the things that could have brought them peace are no longer able to be seen or found.

On a deeper note, let us look at what it means to keep it before the eyes. What do we use our eyes for? What purpose do they serve? They help us to see, observe, perceive. For some of us, we may need corrective lenses. Those lenses brings our vision back into focus. In this case, what is the author saying? Wisdom and understanding is to be the main focus of what we should have. This is vital when we look back over the text here in Proverbs. My prayer and encouragement, in conclusion, is to pursue after the wisdom and understanding that comes from God. There is a false wisdom and understanding, again, we covered this but, dear beloved, do not fall for these things. They only lead to emptiness. We now turn our focus to two other concepts: wisdom and discretion.

We start with the word wisdom. If we look at this word for wisdom, an interesting thing jumps out to us. This wisdom is a different word from the wisdom found in Proverbs 3:13. The wisdom in Proverbs 3:13 is to direct us toward God and to acquire a reverential fear of Him much like we find with: Abram, Aaron, Ezekiel, Saul, and John falling on their face, and with John as though he was dead (Genesis 17:3; Numbers 16:22; Ezekiel 1:28; Acts 9:4; Revelation 1:17), Isaiah declaring himself being undone (Isaiah 6:1-8). As a side note, listen to modern day speakers who are part of the New Apostolic Reformation, and the Word of Faith movements. When they speak of God and Jesus coming to talk with them, some of them are so arrogant that they brag about God asking for their opinion, and how they argue or try to correct God. I do not hesitate to say foolish. Job would reiterate this wisdom in Job 28:28 and this wisdom arrives to the point that can only bring the reality and knowledge of God. This is why in Proverbs 2:2 we are called to listen to this wisdom that can only lead us to God (Proverbs 1:7).

Yet, wisdom here in Proverbs 3:21 is different. Unlike the other wisdom that is found 149 times in the Old Testament, this wisdom is found only eleven times! How it is translated across Scripture is amazing! It is translated (the bold words are what will be found in the NKJV) as:

Plans– Job 5:12

Success– Job 6:13; 30:22

Prudence – Job 11:6; 12:16

Wisdom – Proverbs 2:7; 3:21; 8:14; Micah 6:9

Judgment – Proverbs 18:1

Guidance – Isaiah 28:29

The meaning and purpose of this wisdom is different. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, and I quote them because I like how they lay out this wisdom, they say,

Among the usages of this technical word is sound efficient wisdom, i.e. sound judgment, wisdom that leads to practical success.”

In other words, the success of life will be had if the son. Therefore, the next segment of verses, from Proverbs 3:21-24 it is about success in life whereas the verses we just finished is our wisdom in relation to God. We will not cover all of this today, but we are setting the stage. There is wisdom in life and there is wisdom in life. One wisdom leads to dead end and grief. The other leads to some great things. But to understand the difference of this wisdom, we must first have Godly wisdom. One cannot be discerned without the other.

The next word we will look at is the word discretion. It is used 19 times and is translated as:

1. Schemes – Job 21:27; Psalm 37:7

2. Purpose – Job 42:2

3. Plot(s) – Psalm 10:2; 21:11

4. Thoughts – Psalm 10:4

5. Wickedly – Psalm 139:20

6. Discretion – Proverbs 1:4; 2:11; 3:21; 5:2; 8:12

7. Intentions – Proverbs 12:2; 14:17

8. Schemer – Proverbs 24:8

9. Lewd – Jeremiah 11:15

10. Thoughts – Jeremiah 23:20

11. Intents – Jeremiah 30:24

12. Plan – Jeremiah 51:11

As we see, this word has a broad meaning of good and bad directions. But coupled with this wisdom that leads to blessing, we can easily eliminate the negative traits from being in focus. While the wisdom will bring blessing and prosperity, discretion then will also protect from the negative things that can befall one who is going through this life. This is a wisdom that is smart. I am reminded of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10:16. Discretion is using good wisdom to see more than a mere inch from the nose.

Discretion, left alone, can be evil. That is why it is vital to balance it with wisdom from God. This study will help us to have a life that is both peaceful and successful. Granted, we must balance what success really entails but we will do that as we go through this text.

How do we apply what we have learned so far? There are many who are wise in the world. Think of many of the business men who have built up major corporations. I can think of one we all know well. Amazon is a force to be reckoned with if you someone wishes to start an online business or even a brick and mortar store. Bezos was wise and perceiving what people wanted.

But his wisdom and discretion is not grounded in Godly wisdom. Therefore, what does Amazon stand for as a company? Many of the social issues they promote, believers should be very cautious of. They do not support traditional families as God calls for us to have. They do not support Biblical truths. They send a lot of money to groups, policies and organizations that we as Christians would find abhorrent. We could go on and on with this and then look at other businesses, but I would then miss the point of what I am saying.

What we see being done is wisdom of the world, with discretion of the world, that leads to supporting the evils of the modern world. A Christian must be wise and discreet. Wisdom helps us as Christians to maneuver in an ungodly world and discretion is the path we maneuver with through wisdom.

How does this begin to look in our lives? For that we will begin next week, Lord willing.