We are now going to look at a powerful verse that does some amazing wrap up in order to launch a powerful study. In Proverbs 4:5-6, two words are used in order to bring about our lesson and the importance of both.
In Proverbs 4:5, we have two words, wisdom and understanding. These two words we have already covered and I would encourage all readers to look back at the texts referred. Wisdom was used in Proverbs 1:2, 7; 2:2, 6, 10; 3:13, 19. Understanding is also found in Proverbs 1:2 and Proverbs 2:3. Please look back at the respective blog posts. Both of these these things are to be had, kept, and protected. We covered so much ground with these two words.
So now Solomon is drawing us further with both of these two words. Notice we are not to forget, or turn away. Let us start with forget. It means what it says, to forget, forgot, forgotten. One time it is translated as “means” in Deuteronomy 8:19. So the call is to not forget to be in the state of having forgot the words of the father’s mouth which in itself is the voice God is using to pass on wisdom and understanding. We know this because the Holy Spirit guided the writer of Proverbs to put this information down and the Word of God is perfect, preserved, and inspired. So the wisdom that Solomon is sharing from his mouth, we are able to benefit from today.
Now we have the idea of turning away. This is a lot harder, and sad. In this state, the hearer not only heard the truth, but the indication is they received it at some point. But now they have turned away! They are walking away from the truth being presented! Turn away is a widely used word, some 214 times in the Old Testament. It carries with it the idea of spreading out or to spread out. In other words, to spread out and away from a central point of reference. In this case, the words of wisdom is being spread away from.
So how does this affect us today? Throughout Scripture, we find the command to stay true to wisdom and understanding. It is put in a very high place, even over physical wealth and possessions. How our world has missed this. Instead of teaching how to think, our modern day schools, from pre-school and up are awash with instruction that pushes toward a common end goal but does nothing to help the students in the class. It is now less about teaching and more about indoctrinating (as a side note: this is why, among other reasons, homeschool and private school education has had meteoretic growth in the last year or two!). So where should the education come from? The parents! Solomon is doing that here, and the challenge is for us, parents who are reading this, to do it now.
But we should also be aware of how we stand as well. What can we draw from the Scriptures? First, is to realize that our days are few. Of course we could look at verses such as Psalm 39:5 and James 4:14, and this is taught clearly. Therefore, as our life is so short, what do we spend our minds and learning on? Psalm 90:12, we are called to number our days so we may have wisdom that comes from the reality that we do not have an infinite time to spend on this earth! As such, how do we use our time.
It is important to know that our time is valuable and it should not be squandered. Proverbs 8:11 gives us the valuation of it. It is more than rubies. This would be good to understand what this value is. Today, one ruby, depending on its grade and quality, can range on the low end at $10 dollars a carat. Before we pass on this verse and think,
That is not much!
Just hold tight! At the high end, with especially good quality, the record ruby value is $1 MILLION (that’s $1,000,000) per carat (for a fun little read, here is an example from 2023!!!)! If you have a ten carat ruby at this quality, I will let the math speak for itself. Look at Proverbs 8:11. Now, it does not say it is worth the price of rubies. It says it is worth MORE than the price of rubies! What if we as individuals, and as mankind put the same weight and value on wisdom as we do our possessions? But it is not just any wisdom that is worth this. There is, just as you can have $10 rubies, $10 wisdom. This is not good wisdom. It is either vulgar, unrighteous, unsavory, or even just useless junk floating around. We must make sure the wisdom we are gaining is not based on earthly valuation of wisdom but on Godly value of wisdom. Godly wisdom is our goal and desire or it should be.
This is why it is prudent to get this knowledge, and to keep seeking out this knowledge (Proverbs 18:15). There are some that we may meet that just have wisdom that exceeds their years and experience. But how much better for this same wisdom to be found in Godly plains? Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 10:16.
Failure to obtain this wisdom, when we consider the source of true wisdom, can be used by Satan to keep someone from coming to the truth. In the parable of the sower,, found in Luke 8:12, one of soils was the wayside. The seed, the Word, does not grow. Wisdom is not gained, and Satan takes the seed away. They are never saved. There are so many who put on wisdom. Some who even have wisdom. But if they are not saved through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, their wisdom, no matter how high, noble, or good, is still only a shell of what it could or should be. It is only in Jesus that true wisdom is found. This wisdom is found in the pages of the Scriptures.
Do not turn away! It is not just a command to not forget, but even worse, do not hear it, receive it, then spread away from it! It only leads to destruction. But the author of Proverbs does not end there. Now we turn to Proverbs 4:6.
In here we are called to not forsake. We have seen this word, so again, I would urge you to look at the corresponding blogs: Proverbs 2:13, 17; 3:3. Do not abandon wisdom and understanding. This can have some overlap with the turning away, but in other ways, it is even darker. Whereas the turning away gives indication that a turning back can happen, an abandoning is permanent. I just got done reading a biography about the ship Endurance. It is the ship that Sir Ernest Shackleton used to try and cross the Antarctic and how he pulled off one of the most amazing and impossible mission of maritime History. I highly encourage reading about what he did. Never the less, in the book he ordered to Abandon ship. Once done, they went back on board only a couple of times then it was gone (left ambiguous in case you wish to read it). Proverbs 4:6 is that same idea. There is no return, no salvage, and no chance of regaining.
Again, we turn to the Scriptures and we find some interesting notes about preserving and staying with wisdom and understanding. Let us look at a few. First is Proverbs 2:11. It is the understanding that will preserve us. Without it, without preservation, there is decay. Imagine milk that is left out. The cold preserves the milk. How does it smell? How about potatoes that go bad in a potato bin? How does that smell? Again, preservation is good. Understanding brings that preservative. This is what we find in Proverbs 4:6. It will preserve us.
Because of this, in Proverbs 6:21, we are told to hold on to them. We will not go too deep here for we will get to this passage in due time, Lord willing. But then we have passages as Proverbs 11:9, and Proverbs 19:8. Both telling us about how wisdom helps not only ourselves but also those around us. And what we need now in our nation is Godly wisdom and understanding! It is because of this lack we find our nation decaying from the inside, which reminds me of Proverbs 2:11.
Then we are lastly called to love wisdom and understanding. By doing so we will be kept. Used sixty-two times in the Old Testament, it has the idea of being kept, keeping, or even to be watched and or a watchtower! This is a term of being guarded, or a term of being secured. By loving wisdom and understanding, it will stand as a watchtower over us! Who is the watchman? I will leave Psalm 12:7 and Psalm 31:23 to answer that, and it is an amazing answer! There are many more, but this should suffice for our purpose.
Do we grasp the depth, wonder, power of wisdom and understanding? Not just any wisdom and understanding, but true Biblical, Godly wisdom and understanding? Now, what do we do with all of this? Solomon will give us more, Lord willing next week, but the challenge is there for us. What do we value? May it be what we should value.