Proverbs 3:16-20

Benefits of Wisdom

Introduction:

1. Solomon has been teaching his son about the importance of Divine wisdom.

2. This isn’t the kind of wisdom you get at Harvard or on the street. This is God’s Wisdom—recorded in His Word. Much of this kind of wisdom is ridiculed at Harvard and on the street.

3. Solomon just told his son that wisdom is more valuable than silver and gold. (vs.14)

4. It is the source of true happiness. (vs.13)

5. He continues to instruct his son concerning the value of God’s wisdom.

16Length of days is in her right hand…

1. Wisdom is personified as a woman offering gifts to all who will listen to her.

2. First, she offers “length of days.” (a long life)

3. Keep in mind that these are Proverbs—truth crystallized into one little gem. They were never intended to cover each and every possible situation.

a. For example, if a man dies at the age of 20, that does not necessarily mean that he was foolish or did not employ God’s wisdom.

b. And if a man lives to be 95, that does not necessarily mean that he is wise.

c. Many fools live to a ripe old age… and many wise men die young (like the Lord Jesus!)

4. The proverb means that, generally speaking, if a man violates the principles of wisdom… he may well be endangering his life perhaps cutting it short.

a. Ex: if you want to ignore God’s Words of wisdom (obey man made ordinances) and speed down route 93 at 100 miles an hour—you may well cut your life short! That kind of folly tends to shorten one’s life!

b. Ex: if you want to indulge in drinks or drugs—and ignore the wise warnings in God’s Word of wisdom—you may make yourself sick, addicted, or wind up dead! (Prov. 23:29-30,34,35)

c. Ex: If you want to ignore God’s words of wisdom concerning the strange woman and indulge in illicit sexual activity—you may well be cutting your life short. (Prov.5:1-5)

d. God’s wisdom says, stay where it is safe. The fool wants to skate on thin ice… live life on the edge. That kind of behavior may result in a life cut short.

e. Solomon wrote, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Practice this and you are less likely to become a victim of road rage! Shout back at someone on the highway—an uncontrolled tongue—could result in a short life!

f. But Lady Wisdom has “length of days” in her hands—offering it to those who follow her!

And in her left hand are riches and honor

Riches…

1. She has long life in one hand. In her other hand she is offering us riches and honor.

2. Solomon just said that wisdom is far better than riches. (vs.14-15)

3. He is not contradicting himself in the next verse.

a. Rather, he is simply stating that although wisdom is far better than riches, wisdom often results in riches.

b. Again, remember that this is a proverb—not a promise. Not every wise person is going to have riches. Some wise people are quite poor—like the Lord Jesus. Nor does it mean that every wealthy person must have Divine wisdom. That is hardly the case.

4. Solomon means that when a person employs the principles of wisdom to his life, it will tend to cause him to prosper. When a person abandons the principles of wisdom, it tends to bring poverty.

a. God’s wisdom exalts diligence and hard work. (Prov. 10:4; 12:11; 13:4)
• This diligence goes for the student in school; the child at home doing his chores; and for the worker in the plant or office.

b. Wisdom also exalts honesty. The one who obtains money by dishonest means usually loses his wealth…
• The fool attempts to get his riches the easy way—usually by some dishonest means…stealing, cheating, etc.
• Prov.28:22 – He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
• Prov.13:11 – Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
• It is the fool who tries to attempt to obtain riches by a manner other than the way of wisdom. It often results in poverty.

Honor…

1. Lady wisdom offers HONOR to all who hear her and obey.

2. 4:7-8 – Embrace lady wisdom and she will promote you and bring you to honor!

3. 8:12,18 – riches and honor are with me!

4. 22:4 – true wisdom teaches us to FEAR GOD! That will in turn bring honor!

a. True wisdom also teaches us to be humble. That will in turn bring honor!

b. 15:33 – before honor is HUMILITY. Wisdom instructs us to humble self. Folly tells us to exalt self. If we want to be honored, we have to follow Lady wisdom’s advice!

c. Prov. 5:8 – Wisdom demands PURITY. The fool runs into the strange woman and in doing so gives away his honor! He has lost it!

d. Prov. 21:21 – if we follow after RIGHTEOUSNESS we will have honor. Lady wisdom demands that we pursue righteousness.

e. Lady Wisdom demands that we be God fearing, humble, pure, and righteous. THAT is the way to honor!

f. One does not become honorable by seeking honor for himself. Rather, he obtains honor by seeking righteousness, purity, humility, and by fearing God!

17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness…

1. Pleasantness = kindness, delightfulness, beauty, favour

2. Again, this is a proverb. This does not mean that if we practice wisdom life will be nothing but blue skies and good cheer all our days.

3. But it does mean that by following the advice of Lady Wisdom, life will be so much more pleasant!

4. It will keep us off dead end streets… away from sins that will eat away at us…

5. There is a sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from doing what is right and wise. That is pleasant to the soul.

6. The devil would like nothing more than to convince men and women that if you follow God’s narrow path of wisdom, life will be boring… you will be miserable… unhappy… Not so! Her ways are the ways of pleasantness and peace!

7. Ps.1:1 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful!

8. Ps.19:11- there is a great reward to hearing God’s Word of wisdom and keeping it. The reward is a blessed, pleasant life—free from all the troubles and snares that folly brings.

9. The world knows nothing of Christianity. It’s only religion. Religion lays heavy burdens on souls. It gives men much to DO, but nothing to enjoy. But Christ frees us from sin, and gives us all things richly to enjoy! The world cannot imagine spiritual pleasures… reading the Word… fellowship… singing praises…

10. The world knows nothing of being totally satisfied in Christ or the joy of the Lord.

And all her paths are peace…

1. Peace = completeness, soundness, welfare, peace; tranquility

2. The person who follows Lady Wisdom will have so much more peace in personal relationships.

a. Prov.15:1 – a soft answer turns away wrath. Instead of wrath, wisdom enables you to defuse situations that could potentially disturb the peace!

b. Prov. 28:25 – some people are constantly stirring up strife and trouble. They seem to thrive on it. Wisdom teaches us how to avoid it.

c. Ps.119:165 – great peace have they that love thy law! God’s Word is God’s Wisdom in print. It is a great source of peace!

3. You can tell God’s wisdom from the world’s wisdom. God’s wisdom is pure and peaceable. (Jas. 3:14-17) The world’s wisdom is full of strife.

4. This means true peace. It does not involve compromise over the truth. He is talking about interpersonal relationships… not doctrinal issues.

5. When it comes to the truth, we are engaged in an unending battle. But in our dealings with people on a day to day basis, we are to be peacemakers. That is the way of wisdom.

6. The world would never give the kind of wise counsel we find in the Scriptures: turn the other cheek; suffer yourself to be defrauded; bless those that curse you; overcome evil with good!

7. Wisdom provides not only length of days (quantity) but pleasantness and peace (quality).

18  She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her:

1. Wisdom is A tree of life… not THE tree in the Garden of Eden.

a. THE tree of life was created to preserve life… eat of it and live forever.

b. Wisdom is LIKE a tree of life. It provides continual preservation and protection for us in our spiritual life.

c. Wisdom enables us to MAINTAIN our spiritual life…

d. Col. 2:7 – We need to be rooted and built up in Him… for HE is the source of all wisdom. (vs.3)

2. It is a tree—a continual source of life to those who lay hold upon her.

3. As an apple tree provides apples to those who lay hold of them… so too wisdom provides her fruit continually to those who will come by and lay hold.

And happy is every one that retaineth her.

1. Once again, Solomon states that the one who retains this kind of divine wisdom is a happy or a blessed man!

2. If you want a happy blessed life—then dig into God’s Word and begin to practice the principles of wisdom found therein! That is the real key to happiness… the only way.

3. Get it—and don’t ever let go! (Prov. 4:5)

19 The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens. 20 By His knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.