Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding. Proverbs 3:13 NRSV
“Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding.” It is interesting that we are not told how the person finds wisdom. Is he or she searching for it? Does he or she stumble upon it? Is he or she in the right place when it is given? Is he or she receptive to it?
Chapter 2 begins, “My child, if you accept my words … then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (1.5)
Chapter 3 begins, “My child, do not forget my teaching ….” (1)
Chapter 4 begins, “Listen children to a father’s instruction, and be attentive that you may gain insight; ….” (1)
Chapter 5 begins, “My child be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, …” (1)
In all of these examples, we see that wisdom is being passed down from one generation to another … from parent to child. Chapters 2, 4, and 5 suggest a scene as the parent speaks and the child listens or children listen so as to learn and gain wisdom. Wouldn’t it be great if we as children listened so attentively to our parents’ teaching that they did not have to repeat it? Chapter 3, verse 1, seems to acknowledge that children may not always pay attention to what their parents teach. They may not store this knowledge for future reference. Often to gain knowledge lessons have to be repeated and skills must be practiced.
Then sometimes our best teacher is experience itself in that the lessons we learn in this way are ones we will never forget. Though it may be painful, we can learn from making mistakes or poor choices. As a case in point, consider the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)! The father, no doubt, had taught his sons and encouraged them to gain insight, understanding and wisdom. The Prodigal Son did not realize what a great life he had until he had squandered his inheritance. He gained understanding and wisdom through a series of hard knocks. He came to himself, repented and returned home to his father asking his forgiveness. There is not one among us who would not acknowledge that the Prodigal Son gained wisdom. There is not one parent or child who does not wish that they could have learned in an easier way like when the parent was instructing and the child listening.
“[Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.” Proverbs 3:18
Loving Father, we thank You for giving us minds with the ability to think and to remember. Help us to gain some wisdom every day so that we may follow our Savior and Lord more closely. In His name, we pray. Amen.