Do you want to be happy? Do you want to feel safe and protected? Of course, most people want these things. But the truth is that we cannot produce joy and security on our own – they are gifts that we receive from the Lord as we follow His way of wisdom.
That is why Proverbs tells us today that those who find wisdom find true happiness (v. 13). Wisdom is more valuable than any amount of wealth or stuff (vv. 14-15). As Jesus said, our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions (Luke 12:15). Endlessness striving after more and more money and whatever it can buy will never satisfy our souls’ deepest longings for joy and purpose. Yet walking in God’s wisdom offers us real prosperity, the priceless gifts of peace with God and joy flowing out of hearts surrendered to the Lord (v. 17). Biblical living will often lead us to financial peace and longer, healthier lives because it is based on living within our means and learning to be content with what we need and not chasing everything that we think we want (v. 16). Yet the end prize is eternal life in the world to come; heaven is not a place on this fallen earth. The real heaven is pictured in verse 18 by our eventually returning to the tree of life that Adam and Eve lost our access to when they rebelled against God in the Garden. God points further to this idea of a restored state of paradise in vv. 19-20, reminding us that wisdom was how God created the world in the first place. It would only make sense for wisdom to be the road back to what was so tragically lost.
In wisdom we also find safety. Like an ancient Middle Eastern amulet of protection (but one that really works), wise living guards our very lives and souls from danger (v. 22). Wisdom leads us down secure paths, so that we will not stumble or fall along the way (v. 23). Godly living even gives us peaceful sleep (v. 24). When we know that we are listening to and obeying God’s Word and will, then we find courage and confidence in all that we do; we do not fear the attacks of evil people because our trust is in Christ and His power (vv. 25-26).
Therefore, we keep our eyes fixed straight ahead on God and His promises, determined to continue on the path of wisdom (v. 20). On that road we will find both the happiness and the safety that our hearts desire. You see, it is by walking in the way of wisdom that we find fellowship with Jesus each day.
The Text (Proverbs 3:13-26)
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were broken up, And clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes—Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.
Questions to Think About
- Are you happy right now? Why or why not?
- Do you feel safe right now? Why or why not?
- How are biblical happiness and safety as described in today’s passage different from the false senses of happiness and safety that the world offers us? How can you better experience biblical joy and peace in your life?