Proverbs 4

Wisdom at any Cost!

“Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.” ­– Proverbs 4:5 NASB

What kinds of things do we spend our money on? Movies and music, the latest electronic gadgets, lattes and lunches, golf clubs and hunting rifles, handbags and hairstyling – the list goes on and on. The bottom line for most of us is if we want something bad enough, we figure out a way to get our hands on it. Even if it means going in debt to do it. Which makes the verse above so interesting. Here Solomon tells his son to acquire wisdom and understanding. That word can actually be translated “buy” or “purchase.” It seems to carry the thought, “to possess at any cost.” He is telling his son, and us, to make it our mission to get our hands on wisdom and understanding. They are both that valuable. He’s not saying, “Son, you have got to have the latest iPhone or iPad.” He is not telling his son to “acquire stock” in some Fortune 500 company. He is not telling him to spend his hard-earned money on good, reliable  transportation. No, he is pleading with his son to make it his mission in life to possess these two priceless commodities: wisdom and understanding.

But how do we obtain these two qualities or attributes. By using the term “acquire,” Solomon is indicating that they will cost us something. There is a price involved. Both are only available from one source: God. And they do not come cheap. As Solomon tells us elsewhere, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 NASB). So both of these valuable commodities begin and end with God. He is the source and the seller. Which means I have to deal with Him if I want to get my hands on them. The price? A healthy fear of God and a growing knowledge or understanding of Him. I grow in my fear of God as I spend time with Him. And my fear changes from a simple-minded dread based on ignorance to a multifaceted awe and reverence based on a growing knowledge of just how holy, powerful, and majestic God really is. But I don’t acquire this understanding easily. The wisdom that God offers doesn’t come cheap. It requires that I spend countless hours pursuing a relationship with Him. As I do, I will find myself wiser and more understanding. And the side benefits are pretty significant as well: God’s provision and protection, guidance in the way of righteousness, life, health, and integrity. So it pays to purchase wisdom and understanding. It makes good fiscal sense to acquire them both. But to do so, I will have to make them a priority in my life. I will have to want them bad enough to spend what it takes to get them. I will need to give God my time, my undivided attention, my affection and devotion, my obedience and trust, and ultimately, my life. But it will be well worth the cost. Solomon put it this way: “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18 NLT).

Father, I spend my time, money, and resources on a lot of things. And none of them can deliver what they promise, let alone what it is I really need. Which is wisdom and understanding. Only You can provide those two things and they do not come cheaply. They come from time spent with You. They are only available through effort spent in seeking an intimate relationship with You. You are the key to both. Never let me forget that. There is no other way. There is no discount for acquiring wisdom and understanding. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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