I originally posted this on Emily Blogs the Bible, back on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. While I didn’t successfully memorize the verse as I had hoped, I do believe I internalized it in a way that God has used. Revisiting it now is a good reminder to continue to focus on Jesus as the source of wisdom!

We’ve been reading through Proverbs with our life group and are working on memorizing a verse of our choosing from the book. I’m not very good at memorization, but I agree it’s good to do! I’ve chosen Proverbs 4:13.

I picked this one because it:

  • Provides a clear action.
  • Conveys the importance of instruction (or wisdom).
  • Has a concise, simple point.

Why is Wisdom so Important?

Of course, a big benefit of memorizing a verse is internalizing it; understanding it in the context of the passage is important. My husband recently preached a sermon on Proverbs 1-9 that gives a nice overview; he begins discussing chapter 4 about 18 minutes in and focuses on verses 5-9:

Get wisdom; get insight;

    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;

    love her, and she will guard you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,

    and whatever you get, get insight.

Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;

    she will honor you if you embrace her.

She will place on your head a graceful garland;

    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

I love the imagery of this passage–the idea that wisdom can guard you, honor you, bestow on you a beautiful crown. Generally I consider wisdom and insight being good to have when I need to make important life decisions, but this passage shows how it’s not just about getting good advice when a crossroads comes up, but rather embracing wisdom all the time. It’s a lifestyle rather than just something to seek out when you think it’s needed.

Hold Instruction; Guard Her

If you read a bit further, you come to the verse I picked. Here are verses 10-13:

Hear, my son, and accept my words,

    that the years of your life may be many.

I have taught you the way of wisdom;

    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

When you walk, your step will not be hampered,

    and if you run, you will not stumble.

Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;

    guard her, for she is your life.

There’s more imagery here that I really like: “When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.” I like the picture that when you’re walking with wisdom, you can move forward with confidence, clinging to and guarding her because she’s of so much importance; she’s your life.

How Do I Get Wisdom?

When I was reading this, I was wondering, “How do I get wisdom? It just says to get it, but it doesn’t say how.” Throughout Proverbs, wisdom is referred to as a person with the pronoun “she” rather than “it.” Why? Who is wisdom? The final point from my husband’s sermon adds some clarity (about 37 minutes in).

In the rest of chapter 8, this picture is painted that essentially Lady Wisdom was born at the creation of the world, and it says in verse 30 that she was like a master workman beside the Lord. And in verse 22 it says, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work.” I have a theological alarm in my head that starts going off…who is this created being that’s present at the beginning of creation that is with God? 

I know from what scripture has told us, we know that Jesus was the Word, the Word was with God, that God was there in the beginning. Jesus was there in the beginning at creation. We know that the Spirit of God, in Genesis, that he was hovering over the deeps of the waters, that the whole Trinity was there. And those are the only players that I remember being there at creation. So who or what is Lady Wisdom that is here at the beginning of creation? Is it possible that Lady Wisdom that’s been described to us by Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, is Jesus himself? 

But Jesus wouldn’t be God if he was a created being…the words that are used there, “That the Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,” are the same words that are used to describe the birth of a child. And in the Hebrew mindset, conception is when creation happened. The birth of a child, when the child comes out, is when the child is being revealed to parents, loved ones. So here Lady Wisdom is not created, she’s being revealed at the beginning of creation. This is when she’s being revealed to the world.

That clarifies how to get wisdom: seek Jesus. Keep hold of Him, do not let go, guard Him. For He is your life.

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