Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.” (Proverbs 4:1-9)
Wisdom Is The Principal Thing
The wisdom literature of scripture is rich with truths applicable to every generation of man. There is no book that addresses the needs of every man like the Bible. What is true today was true one thousand years ago and if the Lord wills, a thousand years in the future. Mining the gems of scripture from the Proverbs is a wealth of simple nuggets of eternal truth. Happiness comes from following the law of God. There are commandments to keep, knowledge to grasp, understanding to achieve and a love for things that are established in the wisdom of God. When man exhausts all efforts to find the meaning of life within himself, he will only find happiness when he turns to the word of God.
Children must be taught to love the word of God. Retaining the stories of old is vital to the happiness of man. The heart learns to trust in the words of God retaining them for days to come knowing the proper way to live before God and man. There has never been a better system of knowledge than the wisdom gleaned from the words of the Creator. Knowledge is power because it emboldens the spirit of man to rise about the mediocrity of man’s ignorance. Spending time in the book of Genesis explains the origins of man and the beginnings of all nations. Exodus unfolds a pattern of grace when God shows His mercy and love to rebellious man. Throughout the pages of Old Testament writ the majesty of the one true God is glorified on pages of His majesty. The gospels unveil the only truth that will bring man hope in this life and life to come. Opening the books and letters of the New Testament disciples shows how the power of God’s wisdom gives glory to God.
Solomon exhorts man to keep, get, not forget or turn away, love, and exalt the wisdom of God. Following the words of the Lord will preserve the heart. Not forgetting the word of God takes effort to spend time in the word. He exhorts the reader never to turn away from the power of God’s word or to forsake what is written. The wisdom of God must reside in the heart of man. True happiness will only come when we stand firm in the eternal truth of God’s knowledge. Love is a strong emotional word that binds the heart to another. Loving the word of God is a deep attraction for its power. To keep the wisdom of the Lord is to love the Lord with every fiber of our being.
Wisdom is the principal thing because nothing else will bring happiness. The knowledge of God is the only means that man will find his worth. Of all the things we need to get in life – getting understanding of the will of God is paramount. Exaltation comes from the humble mind filled with the grace of a loving Savior. Having a spiritual relationship with the Father in this life will bring honor in the life we now live and the life to come. Yes, wisdom tells us there is something better in the next life. The Bible shows us a world to come that is beyond imagination. A crown of glory awaits those who fill their lives with the wisdom of God. Let the word of the Lord dwell deeply in your life. That is the principal thing.
All the wisdom of the world is childish foolishness in comparison with the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ. (Martin Luther; 1483-1546; Table Talk)