Throughout chapter 4 Solomon emphasizes that we should seek after, find and keep wisdom. First let’s talk about what wisdom is… then we will look at why it is so important.
If you google the word wisdom you get three definitions:
1) the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
2) the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
3) the body of knowledge and principles that develops within a specified society or period.
Aside from the third which speaks more of wisdom as a tradition or possibly common practices within a culture, the other two specifically talk about how wisdom is having and acting upon experience, knowledge and good judgement. Is it fair to ask, what the point of going through experiences, gaining knowledge or possessing good judgement if we don’t use it?
So let’s compare this definition of wisdom to the Bible’s. We find it in James chapter 3:13-18.
“13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Right here we see that the biblical definition of wisdom comes down to not having bitter envy or selfish ambition, but by deeds done in humility. I’m tying this back to my question about what would the point be of going through experiences, gaining knowledge or possessing good judgement if we don’t use it? The Bible says that someone who has wisdom will be peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, be impartial and sincere. WOW, that by itself could be meditated upon daily… Lord help us recognize wisdom as humility and being merciful in all that we do!
Aside from the many statements he makes to compel us to attain wisdom and keep his commandments, two other verses stick out. Verse 13 and 23.
Verse 13 says “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”
In verse 23 he says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” This statement is similar to Proverbs 3:22 which says, “they will be life for you (speaking of sound judgement and discernment from v 21).”
So we learned that wisdom itself is using our experiences, knowledge and good judgement to act humbly, show mercy and be considerate and sincere. But here we see that it is even more than that. It says, wisdom is LIFE! It is the wellspring of life. What does this mean?
One commentary stated that having wisdom (and using it) will of course help us to make good decisions and probably keep us out of a lot of trouble, but it also helps us live an honest life. I think when we live honestly we have a sense of peace. We probably are also very grateful people and are thankful for our home, family and lives. This is why wisdom is the wellspring of an abundant life.