Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who gains competence.
“Happy” – How often are we truly happy? According to the overall message of Proverbs, an extended period of unhappiness could be the result of an unwise lifestyle. If you find that you are unhappy, reflect on what the king tells his sons.
Here are three distinct paths that take the traveling son to the same, unhappy place.
The first is the path of the one who is wise in his own eyes (Prov. 3:7). The person taking this avenue relies on his resources but lives in an angry disappointment in their insufficiency. The remedy for self-reliance is honoring God through giving (Prov. 3:5-6). Honoring God by giving Him a portion of one’s possessions shows the gratitude he has toward the Giver for the gift (Prov. 3:9). The one who honors God cannot dishonor His gifts. This man will be esteemed by God and will have more than he needs (Prov. 3:10). Find a creative new way to give in Jesus’ name and get on the path of gratitude.
Another way of the unhappy fool is the rocky road of insubordination (Prov. 3:11). The Father’s discipline comes from a love-motivation that wants nothing more than the best for his sons. The son who bows his back to inconvenient and sometimes painful life-situations never hears the beautiful music the Father orchestrates from the seemingly isolated, sharp notes. This road is traveled by people who are the self-proclaimed “victims” of life’s potholes. They rarely see God’s redemptive hand in their struggles and defeats. Submission to a Sovereign Ruler is the cure for insubordination (Prov. 3:6a; 12b). The submissive son finds a Father waiting to treat Him favorably (Prov. 3:12).
A final thoroughfare of an unhappy man is the shadowy trail of a hardened-heart. Disappointment, hurt feelings, and envy can quench the light of the brightest of hearts. Everyone has their issues that can easily justify their dark feelings. These evil emotions are hidden away, but they grow and manifest themselves at unpredictable times and places. They cause penetrating damage to the people, families and churches the person loves the most. The exit ramp from this hardened highway is the heart that chisels covenantal love and faithfulness into its stony exterior (Prov. 3:3). These godly attributes melt a man’s hard heart giving him grace and good favor in the eyes of God and men (Prov. 3:4).
This Christmas, let us pursue wisdom personified – Jesus Christ – the only One who can truly satisfy.
The translation and some of the interpretation in this blog is in:
Longman III, Tremper (2006-06-01). Proverbs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) (p. 136). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.