Read Proverbs 3:7. What is the trap of being wise in one’s own eyes?
To be wise in one’s own eyes will lead to the illusion that one does not need God to be wise. This is a hopeless situation.
There is more hope for a fool than for them (Prov. 26:12, NIV). Again, wisdom is described as a religious commitment. To be wise means to keep God’s commandments (Prov. 3:1), to display
mercy and truth (Prov. 3:3), and to
trust in the LORD(Prov. 3:5). Wisdom implies an intimate relationship with God. Note the repeated reference to the heart (Prov. 3:1, Prov. 3:3, Prov. 3:5), the seat of our personal response to God’s influence. (The heart was already mentioned in Proverbs 2:10 as the place wisdom should enter.)
Read Proverbs 3:13–18. What reward comes with the gift of wisdom?
Wisdom is associated with life and health (Prov. 3:2, Prov. 3:8, Prov. 3:16, Prov. 3:18, Prov. 3:22). One of the most suggestive images is the
tree of life (Prov. 3:18), a promise repeated several times in the book (Prov. 11:30, Prov. 13:12, Prov. 15:4). This metaphor alludes to the Garden of Eden. This promise does not mean that the acquisition of wisdom will provide eternal life; instead, the idea is that the quality of life with God, which our first parents enjoyed in Eden, can to some measure be recovered. When we live with God, we get some inkling, some hints, of Eden; even better, we learn to hope in the promised recovery of this lost kingdom (see Dan. 7:18).
Read Proverbs 3:19-20. Why is the need for wisdom so vital?
The sudden reference to the Creation story seems to be out of place in this context. Yet the use of wisdom at Creation reinforces the argument of verse 18, which associates wisdom with the tree of life. If God used wisdom to create the heavens and earth, wisdom is not a trivial matter. The scope of wisdom is cosmic, going beyond the limits of our earthly existence. Wisdom concerns our eternal life as well. This lesson is implied in the reference to the tree of life, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. This perspective is also contained in the promise that concludes our passage:
The wise shall inherit glory (Prov. 3:35).