The last few verses of this proverb return to the personal — to the practical application of what it means to have wisdom. By contrast, the intellectual knowledge about wisdom’s preexistence, about wisdom’s presence at Creation, is certainly deep. But in the Bible, truth must always at some point come down to the human level and how we respond to what we have been given in Jesus.
Read Proverbs 8:32-36. What life-and-death message is given here?
The Hebrew word translated as
blessed (NKJV) means
happy (see RSV). In this passage the word
blessed is attached to two propositions. The first one describes an action:
Blessed are those who keep my ways (Proverbs 8:32, NKJV). The same language is used in Psalm 119:1-2, in regard to the law:
Blessed are the undefiled . . . who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies (NKJV).
The second one describes an attitude:
Blessed is the man who listens to me (Proverbs 8:34, NKJV). In both cases the requirement implies a continuous effort. It is not enough to have discovered the right way; we have to
keep it. It is not enough to hear the word of God; we have to
watch daily and follow what we know. As Jesus put it:
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28, NKJV).
Is this the happiness desirable which is to be found in the path of disobedience and transgression of physical and moral law? Christ’s life points out the true source of happiness and how it is to be attained. . . . If they would be happy indeed, they should cheerfully seek to be found at the post of duty, doing the work which devolves upon them with fidelity, conforming their hearts and lives to the perfect pattern. — Ellen G. White, My Life Today, p. 162.
Happiness can be an elusive thing; the more we strive for it, the harder it seems for us to attain it. Why should faithfulness to God, as opposed to the pursuit of happiness, be our first priority? Besides, which is more likely to produce happiness (and why): seeking it, or seeking first the kingdom of God?