The Rewards of Wisdom
1My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
3Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.
9Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
10So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD
Or loathe His reproof,
12For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
13How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
14For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
15She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
16Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.
19The LORD by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens.
20By His knowledge the deeps were broken up
And the skies drip with dew.
21My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.
23Then you will walk in your way securely
And your foot will not stumble.
24When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
26For the LORD will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.
27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do it.
28Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,”
When you have it with you.
29Do not devise harm against your neighbor,
While he lives securely beside you.
30Do not contend with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
31Do not envy a man of violence
And do not choose any of his ways.
32For the devious are an abomination to the LORD;
But He is intimate with the upright.
33The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34Though He scoffs at the scoffers,
Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.
35The wise will inherit honor,
But fools display dishonor.
Tough times have a way of separating the “wheat” from the “chaff.” That is, when two people face similar dilemmas, one grows closer to God, bears spiritual fruit, and becomes more peaceful. The other, meanwhile, becomes anxious, bitter in spirit, and full of secret doubts about the Lord’s faithfulness. The difference has to do with how each one responds to hardship.
We all know that hardship is part of life. Becoming a Christian does not change that fact (John 16:33). What shifts is our understanding of God’s sovereignty—nothing touches our lives unless He permits it. The Lord allowed a murderous king to pursue David for years (1 Sam. 23). But the fugitive responded to adversity with faith and called God his stronghold and refuge (Ps. 59:16).
We are confronted with challenges for many reasons. God intends for them to grow our faith, change our perspective, or deepen our compassion. Sometimes believers reach heaven before they understand why they’ve had to endure suffering. But whatever the trial or God’s intention for it, He is available to help us in our affliction (Ps. 46:1). We can turn toward Him for comfort, guidance, and support. Or we can get angry and resentful that we are not being rescued from our shadowy valley (See Ps. 23:4).
When affliction strips away every crutch, one has only the Lord to depend upon. Can you think of a better position to find yourself in than to be undergirded by our faithful and sovereign God? Though some people are destroyed by that kind of situation, others are built into stalwart believers.