He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good. Proverbs 19:8
I don’t know when this card was written. It appears to have some miles on it, and it probably does, considering it has likely been in and out of India several times. Each time I read this, I smile. It feels like true comfort and encouragement.
Like most women, if not all, I am looking for good. What we consider to be good varies, but I am reassured. By gathering wisdom to myself – and I know just where to find it – and keeping understanding I shall find good. I believe that.
The truth is that by getting wisdom and keeping understanding we will find good whether we believe it or not. God’s Word is true whether we believe it or not.
This is not a complicated proverb to live by, although it may not always be easy. Discipline requires effort. Perfect wisdom is found in the Bible. Understanding it usually involves meditating upon it, thinking about it. When we understand comfortably, we need to hold those truths close to us, and allow ourselves to be affected by wisdom and understanding.
I am comfortable with many things in my life; some feel easy, but my “work” is not done. I still look for good. I have found it in some areas. Someone I love recently called me “Miss Optimistic.” I think it was a veiled compliment, with a little barb – but that is okay too. In some areas I am confident and optimistic but in others I am a wimp. Miss Optimistic steps out. I will always be a work in progress while I am in this skin.
Proverbs 19:8 adds another important thought. The Bible says that if we get wisdom, we love our own soul. Well, oh my; shouldn’t everyone love their own soul? It has been said before that love is a verb. In this verse it definitely is. When we love, we act. It takes effort to love. In this instance the necessary effort is getting wisdom and making the effort to keep the understanding.
Getting wisdom and keeping understanding are 2 parts of this verse that require commitment and responsibility. Two other parts: loving our own soul and getting good are very appealing. We like that part, but the four go-together.
Wisdom and understanding are grouped a number of times in Scripture; they necessarily go together. We must choose; will be use our wisdom toward understanding, or will we take wisdom carelessly as a fool? (A fool who takes wisdom not at all.)
Here are 2 verses that show contrast, though there are others:
Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? Proverbs 17:16
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28
You will find the words wisdom and understanding in the same verses over fifty times. They are certainly strengthened by union, adding good to our lives. And that is what I want for mine. And you?
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S. Lewis