Forsake Not Wisdom
Brian D. Dykstra, Teacher at Hope PR Christian School, Walker, MI
Proverbs 4:6: “Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.”
In Proverbs four, Solomon relates to us the instruction his father David gave him. David gave Solomon good doctrine and instruction in God’s law. David continued to show Solomon the great value of wisdom by telling his son to keep his words in his heart.
In verse six, David speaks to Solomon as though Solomon could have a personal relationship with wisdom. David presents wisdom to Solomon as a woman who would provide great benefits in his life by keeping her close at hand observing her instruction.
Again, this is not biographical, background information on David and Solomon. We do not study Proverbs to obtain a better understanding of these two important characters in the history of Israel. We are not probing their personalities to see “what made them tick.” The book of Proverbs is God’s Word to us to instruct us on how to make our way in this fallen world.
Now that we have reached chapter four in Proverbs, we can notice the repetitive nature of the instruction God gives His children. We have been told several times already about the importance of listening to God’s Word. We have been told in several different ways about the necessity of wisdom and that we should cleave to her as though our lives depend on it.
Repetition is a scriptural method of teaching. God gave the law to Israel in Sinai. Later Moses repeated it to them before his death. When we read the Old Testament prophets, we notice that much of what they said was a warning about idolatry, its terrible consequences and the blessings awaiting those who turned from such sin. We should not be surprised that God teaches us the same lessons over and over in our lives. God’s instruction is necessarily repetitive.
God gives us two commands in this verse which are then followed by two benefits for doing as we are told.
God commands us not to forsake this woman, wisdom. It is assumed that we have a relationship with wisdom already. One cannot forsake another if there does not exist a relationship. We cannot forsake complete strangers. We know wisdom. Those who grow up in the sphere of the covenant and were blessed with dedicated godly parents were taught God’s wisdom from the time we were very young. This lifetime of instruction should infuse us with an appreciation of how good wisdom is. We can see the horrible results in modern society of walking in the foolish way of sin. Countless families and lives are being ruined every day and society suffers for it, although they will never admit the root cause of such suffering: living in the foolishness of one’s own wicked ways. They have forsaken God’s wisdom.
We must not renounce what we have been taught or turn away from it. There are many times in life when going against what God says might seem to benefit us. We are tempted to take advantage of one another. We could seek ourselves first. Forsaking Jehovah’s ways appeals to our sinful flesh. Just for once, why can’t I just cast off the bindings of God’s penetrating law, which covers every aspect of my life, so that I can live a little and have a good time just like everyone else. Why must I live my life in this narrow, fusty, dull-grey fashion? Why can’t I just cut loose and live a little for once?
Why not forsake wisdom? God says wisdom will preserve us. Shepherds would preserve and keep their sheep by building a sheepcote, a hedge where the sheep would be safe through the night. Wisdom guards and protects us just as though we are surrounded by a thorny hedge through which the wolves cannot pass. Wisdom keeps her eye on us. She will not allow us the freedom to experience the liberty of spending the night outside the hedge where the wolves of sin wait for prey. Wisdom protects us from the effects of our own fallen, depraved nature so we do not lose the consciousness of our covenant life with God.
We must love wisdom. We must have a deeper affection for wisdom than just a casual friendship. We must find wisdom attractive because we admire her. We see her value. We recognize what she does for us and what our lives would be without her. She is the only one for us. It is the love Abraham had for Isaac, the only son of the promise he had. It is Isaac’s love for Rebecca, his only wife.
Wisdom will keep us. With both of the results given in this verse, the word “shall” is used. This is the AV’s way of letting us know that this is a guarantee. It is a definite effect. There is no doubt but that wisdom will preserve and keep us. Wisdom does not keep us the way wardens keep violent prisoners locked in prison. She will watch over us because she truly cares about us and seeks to maintain our spiritual lives. She will keep us because she values us.
May God give us the spiritual eyes we need not to forsake wisdom but to love her faithfully. God’s wisdom in Jesus Christ will preserve and keep us from the spiritual destruction which comes from joining the world in the way of sin.