Summary: Wisdom endows its seekers and their life with true wealth (CIT). In this passage the beauty and grace of wisdom are set forth with the understanding that it can never be achieved without the fear of the Lord.
PROVERBS 8: 12-21
WISDOM BRINGS TRUE SUCCESS
Having just stated that the worth of wisdom's instruction and knowledge is more valuable than all monetary achievements (8:10-11), Solomon now develops the proof. Wisdom endows its seekers and their life with true wealth (CIT). In this passage the beauty and grace of wisdom are set forth with the understanding that it can never be achieved without the fear of the Lord.
Wherever the instructions of wisdom are understood and practiced, a revolution of progress comes about be it in people, churches, businesses, schools or governments. Wisdom identifies herself with insight, counsel and power and claims the greatest achievements for those who love her. [According to Colossians 2:3, Jesus is not only the source of all wisdom, but the very essence of wisdom.]
I. WISDOM'S COMPANIONS, 12-14.
II. LEADING AND DECIDING RIGHTLY, 15-16.
III. WISDOM'S MOTIVATION, 17.
IV. WISDOM'S CHOICE REWARDS, 18-21.
Verse 12 begins to tell us the friendship that God's wisdom helps us establish. "I, wisdom dwell with prudence and I find knowledge and discretion."
How wonderful wisdom is. It spark life into other virtues. If a person has wisdom he will also have prudence (sensibleness, good sense), knowledge, and discretion. Wisdom inhabits prudence. It has settled down and taken up residence with it. Prudence is the ability to discriminate between truth and error. It is the capacity to escape the wiles or traps of life. Jesus certainly possessed it. Prudence restrained Him from hasty confidence (Jn. 2:23-24), removed Him from premature danger (Mt. 12:14-16, Jn. 6:15) and kept Him from needless offense (Mt. 17:27).
Discretion denotes well-considered carefully thought out designs, plans and conclusions. It is a reservation of speech matched with responsible decisions and actions. This intellectual power is granted by wisdom. Prudence and discretion are the skills needed to direct the best way to its highest end. Prudence, knowledge and discretion are bestowed and developed by wisdom.
Verse 13 teaches us again that to fear God consists of devotion to Him and a dread of sin. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate."
Wisdom dwells with prudence and discretion but it cannot dwell with evil. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it must come before all else (1:7). We have the fear of the Lord defined for us here.
Hating evil is what corresponds to the fear of the Lord. This indicates hating that which puffs up or pride [whose essence is found in its middle letter: I] and that which is high or haughty or arrogant. These sins of attitude or conduct (walk) also demonstrate themselves by the mouth or in conversation.
The virtue of virtues is humility therefore wisdom hates all that is opposed to it. Was not our Savior the most humble and a servant to all? Therefore wisdom hates all that is opposed to humility. [Shrewd and clever persons are prone to "pride and arrogance." Pride turns all values upside down, as "perverse" literally means (2:14). Wisdom's deepest goal is to get us to trust God. Self-trust is the constant target of her hatred, because it is the opposite of fearing God (see 1:7).]
Men most often fear God because of the wrath that is to come at the end of the age. They know the are guilty and deserve punishment. Thus their present life is embittered (often subconsciously) by fear of wrath in the next.
To fear retribution is not the same thing as hating sin. For most who fear retribution seek sin with their whole heart. Instead of hating sin, they regret that God hates it. Relaxing this fear of God's retribution is the driving force in false religions.
In Christ false fears can be healed. It is when sin is repented of and forgiven that a sinner can hate it (various persons would simply dismiss it). He then is on God's side-- for how can two walk together unless they agree? Instead of hating God for His holiness, the forgiven man now loathes evil, even that in his own heart, and longingly looks for the day when all things will be made new. Such is the blessed fruit of pardon when it comes to a sinner through the blood of Christ.
Verse 14 confesses wisdom's competence which flows from the fear of God. "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine."
Wisdom enables people to give wise counsel with sound judgment and to have understanding (insight) which promotes the enabling and valor to do right. ["Counsel" is the ability to make decisions and shape plans that will have beneficial outcomes for all involved. "Sound wisdom" is strategy that really works and enjoys lasting success (3:21). [Hubbard, David. The Preacher's Com, Vol 15: Proverbs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1989, S. 122]