This whole section of this chapter (Vs. 13-26) is about the blessings we receive from having wisdom. It’s amazing to think that blessings could be received from obtaining something that is free. At least in the sense that you can’t buy it with money. Just take a look at the blessings that have been discussed in the past few verses. Long life, riches, honor, peaceful pathways…no small feat.
But how can wisdom make such promises? How can it be that obtaining something as intangible as wisdom can hold the key to success in this life? This is where I like the notes in the NET bible (an amazing Bible study tool, btw).
When it comes to this world, wisdom is at the very foundation of its existence. And since this world is built on the foundation of wisdom, wisdom – therefore – is necessary to succeed.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth;
he established the heavens by understanding.
20 By his knowledge the primordial sea was broken open,
and the clouds drip down dew.
Think of it this way. 2 + 2 = 4. Right? So, for all math, we have this foundation that when you add those two numbers together the result will be the same. Therefore to succeed in math, you must know the principles of addition and subtraction, then multiplication and division. 2 x 2 = 4. 4 divided by 2 is 2. 2 goes into four 2 times. Then you can start adding more complex mathematical principles to what you know about that.
But, what if we just decided that 2 + 2 = cat. And that when we multiply 2 x 2 it equals hexagon. 2 divided by hexagon equals Mr. Rogers and 2 minus 2 equals Michigan. Where do you go from there? How do you learn to do long division with that? Let alone trying to think about how we might tackle Algebra.
We would never think about messing with the foundation of arithmetic, if for no other reason than we’re too in love with our bank accounts. And yet, we try to succeed in a world based on wisdom without trying to pursue it. When God laid the foundation of this earth, He did so on wisdom. If we hope to succeed in this life, it will only be as far as we are able to gain understanding. Just as our success in geometry is based on our success in algebra which is based on our success in the basics, our success in life is based on the fundamentals of wisdom.
The more we understand wisdom, the greater the depth with which we will encounter the world. Algebra looks like scribbles to most first graders, but not to a calculus student. The greater challenges in life are the same. The more understanding we have gained, the more we will be able to see as if from above – a student who has mastered the lower levels. When our understanding is small, it will always seem as though we are looking up – straining our neck just to try and figure out what in the world is going on up there.
There is one more point I would like the make, and that is along the lines of truth. Truth has become more and more vague in the past few decades (yes I understand that truth is the same as it has always been). The more we mess with what is true, the more difficult it will be to succeed in this life. It won’t just be difficult to succeed, but it will be difficult to define success. We must be careful not to try to do away with truth simply because it is inconvenient. There are whole books and sections of books dedicated to this topic, so I will leave it at that for now.