“My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” — Proverbs 3:21-26
Life, security, and confidence: I think every advertisement is designed to appeal to your underlying need for one of these three things. Everyone wants to live longer, to feel safer tomorrow than they do today, and to project more self-esteem. The world knows these desires are like an unstoppable force.
Just think about the last few ads you’ve watched. I bet one of them was about a new medication that will make you live longer or feel better (as long as it doesn’t kill you – watch those side effects!). Another one was likely a financial institution persuading you to use their credit card or invest with them so that your future will be safer. Last, another ad was probably telling you that if you buy a certain car or shirt or get a certain degree that you will feel better about yourself!
Wisdom Offers You More
The lie you are tempted to believe is that this world offers real answers to these most basic needs. Even if a medication can prolong your life a little longer, death still awaits. Even if your financial plan is impeccable, your money can never be completely secure. And, even if a new flashy sports car makes you feel better about yourself, that feeling will fade.
Wisdom offers you more. God’s desire is that you may have life to the fullest extent possible. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). This life is found in following Him. He is the good shepherd. As David sang, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalm 23:1-2).
The father speaking here in these verses in Proverbs is communicating the heart of God for you. “My son, if you listen to me, you will have what you really want. You will have life, security, and confidence. You will have what this world can never give you.”
This is Wisdom’s offer. Firstly, if you keep wisdom and discretion in view, they will be life for your soul. Wisdom is living skillfully in obedience to God’s word, fearing the Lord. Discretion is good judgment, discerning your way. Walk each day in this way, and you will find life.
Secondly, if you keep wisdom and discretion in view, you will find security. You will not stumble as you walk. Walking, here, is an image of your daily life. No doubt, there are many roots and rocks on the path of life that could trip you up. The promise is that if you keep God’s wisdom, these stumbling blocks will not snag your foot.
Also, you will sleep in peace and not fear disaster. If your heart trusts wholly in God’s word and you live your life according to his word, you will be able to rest well. Jesus, the very wisdom of God, slept in the storm (Matthew 8:23-27), and he connected the disciples’ lack of faith to their fear. The wicked are those who fear sudden disasters and ruin, not those who trust in the Lord.
Thirdly, you will have confidence in your security. You will be confident because the LORD himself will be with you and keep you. If the Lord keeps you and is with you, what do you have to fear? God backs up his word. If you obey him and live according to his wisdom, He will be with you. Obedience to God’s word leads to an ever-increasing experience of the presence and power of God.
Christ Fulfills Wisdom’s Offer
In Christ, the offer of life, security, and confidence is fulfilled. By faith in Christ, you receive eternal life (Ephesians 2:8-9), your redemption is secure through his blood (Hebrews 9:12), and you confidently face the future in the security of his love (1 John 4:17-18). Yet, the expectation of Spirit-filled obedience still stands. God’s grace not only brings you salvation, but it also trains you for righteousness. God’s grace teaches you to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
How much more, then, should you turn from the world’s false advertising and listen to the Father’s wisdom? The world can never give you the life, security, and confidence you are looking for. You will only find peace by trusting and obeying Jesus Christ.