"Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and call understanding your intimate friend"
Notice that there are two separate items that a person needs to draw close to in this proverb – both wisdom and understanding.
Wisdom is the ability to choose the triple-win choice and to take the triple-win action: the one by which God is glorified, others are benefited, and you are profited. All three sighting mechanisms must be lined up, not just one or two.
Understanding is the connection between things. What happens to others if I do this? What happens in the future if I do this? What do others do if I do this? What happens in me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically if I do this?
Notice that the next proverb ties this need for wisdom and understanding to keeping a young man from pre-marital and extra-marital sexual activity. When one is under the pull and possibility of sexual involvement, one does not consider wisdom and understanding. It is imperative that one has thought through these types of scenarios before they come up. What will you do? How will you respond? How will you ensure that you do not go down that road? Why shouldn't you go down that road?
Too often, in our age, people just feel that if it is available then it is okay or they had no choice. No, they had a choice way before they got in that situation. They needed to embrace wisdom and understanding at a much earlier place like they want to embrace the illicit love now.
It is usually too late to think clearly when one is faced with the pull of temptation or with a willing paramour right in front of you. So the time to think about what you will do is now. The time to decide that you will not do this is now, not then.
This is the time to realize that there are permanent incurable diseases that come from this. That one of the reasons for infertility in women is premarital involvement and its disease involvements. That one will forever remember these involvements and they will have echoes into your future. That do you really want to be comparing your future spouse with this person? Do you really want this person to program how you will respond to intimacy? Those deep emotional wounds come from implicit promises that are not kept. That spiritual agreements and power are transferred in the act of intimacy; is this really the person that you want that to take place with? That lust tasted is hard, if not impossible, to satisfy and that ultimate sexual satisfaction does not come on the road of illicit romance and involvement. That this is a selfish act and will strengthen selfishness, not love, in both parties.
your sister... intimate friend
Solomon tells the young man to cling to wisdom and understanding. There is a suggestion that Solomon is saying something very unusual and involving a thought rhyme with the ideas that are coming. He may be saying, by using sister and intimate friend as the relationship connections, that he is encouraging an affair with wisdom and understanding rather than with this illicit individual. Solomon used very similar wording in the Song of Solomon 4:9,10 to describe his love for his fiancée.
It is entirely possible that Solomon is saying that before you get married, and even afterward, have an affair with wisdom and understanding. Make these two qualities of a wise life the means of deep satisfaction and pleasure. Don't try and find pleasure and satisfaction in the arms of a person who is not your lawful spouse. Find those pleasures in wisdom and understanding.
It is entirely consistent for Solomon to see – in wisdom and understanding – an endless source of joy, pleasure, and satisfaction. It is almost like he is saying to play a chess game with yourself about what happens if you do this and all the things that flow from that? And what happens if you do this and all the things that flow from that? Think through the various paths that your life can take. Be so enraptured with the possibilities and actions of wisdom that you are too busy to suck into the temporary pleasure of lust.
In other words, have your affair with wisdom and understanding rather than one with some loose individual who will destroy and disappoint. Wisdom and understanding do not disappoint but allow you to build a great life. Get real close with them.
Think through your life from all the various angles. Before you actually make a decision, think about it and look at all sides. Don't act impulsively or because of peer pressure. Will this decision still seem like a good one twenty years from now? Does this action actually move me towards my goals or away from it?
Since I have only girls in my home, let me say a word specifically to young women. I cannot tell you how many women have derailed their noble gifts and aspirations because they wanted to please a special boyfriend. Do not let a young man sidetrack what you know God is calling you to. The pressure of the moment and the "need" to have him like you should not be enough to throw away your future. Be strong. Do not give in. Even if the moment is passionate, do not sell yourself cheaply. If he is willing to make a permanent commitment to you through marriage, then you will think about whether he is the one and whether you are ready for that commitment and you will have other men you trust examine him also so that you are not fooled by a smooth talker. Sexual fulfillment requires a down payment upfront of lifetime commitment and examination by your physical and spiritual family. Anything less is a fool's choice.
Don't end up pregnant, diseased, or brokenhearted. Demand the down payment in full before any sexual involvement: lifetime commitment called marriage and examination by your physical and spiritual family.