Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 4:8
"Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her"
This proverb is further incentive to walk the path of wisdom. The path of wisdom is not as bombastic as the path of foolishness, but it is worth it. You will be exalted and you will have high value if you choose to walk this path.
This is the Hebrew word salal which means to lift up, to exalt, to prize, to cast up. Clearly the idea in this proverb is that one should lift up wisdom as the sought-after commodity. Wisdom is not something that you hope you stumble across, but instead it is the highest prized thing at each decision point.
If people will not treat their decisions as little things and will not just do what comes easy or natural, they will be fulfilling this verse. At every decision point it becomes easy to settle for what feels right instead of looking hard for the triple-win solution. Don't fall for this. Keep digging, keep thinking, keep talking to others until it is clear what wisdom would do.
How valuable you treat wisdom is how valuable you will become.
This is the Hebrew word rum which means lofty, be lifted high, rise up. In other words, when you lift up wisdom, wisdom will lift you up. There is a payoff for being wise. It only makes sense that when you work hard at doing what brings God glory, what causes others to win, and what brings you a win that God and others will lift you up. This is what Solomon is pointing out.
The opposite is also true, but it does not seem true at the time. If you take the fool's road and go after what you want but it costs other people or uses other people and violates God's standards, then those two groups will bring you down. You may seem like you get ahead for the short term, but long term you are digging your own grave.
Let's talk about how you actually prize wisdom. It means that you take the time before you make a final decision or action and list out all the options that could be done in a given situation. You most likely – with big decisions – will ask for counsel of others; what options and possibilities do they see that you don't see. You will also spend time praying about it, seeking God's face and asking Him to make it clear what you should do. Over a process of time it will become really clear what you should do if you were to be wise. Then you should do it. This process slows decisions down, but your mistakes go down and you begin to build trust in other people's eyes and favor in the eyes of God.
This is the standard Hebrew word for honor – kabed – which means to be heavy, great, glorious, rich. The idea is that the person is substantial and highly valuable and that that value is clearly known.
We, in our culture, have settled for being known instead of being honored. Much of our culture clamors for being famous and not for any contribution they would make but just because they want to be popular. Fame is not honor and is a cheap inadequate substitute for honor. So what if lots of people know you. In fact, to be famous is a prison where you cannot go out without being accosted and followed. But to be honored is to have it be known the significant contribution that you have made through your choices and actions. It is this that Solomon is directing us toward. Push hard to make a significant contribution to the lives of those closest to you and you will be highly valued. Don't strive to be known by people you will never meet. Constantly ask yourself how you can bring about a win for the various relationships in your life while building a win for yourself. When you have your answer, then you have wisdom and your honor is on its way.
This is the Hebrew word habaq which means embrace or fold. This is a word used to express a high level of love and affection. Solomon is saying that you have to begin a love relationship with wisdom. You cannot just occasionally interact with wisdom – its nuances and insights will escape you. Embrace wisdom as you would the perfect woman/man who is offering themselves to you. Begin a long-term relationship with wisdom. It will be well worth it.
I watch as young people are presented with opportunities, and they lack the grid or filter to separate the good opportunities from the bad ones. The good ones come disguised as work in submissive positions, but their upside is huge. The bad ones offer pleasure, power, and ease right away. Please add the wisdom filter and process to your decision making. Does God win here, do others I care about win here, do I win here? This wisdom filter will be your friend if you embrace it.