We cannot live a good life on our own. Much of who we are is due to our heritage – to a “tradition which has been lived out and tested down the years” (Lucas, 66). What does this mean for those who have come from evil, wicked, daft parents? It means that what we receive and pass on is important; and it is important that we receive and pass on is important, too.
As Brown writes, “… a path can only be formed by the passage of many feet” (46). I would add, with Lucas, that this also takes place “down the years.”
In these verses, it is as if each generation is to arrange their son’s marriage to Wisdom. Each generation helps the next to find who to be attracted to, to commit to, to marry. That is, it is likely that Wisdom is here portrayed as a bride, as this lines up with “the benefits which the ideal wife brings to her husband (31:11-12, 23) and the practice of crowning a bridegroom (Son 3:1)” (Lucas, 66).
If this is an arranged marriage of sorts, the son is called to enter into it fully and unreservedly: Cherish her; treat her well; be united with Her from the heart and you will walk the path of abundant life because of what she bestows.
Here we get the picture that being wise is about union with something – someone – much greater than ourselves. Lady wisdom is greater than any person, but is willing to be a helper to all who are attached to her.
Here, the husband cherishes the bride and all of his benefits are from her; she does not seem to get anything from him, but communion. This is reminiscent of our relationship to Christ who bent down to us, made Himself available and became poor so as to make us rich (see 2 Corinthians 8:9).
As Christians we know that we are to be united to Christ, who is the power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
How will I pursue wisdom today? By leaving the false gods behind and calling on the One true God. By confessing and turning from false wisdom, not found in the Word and in Christ: “The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, And what kind of wisdom do they have?!” (Jeremiah 8:9).
How will I pursue wisdom today? Paradoxically, by making little of my wisdom and celebrating all that the Lord has done and who He is:Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
How can I pass on wisdom today? How can I tread that path for others and hand down what has been my delight? Is there some word of warning I have been neglecting to share? Is there something I shouldn’t say, though I want to?
How can I prize and cherish wisdom?