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Proverbs (Part 033) - Pro 3:16-18

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16. Pro 3:16 - "Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour."

A. Solomon continues giving the reasons why the man that finds wisdom and gets understanding is happy (blessed) (Pro 3:13).
B. Wisdom has both her hands full with blessings that she is ready to give to those who seek her and keep her ways.

C. Length of days is in her right hand;
i. The first of wisdom's blessings is length of days.
ii. Long life comes as a result of remembering God's law and keeping His commandments (Pro 3:2).
iii. Length of days is the more important of the two blessings that wisdom possesses.
a. We know this for two reasons.
b. First of all, it is mentioned firstly in v.16.
c. Secondly, it is in wisdom's right hand.
(i) The right hand is a symbol of power (Psa 20:6) and authority (1Pe 3:22).
(ii) The right hand is a symbol of God's grace and mercy (Mat 25:33-34).
(iii) The right hand clearly has preeminence over the left hand in scripture (Ecc 10:2).

D. and in her left hand riches and honour.
i. Riches and honour would seem to many to be a greater blessing than long life.
ii. But the word order and the fact that riches and honour are found in the left hand indicate that they are inferior to long life.
iii. Nevertheless, riches and honour are blessings from God (1Ch 29:12).
iv. He bestows them on the faithful (2Ch 17:3-6) who seek wisdom (Pro 8:18).

17. Pro 3:17 - "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."

A. Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
i. This is the only place in the Bible where the word pleasantness is found.
ii. Pleasantness n. - The quality of being pleasant (in various senses: see the adj.).
iii. Pleasant adj. - 1. Having the quality of giving pleasure; originally synonymous with pleasing, but now used more vaguely: Agreeable to the mind, feelings, or senses; such as one likes.
iv. Therefore, the ways of wisdom are pleasurable, pleasing, agreeable, and likeable.
v. In other words, finding wisdom and getting understanding (Pro 3:13), will bring happiness to one's life.
vi. When knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul (Pro 2:10), thy life shall be pleasant (Pro 2:11, 20-21).
vii. When brethren seek wisdom and are in unity, our church will be pleasant as well (Psa 133:1).

B. And all her paths are peace.
i. All of wisdom's paths are peace.
ii. If a course of action in your life is not leading to peace, chances are that that path you have chosen is not a wise path.
iii. Peace n. - I. 1. a. Freedom from, or cessation of, war or hostilities; that condition of a nation or community in which it is not at war with another.
iv. If you are constantly fighting battles with people (spouse, children, parents, bosses, coworkers, teachers, government, neighbors, etc.), then you are not seeking wisdom.
v. If we work righteousness by living wisely, we will have peaceful lives (Isa 32:17-18).
vi. We should try our best to live peaceably with all men (Rom 12:18).
vii. Seeking wisdom from the word of God will facilitate that.

18. Pro 3:18 - "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her."

A. She is a tree of life
i. Wisdom is the source of life.
a. Jesus, the wisdom of God (1Co 1:24), came that His sheep may have life and have it more abundantly (Joh 10:10).
b. Life n. - I. The condition or attribute of living or being alive; animate existence. Opposed to death. 1. a. Primarily, the condition, quality, or fact of being a living person or animal. d. Animate existence viewed as dependent on sustenance or favourable physical conditions. (For necessary of life, staff of life, see those words.) Hence, that which is necessary to sustain life; a livelihood, one's living. 5. a. The cause or source of living; the vivifying or animating principle; he who or that which makes or keeps a thing alive (in various senses); ‘soul’; ‘essence’. Hence (poet. nonce-use) = ‘life-blood’.
c. Food which comes from natural trees is for the maintenance of man's physical life (Deut 20:19).
d. Wisdom that comes from Christ is for the maintenance of man's spiritual life (Ecc 7:12; Pro 4:22).
ii. The "tree of life" in Pro 3:18 is a reference to the tree of life that God placed in the garden of Eden along side the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9).
a. The fruit of the tree of life had the ability to cause Adam and Eve to physically live forever if eaten (Gen 3:22).
b. There was apparently something contained in that fruit which stopped and reversed the aging and degenerative process which ends in death (Rev 22:2).
c. The Lord barred Adam and Eve from the tree of life to prevent them from living forever (Gen 3:24).
d. Those that partake of Christ, the wisdom of God (1Co 1:24), have eternal life (Joh 6:51, 54).
e. Those that overcome this world by faithfully keeping God's commandments will be given access to the tree of life in heaven (Rev 2:7; Rev 22:14).
f. We have access to a foretaste of that tree of life when we embrace wisdom through the word of God.

B. to them that lay hold upon her:
i. Wisdom is only a tree of life to us if we lay hold upon her (Pro 4:13).
ii. Fast adv. - 1. a. In a fast manner, so as not to be moved or shaken; lit. and fig.; firmly, fixedly. Often with stand, sit, stick, etc. 2. a. With firm grasp, attachment, or adhesion; so as not to permit of escape or detachment; tightly, securely. Often with bind, hold, etc. lit. and fig. See also hold v.
iii. Hold v. - 1. a. To keep watch over, keep in charge, herd, ‘keep’ (sheep, etc.); to rule (men). Only in OE. and early ME. Obs. 2. a. To keep from getting away; to keep fast, grasp.
iv. We must hold fast the faithful word as we have been taught (Tit 1:9; 2Ti 1:13).

C. and happy is every one that retaineth her.
i. We are blessed (happy) when we retain wisdom.
ii. Retain v. - 1. a. To restrain; to hold back, check, or stop; to prevent or hinder. Obs. c. To keep in custody or under control; to prevent from departing, issuing, or separating; to hold fixed in some place or position.
iii. We will not be blessed if we let it go.
iv. We must buy the truth and sell it not (Pro 23:23).
v. If we retain God's words, we shall live (Pro 4:4).