The entire book of Proverbs is about attaining wisdom. Wisdom is simply skill at living. The Proverbs paint a picture of various people & how they interact with God, his world, and his creatures. Of the types of people mentioned in Proverbs (wise, foolish, simple, prudent, wicked, and scorner) only one lives under God’s blessing: the wise.
Living under God’s blessing is directly related to how people relate to God and others. The wise are held up as the example of the right way to interact with God and our fellow man. The wise show us how to be good stewards of our God-given resources and how to exercise dominion over the earth.
If we look back in scripture, the first blessing given to man was to be fruitful and multiply, to fill and subdue the earth, and to have dominion over all creation and God’s creatures. So it makes sense that the wise man, the one who has God’s blessing, is the one who is tuned into God and interacts with God, his world, and his creatures according to God’s design.
Let’s stop here for just a moment. I really want blessing to mean, “here’s some future promise for your happiness and ease.” But if we stop to think about “blessing” from a biblical perspective, it’s not really about being happy, successful, having what we want, ease, or abundance.
God’s blessing tends to be more of “I have a plan for you in particular and I will equip you to succeed in my plan and provide strength for you to persevere through struggle, sorrow, persecution, and pain as you follow Me,” than, “I will clear your path to unbridled happiness on this side of heaven so that you don’t need to depend upon Me, but can find your hope and happiness in the gifts I give.”
Yes, God’s blessing incorporates God’s desire to benefit people, but not necessarily in the way we might imagine. Maybe his blessing is not for our personal happiness, but more for our eternal good and His glory. (Think about all those “Blessed is he who…” passages in Matthew 5.)
God’s blessing seems to be wrapped up in calling us to a particular task and empowering us with what he knows we’ll need to accomplish it.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be blessed. I want to live under the guidance and protection of an almighty God who has carefully chosen work for me to do in advance (Ephesians 2:10). To me it looks like the way to enter God’s blessing is to pursue wisdom with all I’ve got.
Ephesians 5:15-17 is even more explicit, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Walking in wisdom, then, is tied to understanding the will of God.
So what is the will of God?
Jesus makes his will pretty clear: love God; love others (Matthew 22:36-40 & Mark 12:28-31). Not only that, but also love others as he has loved us (John 13:34). And the hallmark of being his followers? The great identifier of those who obey God’s two greatest commands? How we love one another (John 13:35).
And what of wisdom? Wisdom is “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere” (James 3:17). Not only that, but God delights to give wisdom generously to those who ask (James 1:5).
But, as G. I. Joe would say, “Knowing is only half the battle.”
Knowing the will of God is only the beginning of living under his blessing. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10), but it doesn’t end there. Wisdom takes practice at applying what we know of God and his Word.
So, if I want to be wise, I have to dig into Scripture and practice what I find. Since the mark of a believer is loving others well, I’m going to start digging into the whole what-does-it-look-like-to-love-others-well thing. But its starting to look like it all comes down to doing relationships well.