She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
What woman is more precious than rubies? The virtuous woman (Pr 31:10)? Yes, but not in this context. Is there any woman incomparably more valuable than all things you could desire? No. Is this then a personification of success, health, happiness, wealth, family, a college degree, and/or a vacation home? No. This woman is Lady Wisdom (Pr 3:13-15).
Here is one of the Bible’s most extreme and superlative statements. There is some thing personified as a woman that exceeds the rare and precious character of rubies. And this thing surpasses any thing else you could dream about as being desirable or necessary to your success and happiness. Wisdom and understanding are that important (Pr 3:13-15)!
Men spend great efforts and much time pursuing things that are far inferior to wisdom. They chase education, physical fitness, career plans, estate building, a pretty wife, and other goals with much zeal and costly investments of various kinds. But these other things that men desire, even added together and combined, are less valuable than wisdom.
It is an axiom of human nature that you love yourself. Since you do care about your own peace, pleasure, prosperity, and reputation, here in this proverb is the simplest and most dramatic change you can make in your life to achieve your goals – learn wisdom and live your life by it. Why will you deprive yourself of real success by chasing anything else?
Why is wisdom so important? Because it brings long life, riches, and honor (Pr 3:16); it brings pleasantness and peace (Pr 3:17); and it brings life and happiness (Pr 3:18). You cannot even dream of anything that can provide all these blessings. And yet these are the certain advantages and rewards given to those that find wisdom (Pr 3:13-18).
No wonder David told Solomon, “Get wisdom, get understanding – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Pr 4:5-7). If David, the man after God’s own heart, told his son that wisdom was that important, it should be important to you also. What an exhortation! Did you read it? Get wisdom!
What is wisdom? It is the power of right judgment, the ability to please God and men in all situations. It is based on a deep and abiding fear of the LORD Jehovah, a hatred for all sin and evil, active faith that God is and rewards, and knowledge of the precious details of His precious word (Pr 1:7; 8:13; 9:10; 22:17-21; Job 28:28; Ps 119:128; Heb 11:6).
How do you get it? By fearing God as the First Cause and Last End of all things in the universe (Pr 16:4; Ps 14:1)! By trembling in humility and repentance before God and the Bible (Is 66:1-2; II Tim 3:16-17)! By rejecting any opinion of any man that contradicts the Bible (Ps 119:98-100; Is 8:20; I Tim 6:3-5,20)! By soberly listening to the man of God when he preaches God’s truth to you (Luke 8:11-18; Jas 1:21-25)! Wisdom is easy!
Forget education or worldly wisdom (I Cor 1:19-20; 2:6-9; 3:19-20). Forget wealth or professional success (Pr 3:14; 23:4-5; Ps 39:6; I Tim 6:6-10). Forget physical strength or recreation (Ps 90:10-12; Eccl 10:10; 12:1-7; I Tim 4:8). These things are vanity and vexation of spirit – they get you nowhere with God or man – they are empty and painful. Rejoice in knowing God and His character (Jer 9:23-24). That is wisdom and pleasure!