She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
There is a tree of life. You found it. Success and happiness are its fruit, and you can have it forever. Men search vainly for fulfillment and prosperity, but both are offered to you today. Are you really living? These words are to you from God and the wisest king ever.
True wisdom is the woman here, shown by the feminine pronouns she, her, and her. You finally found her. She has been calling for you (Pr 1:20-23; 8:1-4; 9:1-6). She has long life in her right hand and riches and honor in her left (Pr 3:16). Her ways are pleasure and peace (Pr 3:17). Nothing in the world can be compared to her (Pr 3:13-15). Love her!
Lady Wisdom offers you life and happiness. She is the tree of life. Fruit trees yield fruit for taste and short refreshment, but her fruit is a lifetime of pleasure and peace. She offers you a safe, successful, and satisfying life. She offers you contentment, happiness, and pleasure. She plans these things for you to the fullest degree. Hold her! Never let her go!
All men want life and happiness, but most look in the wrong places. The world cannot provide them, for it destroys life and happiness. Look at the lives of the so-called rich and famous – they exceed the averages in depression, dysfunction, drunkenness, drugs, divorce, and early death, just as God promised (Pr 2:22; 4:19; 5:22-23; 13:15; 22:5; etc.).
Look at them! They think two women in bed is a marriage and two men with a baby is a family. They believe more debt, public or private, will cure anything. They teach a family reunion is visiting baboons at a zoo. They richly pay shrinks for no profit. They desert and swap spouses, never finding love or happiness. They are hopelessly dysfunctional.
They chase entertainment, recreation, education, business success, sexual liberty, material possessions, a leisurely lifestyle, a perfect spouse, or a fit body, but these things do not make a prosperous and happy life. Only wisdom can give you the good life, and only then can you realize the real benefits of food, friends, love, marriage, sex, possessions, etc.
Look at them! They write and sing about love e.g. Elton John and Daniel. They think the greatest love of all is self-love – confessing their narcissism and creating the most selfish generation. They fear everything; they take responsibility for nothing; and they believe anything, except the truth. They have confounded happy living. You need the tree of life.
You think sex will make you happy? Wisdom owns sexual happiness. The world pursues this pleasure any way they can with whomever, but God invented every detail of it. As the wise Designer, He gave rules for its maximum fulfillment. Solomon experimented with 1000 women and wrote his inspired analysis in Proverbs. The world has no clue.
They write sex manuals, ignore love or commitment, sing about it, murder unwanted babies, hire surrogates, try same-sex combos, expose it in movies and websites, promote it in elementary school, offer doctoral degrees in it, and chase the elusive elixir any way they can imagine. But God reserves its real pleasure for those with the tree of life.
The world fulfills Solomon’s warning, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pr 14:12). And if you missed it, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pr 16:25). They assume they are right, but they are heading to death. They do not have a tree of life.
Solomon personified wisdom as a desirable woman in several early sections of Proverbs (Pr 1:20-33; 2:4; 3:13-18; 4:5-13; 8:1-36; 9:1-12). In this section, he has taught that she is more precious than rubies and incomparable to anything in life (Pr 3:15), she brings long life with riches and honor (Pr 3:16), and her ways are pleasant and full of peace (Pr 3:17).
There was a tree of life in Eden, which was denied to your rebellious first parents by cherubims and a flaming sword (Gen 3:24). And there is a tree of life in heaven, which bears a unique fruit each month of the year, and which has leaves for the healing of the nations (Rev 2:7; 22:2,14). Therefore, the metaphor of a tree of life is powerful indeed.
Here it pictures the source of a prosperous and successful life. By learning wisdom and obtaining understanding, a man has the basis for a good and happy life in his possession. A tree of life bears fruit for a wonderful life. Every man that seeks and obtains wisdom has found a metaphorical tree of life. He may freely take its fruit and live the good life.
For every person laying hold of wisdom and retaining her, she is a tree of life to them, providing the source and means for success and happiness, as the proverb states. Sex or any other lawful goal or pleasure of life is only satisfying when done by the rules of wisdom. It is the way to maximize life in every way for God, others, and yourself.
You have found the tree of life. You have met Lady Wisdom. Life and happiness are before you. But you must lay hold of her – you must dive into God’s word and learn the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. As you grow in wisdom, you must retain what you learn, because the world, the devil, and your flesh will try to rip it away.
What is wisdom? It is fearing and loving God and keeping His commandments. The great God of the Bible is the Source and End of all things, and He offers perfect knowledge and understanding for those who will believe and obey His inspired scriptures. Wisdom is the power of right judgment for all life’s decisions, learned from trusting Him and His Word.
The blessings upon such a man are great in two ways – he makes right choices in life and reaps the wonderful results, and God supernaturally blesses him for his obedience. From beginning to end, the Bible speaks of the abundant life of such a man (Deut 32:46-47; Josh 1:7-9; Ps 1:1-3; 112:1-3; 128:1-6; 144:11-15; John 10:10; Heb 11:6; Jas 1:25).
David wrote, and Peter copied, “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (Ps 34:11-16; I Pet 3:10-12).
Wisdom is not only the means for success and happiness in this life, but in the next life as well. The man who lays hold of wisdom and retains her finds assurance and evidence of eternal life (Matt 7:21-23; Acts 10:34-35; II Pet 1:5-11). The greatest life and happiness of all are reserved in heaven for those who obey the Lord Jesus Christ (Ps 16:11).
A tree of life is before you. Live successfully and happily, now and forever. The choice is yours. Your future begins today. Take God’s inspired and preserved Bible, and humble yourself before every word. Fall before Jesus Christ, of Whom it testifies, and lay hold of eternal life (I Tim 6:12). Begin prospering today (Pr 8:1-21; 9:1-12). God bless you.