Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
Wisdom is only acquired by dedicated effort. And few men have the desire or make the effort to pursue and acquire it. So the Preacher commended the studious man or woman.
Most men will live and breathe and die in ignorant folly, even those who were offered wisdom plainly. And their lives and those of their children will bear the deserved pain.
The next verse confirms this distinction among men, for fools have no delight in learning; they are totally occupied with their own thoughts and fantasies (Pr 18:2; 17:16).
Dear reader, would the Author and writer of this proverb commend your desire and efforts for acquiring wisdom? Would God and Solomon praise your pursuit of learning?
When a man desires wisdom, he must make sacrifices. He will avoid distractions that take time and misdirect his soul. He will separate from friends and pleasures that do not serve the great goal. He will reject the popular ambitions of riches, education, recreation, or bodily exercise. His life may be lonely. Hopefully, in a church of sincere saints, he will find a few choosing the same course (Luke 8:14; I Cor 9:24-26; I John 2:15-17).
Like the man of God, he must limit obligations in this life (II Tim 2:4; I Tim 6:6-12). For this pursuit will weary his already-wearied flesh (Eccl 12:12). And the ignorant ravings of the world are an influence he must avoid (Pr 9:6; 13:20; I Cor 15:33; II Cor 6:14-18).
He will learn that when alone he has the sweetest moments of fellowship and instruction of His heavenly Father (Psalm 4:4; 63:5-6; Matt 6:6; Job 33:14-18). He knows that examining his soul and pondering the path of his feet requires separation from all the noise and activity of others (Pr 4:26; Psalm 26:2; 77:6; 139:23-24).
God chose the dark night for Abraham (Gen 15:5), the back of the desert for Moses (Ex 3:1), the plain for Ezekiel (Ezek 3:22), the wilderness for John (Luke 1:80), and Arabia for Paul (Gal 1:17). The blessed Lord rose exceeding early to meet alone with His Father (Mark 1:35), or He would spend the night alone with Him (Luke 6:12).
With great ease of travel, telephones, email, and all sorts of communication devices in homes, offices, and cars, you are cursed with a curse. Solitude has become a much greater difficulty and not understood by any. The hours farmers had with an ox and God have been stolen away by progress. It has benefits, but it also contributes to distraction.
Writing psalms while watching sheep is a luxury this perverted generation cannot afford. Men even move the clocks to force more activity into a day, when the sun is crying, “Be still!” Rebekah would still be single, if she waited for a meditating man in a field today (Gen 24:62-67). Lord, help your children flee to the hills for some quiet and solitude.
Having separated from the diversions that deceive, distract, and destroy most men, the good man seeks and intermeddles – gets deeply involved, concerned, and occupied – with all facets of wisdom. He dives into the study and contemplation of all aspects of creation and revelation, with the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the man of God as guides. This pursuit requires an intense and thorough search (Pr 2:1-9; II Tim 2:15; I Tim 4:13-16).
Even the ostrich and horse deserve your careful attention and consideration (Job 39:13-25). How will you remember, meditate, and muse on all His works in a few minutes (Ps 143:5)? Can you in a few minutes comprehend the dimensions of a Saviour’s love (Eph 3:14-19)? With the fullness of God your personal reward, does it not deserve more investment? When did you last break forth in praise for a single thought (Rom 11:33)?
How will you read, let alone consider and meditate upon, the 31,101 verses in your King James Bible? Yet Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, commends the careful meditation of every verse. Only a man with great desire, who separates himself from other distractions, will make any progress in this extensive and valuable project.
Some with weak desire will say there is not enough time. So the apostle told men to redeem time for wisdom (Eph 5:15-17). You can buy time by giving up other activities. There are 168 hours in a week, only half of which you work and sleep. There is much time squandered and wasted in foolish pursuits and slothful management. Lord, help.
Scripture tells of dedicated seekers of wisdom. David and Daniel prayed three times daily (Ps 55:17; Dan 6:10). The blessed Lord at twelve was intermeddling in all wisdom, while his peers played (Luke 2:41-52). The disciples left all to follow Wisdom in the flesh (Mark 1:16-20), and Paul counted anything else as dung (Phil 3:7-14). He chose one thing to do (Phil 3:13), as he knew a double mind was folly (Jas 1:8). The Bereans heard Paul’s preaching with ready minds and searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).
Dear reader, what have you done this week to pursue wisdom? How many minutes have you read the Word of God? How many minutes have you prayed? Studied a proverb? Reviewed a sermon? Contemplated or discussed spiritual matters of significance?
Dear parent, what have you done to plant this ambition in your children? Hannah trained Samuel so well he worshipped the Lord after his weaning (I Sam 1:20-28). Lois and Eunice trained Timothy thoroughly in faith and the Scriptures (II Tim 1:5; 3:15). It is the duty of fathers to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4).
Jesus Christ taught that the kingdom of heaven is like hid treasure, for which a man would joyfully sell all he had to buy the field and dig for it (Matt 13:44). Or it was like a wonderful pearl, for which he would sell all that he had to purchase it (Matt 13:45-46). Does your life reflect this holy zeal? What sacrifice will you make today to seek wisdom?
Few will understand this proverb, and fewer yet will live it. The way of ignorance and folly, which leads to hell here and hereafter, is very wide with many travelers. And the way of wisdom, which leads to life here and in glory, is very narrow with only a few that find it. Let not any of those who name the name of Christ be found in the wide way.
Can you spare a few minutes of 168 hours in a week to seek wisdom? Why die foolish, with your life a great waste of time, and your children cursed to repeat your ignorance and suffer its consequences? Angels desire to look into these things that involve men (I Pet 1:12), but most men are too busy. May writer and reader search their souls.