Proverbs 4:8

Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

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Promotion and honor are simple. The secret to success is right before you. These are not the words of a money-grubbing salesman wanting your enrollment fee for a foolish self-help program – these are the free words of God and two rich and wise kings of Israel.

Exalt and embrace wisdom, and you will be promoted and honored by God and men. Make wisdom the most important goal of your life; love wisdom with fervent appreciation and desire, and she will bring you greatness. What are you waiting for?

Solomon here repeated what David had taught him about pursuing wisdom (Pr 4:5-9). He remembered his own father teaching him, and he repeated the valuable instruction for the benefit of his son (Pr 4:3-4). Let every parent understand the importance of such training.

The highest goal for any man is to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, Who grew in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). How did He gain such wonderful success? He increased in wisdom, which is the ability to judge and act rightly in life. Wisdom is the key by which any person can find approval of God and man. Wisdom brings promotion and honor.

There are four feminine pronouns in this proverb referring to Lady Wisdom, Solomon’s personification of wisdom, understanding, discretion, and knowledge. While he warned against the strange woman (Pr 7:5-27; 9:13-18), he also told of wonderful Lady Wisdom and her great benefits for men (Pr 1:20-33; 2:4; 3:13-18; 4:5-13; 7:1-4; 8:1-36; 9:1-5).

David, by wisdom, had a heart like God’s, so the LORD made him king over Israel, and all Israel loved him (I Sam 18:5,16,30; II Sam 7:8). Lady wisdom promoted and honored him. Citizens and enemies considered him like an angel (I Sam 29:9; II Sam 14:17). How did he get this glorious reputation? He committed himself to wisdom (Ps 101:1-8).

David exalted and embraced wisdom. Consider his great example well. What did he think of Scripture? He thought it more valuable than much fine gold and more pleasant than honey and honeycomb (Ps 19:10; 119:127). How often did he think about the Bible? Day and night (Ps 1:2)! What was his greatest treasure? The Bible (Ps 119:14,111,162)!

Where did he want to be more than anywhere else? In church (Ps 84:10)! Who were his only friends? Men fearing God and keeping God’s commandments (Ps 119:63)! How often did he pray? Three times a day (Ps 55:17)! How did he approach God? In humble self-examination (Ps 139:23-24)! Did he praise God? Seven times a day (Ps 119:164)!

How can you exalt wisdom? Make it your top priority (Pr 4:7; 16:16). Diligently pursue it like you would a hidden treasure (Pr 2:1-5; 23:23). Sacrifice anything in order to get it, even friends (Pr 13:20; 18:11). Put it into practice, no matter what others think or what it might cost (Pr 29:25; Dan 1:6). God and men will bless your effort and emphasis.

How can you embrace wisdom? Value and cherish it as a precious asset (Pr 3:15; 8:11). Love it more than anything else (Pr 4:6; 8:17,21). Despise and reject anything that is contrary to it (Pr 8:13; 14:7; Ps 119:128). Avoid anyone or anything that tempts you away from it (Pr 9:6; I Cor 15:33). God and men will bless your effort and emphasis.

Joseph was promoted and honored. Though having ten older brothers, he obeyed his father better than any of them. Sold into slavery, he served diligently and faithfully. He rejected a strange woman simply out of fear of God, though at great cost. Much more could be said, but what happened? He rose quickly to be next to Pharaoh in power.

Daniel was promoted and honored. Captured, sterilized, and taken 500 miles to Babylon, he rejected the king’s religion, no matter the cost. He told the hard truth even when contrary to kings’ desires. When a new religious law was passed, he disregarded it. What happened? He was the highest administrator in the world’s greatest empire for 70 years.

If God and men have not promoted and honored you, humble yourself and confess your neglect of wisdom. Exalt and embrace her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seek His Word, His church, and His saints with all your heart. Promotion and honor will come!