Let’s review the building analogy. Wisdom has laid a solid foundation for the home, and the household leaders are committed to making God’s Word their standard operating procedure. Upon this bedrock, the domestic structure rises. Thanks to the adults’ skillful understanding, the practical needs of the home are met, and the household takes form.
A house, however, is not a home. A home needs people to fill the rooms.
3. By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
The Hebrew term for knowledge is based on the verb yada, “to know,” and yada refers to understanding with insight. One gains this kind of knowledge through intimate personal experience with a matter. The Old Testament uses yada to describe God’s penetrating knowledge of each person (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 34:10; Isaiah 48:8; Psalms 1:6; 37:18). Scripture also uses this word in reference to sexual intercourse because, in normal, healthy relationships, the couple gains exclusive and special knowledge of one another (Genesis 4:1; 19:8; Numbers 31:17, 35). In many contexts, yada denotes the ability to use experience to discern between two alternatives (Genesis 3:5, 22; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:15), an ability that “little ones” lack. Simply put, knowledge is learning with perception. We gain knowledge when we have a teachable spirit, a willingness to listen, and a healthy curiosity. Knowledge forever pursues the truth.
The proverb above says the house is filled with “all precious and pleasant riches,” which could be a literal reference to building material wealth. Given the highly symbolic nature of the proverb, however, a figurative interpretation makes more sense. Elsewhere in wisdom literature, riches are the least important pursuit; the priorities of wisdom are, first, obedience to God and, second, harmony with one another. Everything else is a distant third. I suggest, therefore, that those riches are the people of the household.
A practical application of this proverb has to do with relationships. After all, the knowledge gained over time equips family members to deal wisely, reasonably, fairly, and compassionately with one another. We discover one another—our temperaments, aptitudes, strengths, weaknesses, flaws, gifts, and preferences—in order to help one another. Instead of fighting back and taking comments personally, we use the insight gained through experience to respond constructively. Our primary goal is to become responsible agents of God’s ways and His plan and to thereby help each member of the household achieve success.
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.