Proverbs 3:13–14 (RSVCE): 13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from it is better than gain from silver and its profit better than gold.... Proverbs 3:18 (RSVCE): She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.
Wisdom weaves her way through Proverbs (proverbs uses the feminine pronoun for wisdom). It's something to be loved and sought by all. Proverbs pictures wisdom as a treasure that sustains one in God's created order and gives vitality.
I love the appearance of the Tree of Life in these verses. In Genesis, the tree of life gave immortality. The image of a tree or plant of life was common in writings through the ancient Near East, as immortality obsessed many. I think about Gilgamesh's quest for immortality after his friend Enkidu dies.
The tree in literature is not always one of immortality. It often represents vitality, healing, and joy of life. The Hebrew word used hayyim can mean "lifespan" or "joy of life." In Proverbs, it is typically used as the latter.
Wisdom. The ways of God. The character of God. The order of the created world in which we participate. Proverbs calls us to seek these things and love them. In the ancient world, people and animals were often pictured in art holding onto or touching the tree of life. I pray for the desire to touch wisdom. I want to hold it so that this wisdom, not the next shiny thing the world throws at me, can direct my path. There is a cost to this wisdom. The first is the time it takes to seek, which can begin now.
(This year, I am intentionally working my way systematically (again) through Holy Scripture. As a part of that I am writing short rough notes as I journey through Scripture. These are random, fluid thoughts. These are not formal essays or written sermons. There are no citations and I often convey the thoughts of others that I have read or encountered. These have become a part of my own theology and clearly I stand on the shoulders of others to see more clearly.)