“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
In Proverbs 4, the father recounts to his children what he was taught as a child by his own father. This verse comes in the middle of five related verses.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
The command to “get wisdom” is repeated.
Verse 5 — Get Wisdom
Verse 6 — Wisdom will Protect You
Implied — lacking wisdom, you lack protection and are in danger
Verse 7 — Get Wisdom
Verses 8-9 — Wisdom will Honour You
Implied — lacking wisdom, you will have shame and dishonour
Wisdom is the principal thing, the first thing, for with it comes blessing and without it comes disaster. The father tells his children, as their grandfather told him previously, you must — whatever else you do — you must get wisdom. It is the principal thing.
If wisdom is the principal thing, you must get it with all thy getting. Everything, all your focus, must be geared towards getting wisdom. Quit frittering away money, time, and energy on things that are worth so much less. If you have everything, but lack wisdom, it all ends in tears. On the other hand, if you have wisdom, many abundant blessings follow.
Of course, Biblical wisdom is to know and fear God, and follow Him. This isn’t about the wisdom of the world. As I said previously (Finding Christ in Proverbs — and Finding Proverbs in Christ), Christ, the great Wise Teacher, was foreshadowed by the wise teachers in Proverbs. We see Him applying the incomparable value of the true wisdom of God to the Kingdom, in Matthew 13:
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Take everything you might value or pursue. Put an eternal value on each thing, and add those values together. They all come to nothing. Don’t waste any “getting” on anything else. Get godly wisdom “with all your getting.”