Proverbs 19:8, He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
Related Verse: Proverbs 15:32, He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
The first book of the Bible tells us that the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground.
We are told that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
When God formed man of the dust of the ground, man was simply an inanimate object without capabilities: to breathe, to think, to move, to hunger, to thirst, to feel, to know, to desire, to be satisfied, to rejoice, to weep, to hope, to praise, to express willpower.
The dust of this earth was used to form the body of man, but without the breath breathed from the mouth of God that object was not vital, that body had no capabilities.
That body was not dead because it had never been alive.
It was a body that could not nor had ever functioned.
It was a body that could not perform any useful purpose in the physical world or the spiritual world.
That body could not serve God. That body could not worship God.
Picture a massive locomotive connected to 100 rail cars parked in a rail yard.
It has no movement. It sets there idle.
It has no capability to do anything but set there.
Masses of steel and iron just holding down track.
Along comes a locomotive engineer. He hops into the engine.
He quickly moves a few levers and sets a few dials and soon sounds are heard, movements are seen.
The huge train comes to life with capabilities, it now can function for the benefit of the owner of the train.
The train can now move vast quantities of materials vast distances.
The train now has soul.
It has an engineer who can operate the train in a manner that makes it useful.
We are told when God breathed the breath of life into the object fashioned from the dust of the ground that object became a living soul.
That object that God fashioned from the dust was now capable of functioning in the physical world that God had just created.
Without that which God imparted to the body of man, that body could not function in the physical world.
That breath of life from its Creator was all that that body lacked.
All organs were in place,
a heart lay still awaiting its first beat,
veins contained blood that did not move,
legs held no load,
hands could not grip.
But because of the breath of life that God gave Adam, Adam became a living soul and Adam could now obey God and serve God and worship God.
That same breath of life continues in every member of the human race.
That breath of life that Adam was given which caused him to be a living soul is the same breath of life which causes you and I to be a living soul.
The body needs a living soul in order to be capable of anything.
The soul is the engineer of the body.
And without the engineer the body is like any other dust of the ground.
That is why a body without a soul is returned to the ground from whence it came.
We are told in our proverb for today that He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul:
Getting wisdom is love for our soul because it provides for a continuance of our God created soul.
It provides for a continuance of that which can obey, serve and worship God.
The soul is designed by its maker to continue and not stop.
Our Creator provides for the soul to continue by providing means for it to continue.
Wisdom is available to the soul and if gotten is an expression that the soul is loved.
But refusing instruction is despising our soul because it hinders the continuation of our soul.
Getting wisdom promotes a healthy soul but refusing instruction promotes a sick soul.
It is apparent then that loving our soul is a good thing and despising our soul is a bad thing.
Is loving our soul the same as loving our self?
Remember the engineer of the train.
Without the engineer the train will not function for the owner.
The engineer must be well prepared to operate the train.
All his faculties must be honed to sharpness in order to effectively make the train what it ought to be.
Loving our soul means that we provide our soul all the wisdom, all the understanding that will make our soul all that it can be for our owner.
Being all that we can be for God is loving our soul!
Loving yourself means that you are concerned about yourself simply for your own benefit and self interest.
Loving our self is loving the way we are, most likely based on a false or distorted view of our self.
Loving our self is esteeming our self not for the benefit of our owner but for the benefit of our self and our own advancement.
In other words:
Loving your soul is loving that which is created by God to worship and serve God.
You love your soul when you receive instruction in wisdom and justice and judgment.
You love your soul when you hear the word of God.
You love your soul when you fear God, when you obey God and trust and acknowledge God.
You love your soul when you hate evil, pride, arrogancy, the evil way and the froward mouth.
And you love your soul by walking in the way of righteousness.
When you feed your soul you see how good Jesus is.
But when you feed your self you only want to see how good you are.
So loving self instead of loving your soul is loving that which you have created to worship and serve yourself.
God saves a soul, he does not save a self.
So getting wisdom is good for the soul.
Keeping understanding (and that is understanding of the Holy) promotes the soul and provides for the eternal benefit of the soul.
"When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot it will cause me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul!"
It is well only when you access wisdom through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.