Riches and righteousness. Proverbs- Week 6- Day 5

Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.  (19)  My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.  (20)  I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:  (21)  That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. 

Proverbs 8:18-21 

Explanation:
In the last few verses for this week’s passage Wisdom proclaims the benefits that come with obtaining her.  We must remember that proverbs deals in probabilities and not necessarily promises as we look to this text.  Here are some of the probabilities that are possible when one obtains wisdom.

Riches.  She claims on the one hand that riches come when one acts wisely in verse 19.  She says in verse 21 that substance and treasures are likely to come with acting prudently.  On the other hand she states that the effects of wisdom are better than gold and silver.  This makes sense in that receiving wisdom has lasting effects that outpaces a one-time receiving of substance.  When one acts wisely they act in keeping with God’s design.  These bring about the natural results in keeping with how God made the world. 

Righteousness.  When one acts wisely they also act in keeping with God’s desires.  Since true wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, acting wisely means living in ways that live out what He desires. 

Application:

Wisdom is obtainable.  God wants to freely give us wisdom.  When we pursue it early, He will give it to us.  The rewards of riches and righteousness are incredible.  So the application is obvious:  pursue wisdom!  Ask God for wisdom!  Seek for it!  Blessing comes when we obtain wisdom.

Response:

What is keeping you from seeking out wisdom?

Wisdom is obtainable. Proverbs- Week 6- Day 4

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 

Proverbs 8:17 

Explanation:

Wisdom continues to speak in verse 17, and what is being said is quite profound.  Wisdom says that she loves those that love wisdom.  It may seem weird to think of a character trait like wisdom exhibiting another trait like love.  What is the point being made?  Wisdom does not discriminate by any skin color, economic status, social status, or country of origin.  Remember the foundational premise of the book of Proverbs.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  It is possible for anyone who begins with the fear of the Lord to obtain wisdom.  By definition there must be an abandoning of foolishness, but wisdom is obtainable by anyone.

This is corroborated by the second half of the verse which promises wisdom to those who seek after her.  Notice that it says to “seek early”.  The idea here is not a haphazard searching for wisdom that would be “nice to have”.  This is the idea that the person who prioritizes seeking out wisdom will find wisdom when they do.

We have access to so much wisdom in the Word of God.  The Creator of the Universe entered in to human History and revealed Himself to us.  The King of Kings wrote a book and tells us what the purpose of the book is in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 

The scripture is God’s Word.  It is good for teaching us to think rightly and correcting where we think wrongly.  It is good for correcting our behavior and giving us instruction for living so that we can grow into maturity, being fully equipped to all the good and wise things that God desires for us to do.  We will find no great repository of wisdom than the Word of God.

Application:

Wisdom is not some unobtainable quality.  It is something that we have access to, and if we seek it with our whole hearts we will find it.  If we ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us.

We need wisdom.  We should feel that need and seek after it early!

Response:

What does it look like for you to make seeking for wisdom part of your lifestyle?

Wisdom is powerful. Proverbs- Week 6- Day 3

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.  (13)  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.  (14)  Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.  (15)  By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.  (16)  By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. 

Proverbs 8:12-16 

Explanation:

Wisdom personified continues to speak in these verses, and she begins to talk about her role among leaders in society.  This is evident in verses 15 and 16 where she mentions kings, princes nobles, and judges.  Wisdom’s subject matter changes in verse 12 towards this role starting in verse 12.  Wisdom says she lives with prudence.  We are usually closely related with those we live with and this is the idea here.  She also says she that she “finds out knowledge of witty inventions”.  The word here for “witty inventions” is the word transliterated “mezimmah” which occurs 22 times in the Old Testament.  The word relates to plans,  and more often than not speaks of evil plans.  With the context of the word being used just before verse 13 which speaks of hating evil, pride, arrogance, the evil way and the froward mouth, it would make sense that she is saying that wisdom is not naive.  When wisdom is found in rulers they are people who are prudent, and who use their wisdom to put a stop to those who do evil and pervert justice.  They use wisdom combined with their position of power to promote righteousness in the land.

In verse 14 wisdom claims she owns counsel and “sound wisdom”.  The idea of the word translated as “sound wisdom” seems to speak to the kind of wisdom that is practical and not just theoretical.  It is a wisdom that can be put into practice.  Notice the connection that Wisdom says here to execution of the duties of a leader.  Words like “strength”, “reign”, “decree”, and “rule” in connection with kings, princes, nobles, and judges indicate that there is a power to wisdom.  Wisdom really is powerful in that it helps the leader to lead well.  It encourages them to use their influence and position to thwart the evil doer and execute righteousness.

Application:

If wisdom is powerful enough for kings to righteously rule over nations, it is powerful enough for you to lead your home, run your business, influence your neighborhood, and promote the fear of the Lord among those you influence.  Wisdom is a powerful thing, and as we will see in the upcoming verses it is an obtainable thing.  The book of James tells us something incredible about obtaining wisdom:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 

James 1:5 

Response:

What an incredible thing to be promised access to something this powerful.  The obvious questions are these- do you ask for wisdom?  Do you see out wisdom?  Does wisdom inform how you live your life? 

The Value of Wisdom- Proverbs- Week 6- Day 2

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.  (11)  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Pro 8:10-11 

Explanation:

Wisdom continues to speak as the narrator in this passage, and as she does, she gives some new advice based on what she has already said.  In verses 6-9 we learned about the quality of her words.  The words of wisdom are excellent, right, true, free of wickedness, righteous, free of perversion, clear and accessible.  Of course, this speaks to their value.  But the advice that Wisdom gives in verses 10 and 11 give some practical estimation on the value of wisdom’s teaching.  The claim that is made is that wise instruction and knowledge is more valuable than silver, gold and rubies.  The idea is that if you had a choice between great riches and wisdom, the obvious choice would be wisdom.

This choice between riches and wisdom is the kind of choice that Solomon himself faced at one point in his life.  The presentation of this choice can be found in 1 Kings 3.

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.  (6)  And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.  (7)  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.  (8)  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.  (9)  Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?  (10)  And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.  (11)  And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;  (12)  Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 

1 Kings 3:5-12 

When it came down to it, Solomon asked for wisdom from the Lord and God gave him Wisdom and riches. 

Application:

Why is wisdom more valuable than riches?

  • Riches can be fleeting.  Money is here today and gone tomorrow.  Wisdom cannot be taken from someone. 
  • The pursuit of riches can make one unwise.  People have done many evil and foolish things in their pursuit of wealth. 
  • Pursuing and heeding wisdom can make us a good steward of wealth.  When foolish people get wealth they do foolish things with it.  When wise people get wealth, they use it wisely. 

Here is the point: Wisdom is way more valuable than we often estimate it to be.  We must value wisdom and wise instruction.

Response:

How much do you value wisdom?

  • Do you read God’s Word?
  • Do you intentionally pursue relationships with people wiser than yourself?
  • Do you pursue reading and knowledge more than entertainment?
  • Do you value wealth more than wisdom?