January 3, 2015
Proverbs 3:13-18 (read the whole chapter)
Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.
More profitable than silver?
Yields a better return than gold?
More treasured than rubies?
Promises a long and pleasing life filled with peace?
What if all this could be yours? Would you want it? I do. All of this is the fruit of Wisdom.
Note what is going on in today’s text. Solomon contrasts wisdom with her closest competitors: wealth, beauty and long life. He seems to be saying one does not become prosperous by seeking prosperity. Prosperity is a fruit of seeking wisdom.
Solomon would know. Let’s remember together this famed story below.
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:5-14.
Solomon shows us the difference between seeking prosperity and seeking wisdom. If one sets their sites on prosperity they may achieve it, but in the process it might cost them everything else that matters. I have met many people who have achieved great prosperity and yet whose lives are not prospering. I don’t think I’ve ever met a truly wise person whose life is not prospering.
People who aspire to wisdom find that while prosperity may be accompanied by wealth it does not depend on it. True wisdom delivers a variety of prosperity that transcends the security of wealth or the transient nature of beauty or fleeting nature of life.
Bottom line: You have a choice: Wealth or Wisdom. Choosing wisdom may well deliver wealth, but choosing wealth will probably not deliver wisdom. The important thing is clarifying our choice. It means everything. Most people never choose and they live all their life somewhere in the muddle between. It makes the saying, “Choose wisely,” come to life.
There’s a word that perfectly describes the kind of prosperity wisdom delivers. It’s one of Jesus’ favorite words. Go back to the text we began with today. The word I’m referencing begins and ends the reading.
And yes, it will be on the test. ;0)
So here’s a small p proverb from me from today’s text: Seeking gold will not make one wise, but seeking wisdom will always make one golden. ;0)
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