Proverbs 3:14-15

Proverbs 3:14-15 “For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”
Christian Church Buffalo NY
After declaring the man “happy” that finds wisdom, Solomon compares its benefit to the benefit of silver and gold.  The things that wisdom produces are greater than the things that silver produces.  The value that wisdom brings to a person is better than the value that gold brings to a person.  Wisdom offers greater merchandise than what any precious metal can offer.  Silver does produce tremendous merchandise.  Gold can do a person a lot of good.  Money can produce shelter, heat, clothes, food and transportation.  Money can give us opportunity and experience.  It can pave the way to an education and it can buy us good coaches, trainers and teachers.  Silver and gold can give us access to medicine, doctors, hospitals and treatment.  The merchandise of silver comes in all shapes and sizes.  The merchandise of gold has many names and applications.  Without question, the merchandise and silver and gold are coveted because of the value they bring to a person. Still, the merchandise of wisdom is better than the merchandise of any precious metal.

Solomon goes on to declare wisdom more precious than rubies.  Rubies are indeed precious.  They are the second hardest gemstone, second only to diamonds.  Rubies rival diamonds for the most expensive and most coveted gemstone in the world.  While the markets constantly vary on precious metals and gemstones, rubies are on the rise with the cost per carat increasing more than fourfold in the past five years.  Some of the finest rubies can fetch up to $1 million per carat!  There is evidence that rubies have been more valuable and more coveted than diamonds in the past with reports that the finest one-carat rubies would cost eight times more than a comparable-quality one-carat diamond in the 1500’s.  Going back even further into history, the Bible clearly values the diamond and classifies it among the most precious gemstones but the ruby is mentioned more often and is elevated to an even higher level.  When the Bible seeks a standard of value, it turns to gold, silver and rubies.  This is why Solomon exalts wisdom above gold, silver and rubies in this proverb.  Wisdom is more valuable than the most valuable.

After comparing wisdom’s value to these earthly treasures, Solomon then makes an interesting statement: “and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”  After comparing wisdom to the most valuable metals, Solomon said that it shouldn’t be compared to anything.  After comparing wisdom to the most precious gemstone, he said that it shouldn’t be compared to anything.  In these verses, he is acting like the sports analyst who is trying to describe the greatest athlete of his or her game.  After comparing the star quarterback to all other quarterbacks in the game and in the history of the game, the analyst concludes that the star quarterback shouldn’t be compared to any other quarterback because no other quarterback can compare to him.  Solomon had nothing comparable to which to compare wisdom. There isn’t a possession that belongs in the same category with wisdom.  There is no person that belongs in the same category with wisdom.  Void of a comparable thing, Solomon chooses to compare wisdom to the best this world has to offer only to conclude that it shouldn’t be compared to anything else.  

As much as money can buy, it can’t buy happiness.  On the other hand, “happy is the man that findeth wisdom” (verse 13).  Owning and wearing rubies may make you look happy but it won’t make you be happy.  Silver can buy you a home but silver doesn’t help you know what kind of home to buy or what location to buy in.  Gold can buy you a car but gold doesn’t help you avoid buying a bad car.  Money can get you access to the hospital but it doesn’t help you live a healthy lifestyle.  Money can hire you a great instructor but it doesn’t help you understand or apply the words it buys.  Money can fill your piggy bank but it doesn’t fill your knowledge bank.  Wealth without wisdom is a life without meaning. As much as silver offers, it can’t offer what wisdom offers.  As much opportunity as gold brings, it can’t bring what wisdom can bring.  Silver may buy a home but wisdom makes a home.  Gold may buy a vacation but wisdom provides rest.  Rubies may attract friends but wisdom makes friends.  Money may buy pain medication but wisdom brings inner relief.  Wealth may buy a life of entertainment but wisdom brings a life of satisfaction.

Nothing should be compared to wisdom for nothing is comparable in value.  Nothing can do for us what wisdom does for us.  When faced with a decision between wisdom and anything else, the decision should be easy and obvious because nothing is comparable to wisdom.  Solomon said, “and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”  Yet, we choose making money over gleaning wisdom.  Yet, we pursue silver with a greater passion than we do wisdom.  Yet, we hunt for gold more than we hunt for wisdom. Yet, we spend more time trying to attract people than we do trying to attract wisdom.  
By telling his son that nothing should be compared to wisdom, Solomon was telling his son that nothing should compete with wisdom. What a lesson for a generation of young people in a society where earning a degree is the most important pursuit in life!  The merchandise of wealth is good but it is not to be compared to the merchandise of wisdom.  Learning how to make a living is incredibly important but it is still doesn’t compare to learning how to live life.  A degree may be necessary to make a living but wisdom is necessary to make a marriage.  A degree may be necessary to build a house but wisdom is necessary to raise a family.  A degree may be necessary to financially succeed in the eyes of man but wisdom is necessary to morally succeed in the eyes of God.

“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

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