Proverbs 4:8-9

Proverbs 4:8-9 "Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee."
Baptist Church Buffalo NY
It is within our nature to expect something for nothing.  Born helpless, we immediately take milk from our mothers without giving anything in return.  The thoughtless taking continues into toddler-ville where we take our food, our juice and our blankie without an ounce of gratitude.  Without any teaching intervention, we would naturally assume that our parents owe us hot meals three times a day, a dresser full of clean clothes, a soft bed, a roof over our heads, nice vacations and a boat load of presents under the Christmas tree.  It comes natural for us to accept everything and anything without feeling the need to give something in return.

Without proper parenting, a child will continue to maintain a “gimme” mindset by nature.  Many young people don’t truly confront this natural thought process until they’re told to get a job to pay for their own things.  This is why it’s healthy for a young person to get a job as early as possible.  Unfortunately, our society has a generation of people whose parents have failed to correct this mindset in their children.  These same parents are teaching lessons in our universities and crafting policies in our government, which has resulted in an entire society plagued by the expectation of something for nothing.  This selfish mindset comes with birth and needs to be corrected by parental instruction.

Even with early intervention however, this mindset easily and often creeps back into our heads.  This may be best seen in our approach to relationships.  As adults, we can expect everything from others at no expense to ourselves.  We want our spouse to respect us without giving any respect to them.  We want our friends to trust us without giving them any reason to trust us.  We want our peers to befriend us without being friendly to them.  We want our husbands to care about our needs when we don’t care about theirs.  We want our wives to give us a break when we don’t give them a break.  We want people to call us in our time of need when we don’t call them in their time of need.  We want our employers to cut us some slack when we don’t cut them any slack.  This mindset is natural, unselfish and unhealthy.

Our world is a world of give and take.  God has designed our world to be governed by the law of sowing and reaping.  Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  What we put into something is what we will get out of that something.  How we treat people is how is we will be treated.  Matthew 7:2 “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”  What goes around, comes around.  Proverbs 26:27 “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.”  These are unavoidable laws that eventually come to pass.  This is why parents do their children a great disfavor by trying to compensate or protect them from these rules.

Children need to be taught that they will only get out of life what they put into it.  Solomon was essentially teaching his son this principle in Proverbs 4:8-9.  In the preceding verse, he instructed his son to get wisdom but his instruction didn’t stop there.  In these verses, he mentioned the benefits of wisdom being honor, grace, promotion and glory but he didn’t tell his son that those benefits come automatically.  Wisdom wouldn’t bring these benefits without first receiving something in return.  Getting wisdom, as Solomon got wisdom, wasn’t all there was to receiving the benefits of wisdom.  Solomon had to embrace wisdom in order to receive the promotion of wisdom.  He had to exalt wisdom in order to receive the honor of wisdom.  He had to cherish wisdom in order to receive the grace of wisdom.  To get anything from wisdom, Rehoboam would have to give something to wisdom.  

It is surely no different for the child of God today.  What we get out of the word of God hinges on what we put into the word of God.  We don’t benefit from the wisdom of God if we don’t invest and cherish the wisdom of God.  Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Too many Christians expect to understand the Scriptures by reading them once a week on Sunday morning.  Too many Christians expect to hear an answer from God by praying a simple prayer over breakfast.  Too many Christians expect virtue and faith to come easy.  Wisdom’s greatest fruits are found on its highest branches – its greatest benefits are enjoyed only after the greatest amount of work has been invested into harvesting its fruit.  The believer who gets the most out of his or her church is the one who puts the most amount of time and effort into that church.  The saint who gets the most of out of his or her Bible is the one who puts the most amount of time and effort into that Bible.  The Christian who gets the most of out prayer is the one who puts the most amount of time and effort into prayer.

There are no shortcuts to the benefits of virtue.  Just as there are no freebies in the physical dimension, there are no freebies in the spiritual dimension.  Corn doesn’t grow where there is no value for the work necessary to sow its seed.  Grace, honor and glory don’t come where there is no appreciate for the work necessary to learn wisdom.  To get something out of the ground, you have to give something to the ground.  To get something out of God’s wisdom, you have to give something to that wisdom.  

Proverbs 4:7-9 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. EXALT her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost EMBRACE her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

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