Proverbs 8:10-11

Proverbs 8:10-11 "Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it."
Christian Buffalo NY
After spending some time having his son listen to the words of a dangerous woman in chapter seven, Solomon is now giving him the opportunity to listen to the words of a delightful woman in chapter eight.  Where the “strange wisdom” speaks seductively and secretly, Wisdom speaks openly and honestly.  Wisdom speaks candidly and plainly.  In verses 10-11, she invites the “sons of man” to pursue her over wealth.  She invites mankind to value her above riches.  Knowing that the human race is infatuated with making money and lots of it, she plainly puts her value higher than that which we value the most.

Wisdom says what Solomon already said in the fifteen verse of the third chapter of Proverbs - that she is “better than rubies.”  Rubies, gold and silver are the Bible’s most valuable forms of currency.  If you wanted to be wealthy in Scriptural times, then you pursued these three precious metals.  If you could get silver, choice gold and rubies, then you had it all.  Wisdom wants men and women, especially young men and young women, to see wisdom as more valuable than these precious metals. She wants men and women to have their ears open to wisdom like they have their hands open to gold, silver and rubies.

In placing her value above money, Wisdom isn’t speaking poorly of money nor is she rendering wealth irrelevant or useless.  In fact, she makes an important statement a few verses later.  In verse eighteen, she says, Riches and honour are with me.”  She isn’t against riches at all.  She sees a need for riches.  She sees a blessing in riches.  For that reason, she brings riches to her lovers.  That being said, she wants her potential lovers to know that she is better than riches; that she is more valuable than riches.  The reason she is better than riches is because she helps us manage riches.  This is why when she says she brings riches, she clarifies what kind of riches she brings at the end of the verse as “DURABLE riches.”  To keep riches, one needs the wisdom.  To maintain wealth, one needs wisdom. Perhaps there is no better illustration of this truth than the foolish son of Luke 15.  Jesus tells the story of a man who had two sons and one of them begged to receive his inheritance early because he placed a high value on riches.  Once he got his money, he immediately set out to enjoy his newly-received riches.  Jesus tells us that he went on a big trip to a far country “and there wasted his substance with riotous living” (Luke 15:13).  Jesus tells us that he spent all of his inheritance, which is why this young man is known as the “Prodigal” or wasteful son.  His riches were not “durable riches.”  They didn’t hold up to the temptations of life.  They weren’t available when a famine arose in that country and he found himself living and eating alongside the impoverished pigs.  Wisdom is better than riches because wisdom gives us the tools to earn and more importantly, to maintain riches.

Wealth WITHOUT WISDOM is temporary wealth and only leads to certain poverty. This is precisely why so many young talented vocalists, actors and athletes end up in financial turmoil.  Vocal talent and athletic skill can bring riches but those talents do not bring wisdom.  Without wisdom, millions of dollars are easily mismanaged and ultimately, easily wasted.  Countless stories of the once “rich & famous” teach us that wisdom is better than wealth.

Wisdom is clear with anyone who will listen to her and says, “all the things that may be desired are not be compared to wisdom.”  She is better than all of the things that people want for the same reasons that she is better than money.  WITHOUT WISDOM, all of life’s joys are mismanaged and eventually lost. Take romance for example as almost all men and women long for romance.  If you get a husband or wife before you get wisdom, you’ll not enjoy durable romance.  People pursue love like they pursue wealth with the sole desire of being loved by someone else. When they find someone who will love them, they take all that they can get only to wear out their mate and lose all of their love.  Like the prodigal son who lacked the wisdom necessary to manage his wealth, people waste romance because they lack the wisdom necessary to manage that romance with sound relationship skills.  WITHOUT WISDOM, romance is temporary romance and only leads to certain heartbreak.  When we value wisdom above romance, we learn the things necessary about men, women and relationships that help us find the right mate and then maintain the right romantic relationship with that mate.

WITHOUT WISDOM, good things often become bad things. If someone gets a gun before they get the wisdom necessary to teach them how and when to use a gun, lives can accidentally and tragically be lost.  If someone takes medication before they get the wisdom necessary to teach them how much, how often and how long to take that medication, the consequences can be deadly.  If someone gets a pet Pitbull or a pet Python before they get the wisdom necessary to teach them about those animals, people can get hurt.  Wisdom is better than everything because wisdom helps us maintain and manage everything.

Solomon knew his young son, like most young men, wanted wealth and power.  He knew that his young son would inherit both.  He also knew that WITHOUT WISDOM, Rehoboam’s wealth and power would be short-lived.  Solomon wanted his son to see what he himself saw at a young age.  He received wealth and power from his father David but he soon recognized his lack of wisdom.  It concerned Solomon to possess such fiscal and political responsibility without wisdom. Therefore, when God offered him anything he wanted in 1 Kings 3, he asked for wisdom because he said of himself, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”  The value he placed on wisdom being better than everything else in life is what brought him durable riches and a durable reign.  He didn’t waste his father’s wealth and instead, grew the family fortune.  He didn’t waste his father’s political progress and instead, grew the nation’s power.

It is critical that the sons and daughters of men see wisdom as more valuable than all other things.  It is critical that we see the need to get wisdom before getting anything else.  Whether an Italian or a Chinese proverb, I do not know, but the following proverb is precisely what Solomon is writing about in these verses:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  
Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Anything good in life WITHOUT WISDOM will be short-lived.  If you want to keep something good in life, get wisdom first and it will teach you how to maintain that which you desire.  Wisdom is truly better than all things.  Therefore, get wisdom.

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