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The Worth of Wisdom

(Proverbs 3:1-18)

Lesson 3 -- second quarter 2009
September 20, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

Which of wisdom's benefits are summarized in this passage?

What am I doing to hang on to mercy and truth?

Where does God fit in my (conscious) life?

Has God been honored by and with the essentials and the premiums in my life?

Is wisdom worth so much to me that I find blessing in God's correction?

Who around me has found me pleasant of way and peaceable in disposition?

Wisdom -- a tree of life: How's that to work out in my life?

A heart for wisdom

In reading these verses I realized again that my heart needs a stronger bent toward wisdom. The pursuit of wisdom does not dominate my thinking, drive my doing, nor consume my life. Bible reading, meditation, and study occupy an extremely small portion of my day. Reading challenging, thought-provoking books and thinking about their message do not find a ready place in my day's activities. Probing the life experiences and lessons in others . . . well, that rarely happens.

Proverbs 4:7 says, "Wisdom is the principal thing." In my head and heart I know this to be true. So that's a good step. But I want more than mere knowledge and intellectual assent to the truth! I want to live in such a way that I prove I believe it. I want to live in joyful obedience to the last part of that verse: "Therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."

What wisdom offers is better, far better, than whatever silver and gold may offer. Not matter how much stuff they may bring into our lives, no matter what kind of stuff they may surround us with, gold and silver cannot match the quality and longevity of wisdom's blessings and rewards. "For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold" (Proverbs 3:14).

We value many and varied material things. Many of these things we have; many we wish to have; some we strive diligently to acquire. We might not stow away rubies and other precious stones, but antiques, collectibles, and heirlooms just might find their way into our "treasure chests" a little more readily, eh? Let's not forget that Proverbs 3:15 clearly affirms that wisdom "is more precious than rubies." (Other precious stones along with antiques, collectibles, and heirlooms rank no better against wisdom!) And in case you think you're off the hook since that kind of stuff isn't appealing to you, don't overlook the ending of the verse: "and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her." There we have it, friends -- wisdom is tops, exceeded in value by no material thing.

How is your heart toward wisdom? If it isn't inclined much toward her, yield your heart again to the Lord, asking Him to help you value and pursue wisdom more. Ask Him to deepen your relationship with Him . . . because "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).

The fruits of wisdom

Wisdom is no fruitless tree. She is not some barren berry bush, producing only runners, leaves, and prickly stickers. She is not to be likened to a beautiful, leafy potato plant that yields only two or three mini spuds. No! "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her" (Proverbs 3:18). Proverbs shows us that this wonderful tree produces quite a few precious fruits. Just look at some of them!

When we persistently seek wisdom in God's Word, we become acquainted with God Himself -- "find the knowledge of God" (2:5).

Through wisdom we attain to a full, worthwhile, productive life -- "length of days is in her right hand" (3:16).

Wisdom enables us to find pleasure in life while making us pleasant people to have around -- "her ways are ways of pleasantness" (3:17).

Because of wisdom we can have peace to enjoy for ourselves and "pass around" to others -- "all her paths are peace" (3:17).

Wisdom blesses us with endurance and security -- "she shall preserve thee...and she shall keep thee" (4:6).

Wisdom will beautify our thoughts and our lives with grace and graciousness -- "she shall give to thine head an ornament of grace" (4:9).

What else?

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom" (Proverbs 3:13).

My Stuff. For Him.

God wants me.

I understand that. That's part of surrendering to Him as my Lord and serving Him as my Master. He wants me -- body, soul, and spirit.

He also wants my stuff!

"Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase" (Proverbs 3:9).

And He doesn't want the leftovers either.

He wants me to use all my stuff to honor Him.

By substance I understand that which is essential to me.

By firstfruits I understand that He gets first choice of my income.

And He'll use my leftovers also.

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