Friday, April 8, 2016

Proverbs 8:11-15 -- On Wisdom and Rubies

"For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice."
Proverbs 8:11-15

These are some verses extolling the virtues of wisdom.  And right here at the beginning is a very bold statement.  Anything we can desire can't be compared to wisdom... including material wealth.  That's probably a good thing to ponder today.  I know that we are often tempted to pursue fame or monetary gain in this life.  We want adoration and wealth because it makes us feel safe and loved.  Wisdom seems kinda nerdy, kind of old-hermit-guy.  And we don't have time to sit on a mountain and grow a beard and ponder the universe.  We want to move faster than that, and grab what we can, be the insta-success story.  Be the winner of the lottery.  And while those desires are understandable, let's step back for just a moment and think about this.

Wisdom and prudence go together... prudence is good judgment/common sense.   I like the witty inventions part. :)  In looking it up, it says that a better translation would be good ideas, or well considered designs... but witty inventions are good too.  The idea here is that learning wisdom helps us think good things, and have great ideas, and make good plans.  Wisdom gives *and* invites counsel.  It isn't nerdy.  It's strong.  It's understanding, and knowledge used for good.  Evil, pride, and arrogancy get in the way of that.

Let's think about that desire for insta-success or winning the lottery.  We look at others and we want to have instantly what they have.  ... But that's covetous.  We want stuff now, without having to work for it, but that's arrogance.  It isn't much different than instant gratification in other ways, and that's lust and greed.  It's the natural man trying to steer us away from God, which is the very definition of pride and evil.  It doesn't mean we don't still want those things, but let's recognize those desires as what they are.

God in these verses is offering us a very good alternative to our evil desires.  As we learn wisdom, and sound judgement, we have great ideas... we might be better even at witty inventions... and we learn how things work.  He's telling us the *right* way to go after success.  Learn, grow, plan ahead.  Make good and wise decisions.  Don't be hasty.  Consider the consequences, weigh the cost.  Wisdom is the way that kings and judges ascend to those positions.  Wisdom is strong, and it is the way that we can pursue our goals without giving in to the natural man, or encouraging evil in ourselves. If we're wise, we're never going to gamble and risk it all on a get-rich-quick scheme, because we know the odds.  God isn't going to assist us in skipping over the basic knowledge and foundation that we need before we can handle success anyway. :)

Yes, wisdom is slower, and we are infinitely impatient.  But wisdom is God's way.  Line upon line, we learn, and we progress as quickly as we have the capacity to learn.  Our lessons might lead to riches and they might not.  Our lessons might lead to celebrity, and they might not.  But one thing is sure... our lessons in wisdom *will* lead us to God.  And that is where we want to go anyway.  There are no shortcuts in that journey.  Today, let's listen to God and not ourselves.  Let's learn and grow and get counsel from the Lord... and let's gain wisdom and follow his path.

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