mm

(#146) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:15-What’s It Worth To You?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 20:15: “There is gold and a multitude of rubies, But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”

In the old song, “the best things in life are free,” and it certainly seems that way. Even a credit card commercial contrasts the price of things bought with the card, with the human emotions that are generated but are “priceless.” The thing that makes the “best things” “free” are what God provides and our God-given abilities to value them!

No one questions the universal value placed on “gold,” or “a multitude of rubies,” but this proverb  places these “things” in a scale of values along with something that’s “free” which should be considered as a valuable. The Book of Proverbs keeps this consideration before us, for: “wisdom” is “more precious than rubies” (Proverbs 3:15); “wisdom is better than rubies” (Proverbs 8:11); and “a virtuous wife’s” “worth is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). Wisdom’s “gain” is better “than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:14); it is better to receive “knowledge rather than choice gold” (Proverbs 8:10); it is “much better to get wisdom than gold” (Proverbs 16:16); “loving favor” is to be chosen “rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1). All of these “free” things are either equal or superior to gold and rubies.

The most impressive appearance anyone should have is not the gold in the pocket or rubies on the body, but a mouth with knowledge, for “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

Solomon had asked for “an understanding heart” and God gave him that plus “both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” (1 Kings 3:11-13), and there was not, until “a greater than Solomon” came in the form of Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:42). Jesus’ Wisdom helps millions of people long after gold and rubies would have been spent. Men who exude Wisdom remain appreciated and useful long after age and gravity have affected their outer appearance.

A Christian woman should make an impression on someone with her true, timeless, inner beauty, not with gold or rubies. “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Worldly women, by their lack of clothing, draw attention to bodies, not their “hidden person of the heart.” The Red Carpets of the Award Season are all about “who” they are wearing, and not “who” they are following.

What’s it worth to you: gold and rubies worth money, or God’s Wisdom in the Bible—priceless!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #gold, #knowledge, #priceless, #proverbs, #rubies, #wisdom

mm

(#120) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:3-Christians Must Do “Hard Time”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 17:3: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.”

“Silver” increases in value when “refined” by extreme heat, which drives off its dross (non-silver particles). “Gold,” likewise, requires a fiery “furnace” to release its impurities. The point of the proverb begins with the stated, understood fact that passing through an extreme circumstance is part of the refining process that purifies our precious metals. “Take away the dross from silver, And it will go to the silversmith for jewelry” (Proverbs 25:4). Our experience in life is our “refining pot” or “furnace,” which should be used for purifying our character. “You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood. You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies” (Psalm 119:118-119). All who obey God’s “statutes” can endure the process.

“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him” (Proverbs 27:21). We are tested by compliments, and no one should take credit for all of his accomplishments or blessings and ignore God’s part in it, as King Herod did (Acts 12:20-24). Jesus warned against letting others’ opinions direct our way: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

When Jerusalem “became a harlot,” it was like their silver became dross, so God promised to turn His hand against them “And thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy” (Isaiah 1:21-25). The process was detailed in Ezekiel 22:17-22: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out My fury on you.'”

Evidence that God lives, cares, and interacts to help Christians’ faith is that we are tested: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12, quoted and applied to Christians in Hebrews 12:3-11). When things seem to go wrong for us, maybe we should examine ourselves to see if our faith needs refining. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #chastening, #christianity, #correction, #dross, #god, #gold, #jesus-christ, #life, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #purge, #refining, #silver

mm

(#110) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:16-Coins or Christ?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:16: “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Some things are worth more than “silver” or “gold.” “Wisdom” and “understanding” are two of these. “Wisdom” is God’s Intelligent Design that He placed in every detail of His Creation in the “heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This truth is at the foundation of faith in God, for: “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, And stretched out the heaven by His understanding” (Jeremiah 51:15); “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

“Understanding” is recognition of this, and it is humbling to the human mind, for we cannot be in charge of our own destinies without God’s help. Solomon, in Chapter 8, had already personified Wisdom, who explained how God placed it throughout the Creation, and shows it to be priceless: “Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (Proverbs 8:10-11); “My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver” (Proverbs 8:19).

The Apostle Peter was inspired by the Holy Spirit to bring this to our attention who live under the Law of Jesus Christ: “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:17-21). Just as God’s Creation shows His Wisdom, those who accept this fact can see His Wisdom in their Recreation. Jesus left us with the Gospel command to:  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#baptism, #bible-study, #christian-living, #creation, #god, #gold, #money, #proverbs, #recreation, #silver, #understanding, #wisdom

mm

(#21) Studies in the Book of Proverbs – Eight Reasons Why Listen To Reason: #1-3: 8:1-11

Having shown the worst some women have to offer, and the wisdom to avoid it, Wisdom is now personified as a woman who has only good to give, and, accompanied by “understanding,” represents the best advice for anyone to follow in life. This description certainly puts women in a better light, but also obligates them to follow it themselves, and provide God’s Wisdom for the rest of humanity.

#1 Verses 1-5: She Speaks Publicly

Wisdom is not hard to find or recognize, for she is said to “cry out,” and “stand on the top of the high hill,” “where the paths meet,” “by the gates,” “by the entry of the city,” “at the entrance of the doors.” This means God intends His Wisdom to be easily seen, known, and followed, for it is in the best interests of all who will hear. There is no place people travel by, gather at, or look up to, where God’s Wisdom cannot, or should not, be proclaimed to benefit mankind. Jesus Christ brought Heavenly Wisdom to mankind and said, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing” (John 18:20). Wisdom addresses “men,” “sons of man (Adam),” just as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for “every creature” (Mark 16:15). Even the “simple” and “fools” are invited to listen, for they can change with the application of Wisdom.

#2 Verses 6-9: She Speaks Plainly

On the one hand, Wisdom offers to “plainly” speak only “excellent things,” “right things,” “truth,” “righteousness;” and on the other hand, NOT offer “wickedness,” nor anything “crooked or perverse.” How difficult is this decision? Those who “understand,” or “find knowledge” will catch on, but for those determined to follow their own ways and continue in sin, it will be too confining! There was a time when “Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes’” (Matthew 11:25). God’s Wisdom appeals to minds ready to listen, so Jesus said further: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

#3 Verses 10-11: She Speaks Preciously

“Silver,” “gold,” and “rubies,” though considered precious and a sign of wealth, “cannot be compared with” God’s Wisdom. Think about it: All precious wealth on earth cannot get one soul into Heaven forever, but Wisdom can! Christians are still offered this judgment: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #gold, #jesus-christ, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rubies, #silver, #wisdom