(#156) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:20-Where To Discover Oil

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 21:20: “There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.”

“Desirable treasure” and “oil” are signs of God’s blessings, but are for “the dwelling of the wise.” God blesses the “wise,” or those who obey Him, as Solomon wrote: “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19). “Oil” (pressed olives but not petroleum!) was among the plentiful bounties of the Promised Land for the Israelites (Deuteronomy 8:7-10), and was used for burning in lamps (Exodus 27:20-21), dedication of sacred items (Exodus 40:9-11), dedication of kings (1 Samuel 16:11-13), and was included in many sacrifices in Moses’ Law (Leviticus, Numbers). God blesses those who are dedicated to Him.

It takes a “foolish man” to “squander it.” Those who refuse to live by God’s code of conduct will “waste” (literally, scatter, throw away) whatever possessions and life he or she owns (Luke 15:13)! Jesus Christ used “foolish virgins” to show what happens to those who make no provision to keep their lamps burning with oil (Matthew 25:1-13): they are unprepared to go in to the wedding, and once the door is closed, they are left outside. What good does it do for God to bless a fool, who will not learn from those blessings to love and worship the God who gave them?

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

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