The Value of Wisdom

KEY VERSE: “Wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” —Proverbs 8:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 3:13-18; 8:6-11

OUR day stands as unique among all the eras of man’s history, in the pursuit of intellectualism. The heroes of our day are the scientists, physicists, and cosmologists. Sophisticated computer science has so revolutionized the world, that almost every facet of our society is sustained by semiconductor chips, integrated electrical circuits, and tons upon tons of complicated computer software. It is said that so dependent is the decision-making process of many large industrialized countries upon this electronic maze of information that a massive, prolonged power failure could spell their economic and political ruin. Should it come, even a worldwide nuclear holocaust would be assured almost unerring accuracy, timing, and precision by the great intelligence and technology built into this massive system of destruction.

Yes, men are wonderfully, and awesomely intellectual—but are they wise?

The Apostle Paul once wrote, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (I Cor. 1:20) The wisdom highly esteemed by men is not the wisdom that comes from God, but rather that upon which they “spend their strength for naught, and their labor for that which satisfieth not.”

The wisdom of our text is “the wisdom that is from above” (Jas. 3:17), which begins with a reverence for the Lord. The man who regards not God, but by dint of his own labor and strife succeeds to gain a measure of earthly wealth is generally considered a wise man. But he fails to realize how transient are his treasures, how unsatisfactory they will prove to be in the end, and how great is the value of the heavenly treasure, which he has missed while grasping after fleeting earthly things. What folly it is for anyone who has been enlightened by the truth to forget the importance and value of the unseen heavenly treasure and turn to the minding of earthly things!

The psalmist wrote: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Ps. 111:10) One cannot have even a beginning of the wisdom from above apart from a reverence for God. Those who do not reverence God do not have any real guide in life except their own wishes and preferences, and these are often not wise. But there should be more than just a beginning of wisdom. David also presents some important facts related to how one progresses in the reverence of the Lord. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Ps. 19:7,8) In these words there are described some of the benefits of obedience to the laws and precepts of the Lord. Those who do obey are surely wise.

In the New Testament James lists some of the ingredients of heavenly wisdom: “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (Jas. 3:17,18) These are the precious treasures that are better than rubies and all the material things that may be desired. Solomon said about wisdom, “Length of days is in her right hand … and in her left hand riches and honor.” (vs. 16) So far as God’s people are concerned, the operation of true heavenly wisdom in their lives leads to everlasting life, and to “glory, honor, and immortality.”—Rom. 2:7

“The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness,” Solomon further explained, “and all her paths are peace.” (vs. 17) In this day when man’s wisdom has led the world into such a confused state of fear and vexation, how blessed are we, knowing that God and his wisdom can give us such peace! This does not mean that the Lord’s people will never have unpleasant experiences, nor does it imply that their lives will always be tranquil. But it does mean that they will understand and accept the Lord’s providences, and this, together with God’s promises, will give them peace of mind and heart despite the troubled circumstances surrounding them.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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