The subject of today’s devotional is the theme of Solomon’s Book of Proverbs – Wisdom. I invite you to note the promise of Wisdom and her reward (8:17-21).
Proverbs 8:17 – “I love [like; befriend; have affection; desire] them that love [desire] me; and those that seek me early [seek diligently; rising early] shall find [acquire; attain] me.”
Like a fair maiden who is the object of a young suitor, Wisdom promises—Love me; Desire me; Seek me—and I will be yours.
Proverbs 8:17 recall a day when respect and love of neighbor were honorable ideals. The portrait drawn in verse 17 is one of courtship, an art that is all but extinct in our day when society has rejected genteel ideals of modesty and moral virtue. In this verse, “godly wisdom” [more than practical knowledge and intellect] calls to us and says, “If you love me you will seek me; and if you seek me you will find me!” What a wonderful promise; however, it demands both sincerity and self-discipline.
Do you remember where wisdom is found? Godly wisdom is not found in secular textbooks and worldly philosophies [in fact, the wisdom of the world is foolishness by God’s estimation – 1 Corinthians 3:19]. According to Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” The “fear of the Lord” embodies both faith and a reverential fear and awe of God Who is Holy, Loving and Just. Reject the existence of God and you are a hopeless fool (Psalm 14:1; 53:1)! One can only bemoan the great multitude of men who have died fools because they were unwilling to diligently seek God and His wisdom.
Solomon then elucidated the fourfold reward of wisdom for those who love godly wisdom. For today’s study, our focus will be the first reward of godly wisdom found in Proverbs 8:18.
Proverbs 8:18 – “Riches [wealth] and honour [glory; high reputation] are with me [i.e. wisdom]; yea, durable [valued; hereditary—i.e. worth passing on] riches [wealth; substance] and righteousness [uprightness; moral virtue].”
The Charismatic movement is promoting a “prosperity gospel” embraced by many who profess the Christian faith. Living in America’s land of plenty, it is easy to see how an erroneous doctrine like the “prosperity gospel” could gain a following. The idea of “Name it and Claim it” is deceptive and carnal. Some proponents of this error challenge Christians to demand that God give them material prosperity!
The reality is, some of God’s greatest servants and most sacrificial saints have suffered poverty, persecution and martyrdom. If not wealth, what is godly wisdom promising in Proverbs 8:18?
I suggest the riches godly wisdom is promising are eternal and heavenly (Matthew 6:33-34). God does bless some saints with the material means of being a blessing to His Church and ministers (1 Timothy 5:17-18) for the furtherance of the gospel—but not for a narcissistic life of self-consumption. Those blessed with godly wisdom will evidence riches and honor that cannot be purchased with gold and silver. The children and students of men and women of godly wisdom are blessed with a heritage, if valued, can be passed from generation to generation [“durable riches and righteousness”].
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith