The Crown of the Wise
1. The term “crown” is used here in a figurative way…
a. It represents a benefit or reward of wisdom.
b. It is a valuable and visible benefit from wisdom.
c. In a race, it’s not always the fastest runner who wins the crown. Often it is the smartest runner… he wins the crown.
d. Like the tortoise and the hare. The hare ran quicker, but the tortoise ran smarter… slower, but more consistently. The tortoise was crowned. For his wisdom in running he got a crown.
e. The crown is an ornament and an honor for the wise man.
2. Solomon states here that for a man’s wisdom, he is crowned with riches.
a. It is the reward for operating wisely.
b. The crown IS his riches… his riches are his crown…
c. Riches are the reward he receives for his wisdom.
d. There are some very practical benefits from using wisdom: you will be better off!
e. It is an honor for a wise man to have riches… like a crown. It is an honor for this man, because since he is wise, he will use them wisely.
f. Ecc. 7:11-12 – an inheritance is a good thing; but an inheritance with the wisdom to use it properly is far better!
g. This is true in both the physical realm (earthly crown) and in the spiritual realm (heavenly crown).
3. Wisdom is behind them both… NORMALLY (remember these are proverbs!)
a. Ecc. 9:11 – the exceptions to the rule.
b. “Time and chance” happen to all… the swiftest runner can catch a cold the day of the marathon… the wisest business man can see his business destroyed when a new invention makes his product obsolete… and sometimes fools inherit great riches.
c. Solomon is not contradicting his words in proverbs. Rather, Proverbs makes an assumption: all things being equal… wisdom is usually crowned with riches.
d. In Proverbs Solomon observes generalities about life… the way things usually are.
e. In Ecclesiastes 9:11, Solomon observes some of the aberrations in life and laments over them… sometimes (in fact often!) the best laid plans of mice and men go astray.
f. Ecc. 11:15 – sow your seed, but you don’t really know if it will catch or not… or if the weather will be favorable or not… but sow the seed anyway. Be as wise and as diligent as you can, but acknowledge that time and chance affect everything we do.
g. Time and chance may foil your best plans and undermine your diligent work, but that is not an excuse to not make wise plans or to be diligent. Sow the seed anyway, Solomon says!
h. In most cases, all things being equal… barring some unforeseeable catastrophe, normally, men who apply wisdom to their efforts do well and profit in their businesses.
i. The proof of the wisdom they employed is their riches… their crown.
4. Proverbs deals with this topic in several other passages as well.
a. Prov. 3:16 – in the right hand of Lady Wisdom are riches and honor.
b. Prov. 8:12 – Wisdom is speaking. Vs. 18 – riches and honor are with me.
c. Prov. 8:21 – the houses of those who love wisdom are filled with treasures.
5. Wisdom results in riches for a few good reasons…
a. God’s wisdom exalts diligence and hard work. (Prov.10:4; 12:11; 13:4)
b. This diligence goes for the student in school; the child at home doing his chores; and for the worker in the plant or office; a musician; an inventor;
c. Wisdom DEMANDS diligence… and that usually promotes prosperity. The lazy man is not wise… and his lifestyle results in poverty.
24b But the foolishness of fools is folly.
1. The wise man applies wisdom to his efforts and obtains riches.
2. The fool obtains more folly. All a fool ever gets is folly. That’s all he should expect.
3. There is great benefit in wisdom: riches.
4. What is the benefit of being foolish? More folly. Folly leads to more folly. Wisdom leads to riches. Folly leads to nothing but more folly.
5. A word to the young people… a word to the wise: hang around with fools and you may find yourself sucked into a life of folly…
6. And at the end of your days, what will you have to show for it? Folly… nothing but folly.
7. The fool attempts to get his riches the easy way—usually by some dishonest means…stealing, cheating, etc.
a. Prov. 28:22 – He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
• Seeking fast money—the quick buck—usually ends up in poverty. That’s not wisdom.
b. Prov. 13:11 – Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
c. It is the fool who attempts to obtain riches by a manner other than the way of wisdom. It often results in poverty.
1. The crown of the wise is their riches. The man who is spiritually wise has a crown too.
a. The person who is spiritually wise will put his wisdom to use that he might obtain riches too… heavenly riches.
b. Wisdom put to good use in the natural realm usually results in advancing and prospering in the natural realm… which is good.
c. But putting spiritual wisdom to use in the spiritual realm is far better.
d. Matt. 6:19-20 – the person who LIVES for earthly riches may obtain them… but he might end up lacking the true riches.
e. A spiritually wise man will be putting spiritual wisdom to work. He will lay up treasures in heaven… where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt. That is true wisdom.
f. The worldly-minded man might scoff at him as being foolish! He gave up the opportunity to obtain earthly riches… for what? A pie in the sky? A worldly man would not think that to be very wise. The worldly man thinks like Esau. He wants his porridge now and doesn’t think about tomorrow.
g. However, the spiritually minded man is no fool. It IS wise to give up that which we cannot keep in order to obtain that which we can never lose! That is real wisdom!
h. The earthly minded man may get to wear a crown on earth… but the spiritually minded man will receive a crown in glory! (II Tim. 4:7-8)
• Paul suffered much on earth.
• He sacrificed his earthly crowns… and counted them but dung… refuse that he might win Christ and be found in Him (Phil. 3:7-8)
• Whatever Paul gave up in this life, he more than gains in the life to come.
• If there IS no heavenly crown… no heavenly reward, then sacrificing in this life would be sheer folly! (I Cor. 15:19) But since there IS a heavenly crown, then the man who gives up now to gain later is no fool. He is wise.
• The man who cannot think outside the box of this world is the real fool. He gains a little now and looses out on heavenly rewards that he could have had… forever.
i. Just as in the natural realm, earthly wisdom results in earthly riches (a crown), so too in the spiritual realm, spiritual wisdom also results in heavenly riches (a crown—a reward at the Bema seat).
• This principle in Proverbs applies well to both realms.
• In this life, it makes perfect sense to apply wisdom to our work and efforts, and that usually results in prospering. That is a good thing. Solomon exalts wisdom here.
• But the man who applies spiritual wisdom will prosper too… and this benefit FAR outweighs wisdom in the natural realm.
j. BOTH forms of wisdom would be IDEAL!
• A man who applies every-day wisdom by doing his job well and wisely will prosper… he will gain riches… like a crown!
• That same man should also apply spiritual wisdom to the USE of those earthly riches which he obtained by earthly wisdom…and invest them in such a way that they reap an eternal dividend… using them for the glory of God… and gaining a heavenly crown!
• That is the doubly wise man!
k. This is an example of a principle Paul mentions: godliness is profitable in this life and in the life to come. (I Tim. 4:8)