Proverbs 16:16

The Value of Wisdom


1. The section on royalty ended with verse 15.

2. Now Solomon speaks on another theme… a very common theme in the book of Proverbs: wisdom.

3. The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom… (Prov. 1:1-2)

4. This particular proverb emphases obtaining and choosing wisdom.

Getting and Choosing

1. GET = buy; to get; acquire; to purchase; to possess.

a. Gen. 25:10 – Here it is translated “purchased”. He possessed the land… and it became his possession.

b. Ruth 4:10 – Boaz purchased Ruth to be his wife. He saw her. His affections were attracted to her. He desired her. He chose her. He paid a price to obtain her as his wife—by becoming the kinsman redeemer. He GOT her. She was his. Boaz desired Ruth. Out of all the women he COULD have married, he CHOSE Ruth. He paid the price of redemption to obtain her.

c. II Sam. 24:24 – And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” David paid a price. He realized how serious a matter was at hand… he didn’t want to obtain it the EASY way… free… no cost…

d. The term is translated “get” most often in Proverbs, but elsewhere it is usually translated “buy” or “purchase”.

e. It implies the following:
• It is purchased because of an inward affection for; a desire to obtain.
• A purchase that is valuable… a comparable price is paid. It is costly to obtain it.
• It is purchased as a choice… this out of many other choices.
• Once purchased, it becomes the possession of the one who paid the price.

2. The term Solomon uses means that wisdom and understanding are PURCHASED. (get)

a. Of course he does NOT mean that they are purchased with money. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

b. If that was the case, then wealthy people would all be wise… and that is NOT the case. In fact, Solomon makes a case here for just the opposite! Those who choose wealth are not necessarily wise!

c. Wisdom and understanding are purchased… but not with money.

d. They are purchased in the sense that there is a PRICE to be paid to obtain wisdom… there is a cost… a loss…

e. In wisely choosing the straight and narrow road over the broad road that leads to destruction… we choose wisdom, but pay a price… you have restricted yourself greatly!

f. Getting or purchasing involves a CHOICE. Out of all the things in the world we COULD choose, we choose wisdom.

g. Those who obtain wisdom made a choice in life… a choice that costs us dearly… but is worth it in the end.

h. It is a choice made because of a desire; inward affection. Those who choose wisdom and understanding do so because of an inward affection for it… an affection that outweighs the love of the world… and the things of the world.

i. And those who had an inward affection for wisdom… those who made that choice because they were willing to pay the price… become the possessors of it!

j. Wisdom and understanding don’t just happen. It starts in the heart… with a burning desire for wisdom… a heart that is willing to sacrifice to obtain wisdom… and actually pays the price to purchase it. THEN it becomes ours.

k. The fact that we are to GET wisdom indicates that we don’t possess it on our own… it comes from an outside source: Christ…

3. Wisdom and understanding are CHOSEN.

a. “Rather to be CHOSEN than silver…”

b. Chosen: choose; elect; decide for; select.

c. As a noun it means “best” or “choice” as in “choice meat”… that which is viewed as the finest… (often translated that way in the Old Testament – chosen soldiers; chosen chariots.

d. Zodhiates: As a verb it means to take a keen look at, to prove, to choose. It denotes a choice, which is based on a thorough examination of the situation and not an arbitrary whim.

e. They were chosen because they were CHOICE… the best… the finest…

f. Solomon states that wisdom and understanding are CHOSEN rather than silver.

g. In other words, all the options are thoroughly examined… the man takes a keen look at what is before him… and he CHOOSES that which is choice… the finest… the best.

h. He chooses wisdom and understanding OVER silver and gold!

i. When they are observed carefully and thoughtfully, the comparative value will always weigh in favor of WISDOM!

j. It is much finer than gold… more valuable… a much better choice!

k. When you have special guests coming to your home, you go to the meat market to get the meat for the meal. At the market, there is an array of choices available… all spread out before you. If you think highly of your guests, then you will choose the CHOISEST meat. That means that you bypass some meat that is ok… and you go for that which is the finest. Then you take it to the counter… and you pay a price. There is a cost associated with purchasing choice meat.

l. Solomon says that obtaining wisdom is like that.
• There is quite an array of choices available to us in life.
• In particular, he speaks of the choice between silver and gold… and wisdom and understanding.
• He states that choosing wisdom and understanding is the BETTER choice… it is the finest… they are choice… superior to silver and gold.
• But the choice is ours.

4. Prov. 8:10-11 – Wisdom and understanding are to be bought… chosen… AND received.

a. Lady Wisdom urges the readers to RECEIVE what she offers them: instruction and knowledge.

b. Receive = to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, snatch, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife…

c. Lady Wisdom wants young men to lay hold of wisdom… seize…

d. Wisdom is crying out… now she wants men to receive what she says.

e. It is one thing to choose it… and to buy it. It is one thing to KNOW it. It is another thing to allow it to sink in… to RECEIVE it into our hearts… that’s where wisdom counts.

f. It is not received into the heart and life, it is simply data. Precious and valuable data… but useless until put in its proper place in the heart.

g. We KNOW way more truth than we receive. Wisdom cries out to be received!

5. Solomon states that the GETTING of wisdom and understanding is BETTER than getting gold or silver.

a. Wisdom is BETTER… more valuable…

b. I Kings 10:23 – Solomon should know. He had plenty of BOTH!
• He was a king… with all the gold and silver he inherited from David… who won many battles and brought home the booty.
• He was given more wisdom than any man on earth.
• He more than anyone is able to say which is better.

c. The choice is ours… and one choice is BETTER than the other. So which one will YOU or I choose?

d. The choice is costly. We may pay dearly for it.

e. The choices we make will be based on the issue of the HEART.

f. If the affection of the heart is on silver and gold, then that will be our choice.

g. If the affection of the heart is on wisdom from God to live a life more pleasing to Him, then wisdom will be our choice.

h. I John 2:15 – LOVE NOT… “the things of the world.”
• The things of the world includes many “things”… but it certainly includes silver and gold… money… money makes the world go round.
• Love is a choice. We CHOOSE that which we want our affections to be attached to.
• We can either put our affection on the things of earth… (like silver and gold) OR we can put our affections on things above. That is a choice.
• Where we place our affections is a choice.
• And once we place our affections on something, we usually go for it… seek to obtain it… and are willing to pay any price to get it.
• Prov. 2:2-6 – believers are to SEEK wisdom with the same degree of fervor, intensity, sacrifice, zeal, commitment, and passion that greedy men use in seeking gold and silver.
• Consider the dedication of the men who left the east coast in a horse and buggy to find gold in the California gold rush… or the Alaska gold rush.
• They sacrificed EVERYTHING to obtain it… because they knew the earthly value of it. There was no question but that their hearts were in it!
• We should be willing to sacrifice everything to obtain wisdom from above… because we see the heavenly and eternal value of it.
• If our heart is in obtaining God’s wisdom, the heart’s desire will drive us to great lengths to obtain it…
• We will be willing to sacrifice the gold trinkets of this world to obtain it…
• That’s the point of this proverb! How much BETTER is it to get wisdom than gold!
• What a much better choice it is to choose understanding over silver!
• Prov. 8:11 – It is better than rubies too… and ALL other things that might be desired on earth. It is far better!
• Prov. 8:19 – Her fruit is better than gold and CHOICE silver! (the best of silver)
• Which proves to be more valuable in the long run?
» Which would YOU invest in? A man with a million dollars but no wisdom… OR a man with a thousand dollars but LOTS of wisdom.
» Who would fare better in 5 years?
» There are sharks out there who feast on wealthy people with no wisdom… and there are plenty of them!
» But the man with lots of wisdom and a thousand dollars might quickly turn his 1000 into a million…
» The difference is wisdom. It is the principle thing.
» The FRUIT is far better in the long run.

6. Practically, this should affect our every day lives.

a. Where do we obtain God’s wisdom and understanding? From God’s Word…

b. Thus, wisdom is obtained by spending TIME in His Word…

c. The local church is the place where God’s Word is taught…

d. Personal devotion time in the word each day is also essential in obtaining wisdom.

e. Silver and gold can sometimes pull us AWAY from obtaining God’s wisdom…

f. Silver and gold… and the OTHER things of the world vie for our affection and our time.

g. We have to LOVE wisdom before we will seek it. It IS a matter of the heart.

h. Psalm 119:127 – “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.”

i. Can YOU say that?

j. It is up to us which one we choose. We will choose that which seems CHOICE to us… the one our heart and affection have been drifting towards will be our choice.

k. Thus, the proverb: How much BETTER is it to get wisdom than gold… or anything else the world offers.

l. “How much better!” This speaks of Solomon’s shock at the disproportion in the comparison. Wisdom is SO much better that there is really no comparison!

m. Prov. 23:5 – Heavenly riches (like divine wisdom) are far better than earthy riches. MUCH better! They last forever… Earthly wealth flies away! The word of God abides forever.

n. Jesus said that heavenly thieves can steal our earthly wealth… but NOT our heavenly… not wisdom.

o. The wisdom in God’s word is FAR better… as far as the heaven is above the earth…

p. In Ecc. Solomon states that there is a vanity and vexation of spirit associated with the getting of earthly wealth… not so with heavenly wisdom!

q. Col. 2:3 – In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

r. Paul saw ALL THINGS in the world (power; position; prestige) compared to the knowledge of Christ were as dung.

s. There is no vexation of soul with Christ… only satisfaction.

t. Prov. 3:15 – HAPPY is the man that finds wisdom… because he CHOSE it!