Glory or Shame?
The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.
1. Solomon has given his son a series of exhortations in this chapter.
2. He ends the chapter with a series of contrasts—given as reasons WHY his son ought to obey the previous commands.
3. Solomon contrasts the following:
a. The froward and the righteous (vs. 32)
b. The wicked and the just (vs. 33)
c. The proud scorners and the lowly (vs. 34)
d. Now he contrasts the fool and the wise. (vs. 35)
THE WISE SHALL INHERIT GLORY…
1. Solomon wanted his son to be wise. What parent wouldn’t want their children to be wise?
2. Solomon seeks to make wisdom attractive to his son. It results in glory!
a. Glory = honor; glory; dignity; good reputation…
b. This is attractive. A wise parent will seek to instill in his child a sense of honor… dignity… respect… integrity…
c. Solomon seeks to make this kind of glory a prize to be sought after. He wants it to be attractive to his son.
d. The world makes its evil ways look appealing and attractive!
• Cf. Prov.1:11-14 – they try to lure with promises of excitement and wealth!
• But what they don’t tell you is that this lifestyle is a trap! (1:17) and they are really laying wait for their own lives! (1:18)
e. The devil made evil look appealing to Eve. He showed her that the forbidden fruit was good for food; pleasant to the eyes… desirable to make one wise!
f. The devil made sin look appealing to Christ. He suggested that He turn the stones into bread when He was hungry. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth and their glory.
g. Solomon wants GOOD to look appealing to his son.
3. This is good advice to all parents. Make doing what is RIGHT appealing!
a. This doesn’t mean that we should make it look cool or acceptable to the world! That is a worldly approach.
b. Cool = “in”—acceptable with the “in crowd”. The “in crowd” is not the One we are trying to please!
c. Spiritual things will NEVER be cool with the world. The world hates truth! Darkness hates light.
d. But, as Christians, we should make light (truth; obedience; righteousness) look appealing to our children in a good sense.
e. Parents can do that by holding up and honoring that which is good and pure and holy!
f. Instead of holding up Michael Jordan or some other celebrity a role model, hold up Jesus Christ as a model! Or one of the apostles!
g. Reward good behavior in the home! Praise your children when they make wise choices! Praise them when they do that which is honorable… just for the sake of honor!
h. Make it appealing! It is appealing to God!
i. There ought to be an attractiveness to truth and light to those who are born again!
j. This is what Solomon is doing with his son. He wants his son to know that the wise will inherit glory!
k. He wants his son to know that there is great reward in following the way of wisdom!
4. This glory (honor; dignity) belongs only to the wise. It is their inheritance.
a. Inherit = to get as a possession; to acquire; to inherit.
b. It implies that it might not be acquired immediately.
c. The reward for wisdom is not always immediate… but it is sure.
• For us, the way of wisdom means to follow the Lord. That means suffering and persecution in this life.
• In this life, we may not inherit glory… we may inherit shame—at least in the eyes of the ungodly.
• The martyrs died a shameful death—in the eyes of the world. But they went on to inherit glory!
• If we follow the ways of wisdom, we will not be honored by the world… we will be treated shamefully. (I Thess. 2:2)
• The wise man who lives for the Lord and sacrifices in this life is considered to be a fool by the world. Their motto is “eat, drink, and be merry!” Why pick up a cross? Why suffer? Why sacrifice? The world thinks the godly saint to be a fool! (I Cor. 15:19)
• In this life, we don’t often see the result or the reward of wisdom. But we will in heaven!
• Whatever we suffer in this life for the Lord will seem like nothing compared to the glory that shall follow! (Rom. 8:18)
• When we follow the way of wisdom in this life, the immediate result is often suffering. But when we stand before the judgment seat, the reward will be glory! (I Pet. 1:6-)
• Even if we don’t see it right away, the way of wisdom results in glory! The wise shall inherit glory!
• The straight and narrow way may be quite straight and narrow now—but it leads to everlasting life… we inherit glory at the end!
• The Lord set the pattern—suffering in this life—and GLORY to follow! (I Pet. 1:11)
5. Sometimes, following the way of wisdom DOES result in glory NOW! (or at least profit… a degree of advantage)
a. There IS profit to godliness in this life too. (I Tim. 4:8)
b. Walking in wisdom is the way of godliness.
c. Those who walk in wisdom and follow godliness… will experience a certain degree of “profit” (glory) in this life AND in the life to come…
• The wisdom in proverbs tells us to be diligent in our work. That usually results in profit!
• The wisdom in proverbs warns us against drinking strong drink. That profits our health… relationships… family life…
• The wisdom in proverbs tells us to be careful with the use of out tongue. That too will be profitable in this life!
• The wisdom in proverbs tells us to avoid evil companions. That too results in profit in this life.
• The wisdom in proverbs demands that we be honest. That will be of great profit too—if we can avoid going to jail!
e. We are rewarded from God at the Bema seat in heaven for wise behavior. But there is also some “glory” or profit to be had in this life.
6. Sometimes when we live godly and follow the way of wisdom:
a. We may suffer and be shamed in this life—but inherit glory in heaven!
b. We may experience honor in this life from following wisdom—and then ALSO inherit glory in heaven!
c. It is better to follow the way of wisdom all around.
d. At least ultimately—the wise shall inherit glory.
e. Psalm 84:11 – He gives grace and glory!
f. Prov. 4:8 – exalt wisdom, and she shall promote thee!
g. Dan. 12:3 – They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament for ever and ever!
BUT SHAME SHALL BE THE PROMOTION OF FOOLS.
1. Ultimately, fools inherit shame!
2. However, in this life, fools sometimes do well!
a. Folly in the Bible is not childishness… or silly pranks. It speaks of rebellion… ungodliness… evil… refusal to obey Lady Wisdom (God!)
b. They are eating, drinking, and are merry in this life! They seem to be having a grand old time!
c. The ungodly and those who reject the way of God’s wisdom might prosper in the world! (Ps. 73:1-3)
d. Jer. 12:1 – Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
e. Job 21:7-13 – READ
f. This fact often puzzles the godly. It doesn’t seem fair!
• Solomon wants his son to know that while fools may seem to have power, wealth, and glory in this life, they have nothing but shame waiting for them in the life to come!
• Shame shall be the promotion of fools—regardless of what they say or think now!
3. Promotion: to exalt; to lift up; to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted
a. In this world, it seems that the ungodly are winning. They seem to be exalted. The fools seem to have their share of glory.
b. Who has glory in this life? Movie stars… celebrities… athletes… wealthy tycoons… CEO’s…
c. Many of them (not all!) are ungodly fools!
d. What is it that exalts them today?
• Good looks; money; fame; athleticism; power; etc.
• In the future, they will be exalted in SHAME!
• Charles Bridges: “Their fame will be infamous; their disgrace conspicuous; lifting them up, like Haman upon his elevated gallows!”
4. Daniel 12:2 – And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
a. They will be raised to an eternity of shame!
b. Their shame will be experienced in the Lake of Fire.
c. The only exaltation the fool will have in that day is SHAME!
d. IN that day, God will eternally separate the wise from the fools.
e. Eternal glory for one—eternal shame for the other.
5. Solomon wants wisdom to be appealing. He also wants folly to appear as it really is: shameful!
a. This is good advice for parents today!
b. Solomon wanted to make it clear to his son that he should NOT therefore envy the wealthy, powerful oppressor! (Prov. 3:31)
c. Don’t envy those who seem to be enjoying fame, wealth, power, and glory in this life. Eternal shame is their end.
d. There is nothing appealing about the life of a worldly, ungodly fool! It ends in shame.