Proverbs 8:10-12

Lady Wisdom is Clever

10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

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

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

a. Lady Wisdom wants young men to lay hold of wisdom… to marry her… seize…

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

c. In effect, she wants men to be DOERS and not just hearers. (James 1:22)
• When wisdom cried out in all the public places, everyone heard.
• But not many listened… not many paid much attention.
• This is always a concern in the local church too. Many hear the Word.

3. Instruction – discipline, chastening, correction

a. Wisdom corrects us.
• If we are headed down a wrong road, God’s wisdom, found in His Word will point it out to us… if we have ears to hear.
• Parents correct children. Parents have wisdom that children have not yet obtained. Therefore, the correction is good.
• God is our Father. He corrects us. It is His WISDOM that corrects us.

b. Wisdom chastens us.
• If we fail to take heed to the correction… we may be disciplined and chastened.
• If that takes place, it is God’s WISDOM at work.
• God is all-wise. Sometimes we think that we are all-wise… and we choose to travel a road contrary to what God would have us to do.
• At that point, God has to demonstrate to us that it is HE and not we who is all wise. That demonstration might be painful…

c. Real wisdom corrects and chastens if necessary.
• It is the wise parent who disciplines his children.
• Parents who don’t discipline think they are being loving. In reality, they are acting contrary to God’s wisdom. It is folly… and they and their kids will pay a price for that folly.
• In the local church, wise leaders will practice discipline… when called for.

d. When God in His infinite wisdom sees fit to chasten us—RECEIVE it! Receive instruction! It’s good for you.
• It is possible to fight and kick against wisdom… and correction… to resist it… and stubbornly rebel against it.
• Kids do that all the time. Oftentimes this inner rebellion is covered up with silence… but there is rebellion in the heart.
• Whether they outwardly kick against the wisdom… or inwardly rebel against it… it is still rebellion… and folly.
• Lady Wisdom beseeches us to RECEIVE the instruction she gives. It is good for us!

4. Receive IT (instruction) and not silver and gold.

a. Once again, Solomon makes it clear that wisdom is superior to money.

b. Prov.3:14 – the merchandise of it is better than gold!
• Solomon knew what he was talking about. He had more silver and gold than we could dream of. He said that instruction is better!
• Merchandising = profitable
• It is more profitable to have wisdom than gold and wealth.
• It is even more profitable in a financial sense… on a purely materialistic sense—it is more profitable to have wisdom.
• Which would you prefer?
» A million dollars and no wisdom? (how many dollars would you have in a year?)
» OR no money, but the wisdom to earn a million dollars a year?
» Think of some of the immigrants that come here from Vietnam or India—who are wise in the ways of the world. They come broke and through wisdom and hard work make a good life for themselves.
» Then think of some of the airheads graduating from high school today—with all the advantages in the world, and they spend their money on cocaine…
» It is far better to have wisdom than to have gold.

c. Wisdom is better than gold.
♦ A believer might successfully accumulate wealth, but what profit is it if he ruins his health in the process and cannot enjoy it? (Ecc. 6:1-2)
♦ A believer might successfully accumulate wealth, but what profit it is if he can’t even sleep at night worrying about it? (Ecc. 5:12)
♦ A believer might successfully accumulate wealth, but what profit is it if it causes you to forget God? (Deut. 8:11-14)

11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

1. Not only is wisdom better than rubies (money). It is better than “all the things that may be desired!”

2. What are some of the other things men desire?

a. Fame – wisdom is better than fame. Do you know any famous people whose personal lives were in shambles? Hollywood is full of examples.

b. Power – do you know any powerful people who ruined their lives through foolishness? You can be the president of the United States and ruin your life through foolish behavior! Wisdom is better than power.

c. Position – perhaps you desire a certain position in your company… or perhaps you desire to be the lead violinist in the Boston symphony… perhaps you desire a position in the church… or on the Red Sox… wisdom is better.

d. The words ALL THINGS is all inclusive! It includes anything else that anyone might desire! Fill in the blank—and wisdom is greater!

e. No doubt some of you young people here tonight have lots of ideas as to what you would like in life… things you desire to do… to be… to have…

f. NOTHING can be compared to wisdom. It is in a class by itself.

g. You have a copy of God’s wisdom in your hands! It is better than money, fame, power, position… and all other things your heart might desire!

3. Phil. 3:4-8 – Paul left a lucrative position in Judaism behind in order to pursue the knowledge of God in the person of Jesus Christ!

a. He chose wisdom over earthly wealth and success. He is our example today.

b. Paul knew that what he left behind was not even to be compared to the knowledge of God—the wisdom of God in Christ that he found! By way of comparison, he said they were like dung!

12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

1. Lady Wisdom has a roommate. She dwells with prudence.

a. Dwell – to settle down, abide, dwell, tabernacle, reside

b. Lady Wisdom’s sister is named prudence
• in a negative sense = shrewdness or craftiness;
• in a positive sense = prudence; skillfulness;

2. Prudence is the product of wisdom. Prudence is a DOER of the Word of wisdom.

a. Proverbs 12:23 – a prudent man conceals knowledge… isn’t a blabbermouth.

b. Prov. 12:26 – a prudent man covers shame—(suppresses his anger)

c. Prov. 14:8 – a prudent man knows where he is going… he understands the direction his life is taking… he ponders the path of his feet.

d. Prov. 14:16 – the prudent man is not gullible; he looks well to his going.

e. Prov. 14:18 – the prudent man is crowned with knowledge.

f. Prov. 22:3 – a prudent man foresees evil and avoids it.

g. Prudence seems to put wisdom into PRACTICE.

h.) Thus, wisdom and prudence DWELL together. The one who really has received wisdom will conduct his life in a prudent manner.

i. It is possible to have wisdom in the head, but not practice it. Prudence practices wisdom.

3. Wisdom finds out witty inventions.

a. Witty inventions: purpose, discretion, device, plot

b. Find out = discover; detect

c. You don’t pull the wool over the eyes of Lady Wisdom. She is too clever.
• She sees through the cunning plots of evil men.
• She is not gullible.
• Men might concoct “witty inventions” (clever plots) to deceive, but wisdom finds them out.
• The devil has devised his wiles against us—witty inventions. But we are not to be ignorant of his devices. Wisdom studies the Word and finds them out… and avoids trouble thereby!

d. Through wisdom, the Lord Jesus avoided many of the witty inventions of His enemies!
• Matt. 12:14-15 – He withdrew… wisely… and avoided trouble.
• Matt. 22:15-22 – the adversary came with their witty inventions to trap Him, but in the end, they marveled at His wisdom.
• Matt. 22:46 – His words of wisdom and prudent behavior ended their questions.
• I Peter 2:15 – we are urged to demonstrate the same kind of wisdom and prudent behavior. Our “well doing” will put to silence the ignorance of foolish men… and all of their witty inventions.
• Of course, the Lord Jesus is the Source of our wisdom. He abounds towards us in all wisdom and prudence! (Eph. 1:8)

4. The person with wisdom and prudence (who avoids the clever inventions of his enemies) will not only be safe. He will be HAPPY too!

a. Prov. 3:13 – happy is the man!

b. Prov. 8:36 – Whoever rejects wisdom will NOT be happy. He is sinning against his own soul… wronging himself!
• Ex: the young boy rebels against his father’s wise counsel and refuses to do his homework. He is only hurting himself! He is the one who will pay in the end…
• Ex: wisdom says, “Obey God and you will experience blessedness; happiness.”

c. It is the fool who says that obeying God and walking the straight and narrow is boring. The fool will pay for his folly eventually.

d. The fool says, “I won’t be happy until I break away from God and do my own thing. God is too restrictive. I can’t be happy if I follow Him!”

e. In reality, real, lasting happiness comes from following the way of wisdom!

f. Foolish ways and decisions will linger to haunt you. Wise, prudent decisions will bring delight and blessing the rest of your life.