Proverbs 8:18-21

Riches and Honor are with Me

18 Riches and honour are with me; Yea, durable riches and righteousness.

1. This is God’s wisdom speaking… as throughout the chapter.

2. Riches and honor are with God’s wisdom.

a. Riches = wealth of any kind

b. Honor = glory, honor, splendor, dignity, reputation

3. Those who follow God’s wisdom throughout their lives will have a life of honor… dignity… a good reputation.

a. He has just spoken about a young man who REFUSED to walk in the way of God’s wisdom.

b. 5:1-4 – Wisdom will keep him from the strange woman.

c. 5:9 – the young man who does NOT follow the words of wisdom will be robbed of his honor…

d. 5:10 – strangers will be filled with your wealth…

e. 5:11-13 – he will regret not having listened to the words of wisdom… and followed instruction.

4. Thus, riches and honor are in the way of wisdom. This is a truth mentioned several times in Proverbs.

a. 3:13, 16 – Lady Wisdom holds riches and honor in her left hand.

b. 4:7-8 – Exalt wisdom and she will exalt you and bring you to honor!

c. 22:4 – Riches and honor come through the fear of the Lord—which is the beginning of wisdom!

d. Thus, four times, this book states that the way of wisdom leads to riches and honor.

e. But those who refuse to walk in the way of wisdom (like the young men in chapters 5 and 7) will LOSE both their riches and their honor!

5. Passages such as these are often taken out of context by the gospel of success folks.

a. They say, “See! The Bible says that if we follow the way of wisdom then we will be wealthy and rise to a position of honor!”

b. This passage promises riches… but DURABLE riches… riches that endure…

c. Durable: enduring, durable, valuable, eminent, or surpassing.

d. What are durable riches? Not money in the stock market. Not the gold that perishes!

e. Proverbs 23:4-5 – Proverbs speaks of earthly riches as fleeting… here today, gone tomorrow! We are NOT to strive to obtain earthly wealth.
• Earthly wisdom (thy own wisdom) will cause us to strive for earthly riches and possessions.
• Godly wisdom will cause us to strive for heavenly riches and treasures! Those are the durable riches!
• Labor not (don’t drive yourself into the ground) for riches that are not enduring… corruptible things such as silver and gold.
• Labor for that which will endure… for eternity! (Matthew 6:19-21) Those are words of wisdom… God’s wisdom!

f. And should we seek honor to ourselves?
• Before this kind of honor is humility!
• This is not a self-aggrandizing kind of honor…
• This is not honor before men… but honor before God! (John 5:44)
• The kind of honor mentioned here is linked together with “righteousness.” (Prov. 8:18)
» The one who walks in the way of wisdom… and in the way of righteousness will not receive honor from men. He will more likely receive ridicule from men.
» Walking in righteousness is considered foolish by many today.
» But he will receive honor from God one day: Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

1. Fruit = produce; product of; the reward of labor; wages; payment;

2. What is the reward for walking in wisdom?

a. In vs.18, he suggests that the fruit is riches… but he defines it as the durable riches…

b. Now he states that the payment for walking in the way of wisdom is BETTER than gold or silver!

3. Those who walk in the way of godly wisdom will not always be rich in this world… but they will have something far better!

a. Wisdom DOES offer a reward to those who follow her ways. It is a treasure unspeakably valuable… far better than gold.

b. They will have riches in heaven.

c. They will have the approval, honor, and blessing of God!

4. Think of the man who chooses NOT to follow the way of wisdom…

a. Some men, like the young fool in ch.7, pursue the pleasures of sin.

b. Other men might seek earthly riches… and live for their jobs and money.

c. In the process, many such men lose that which is truly valuable:
• They lose their marriage…
• They lose their honor…
• Their kids no longer respect them… they lose all self respect;

20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment.

1. God’s wisdom is given that it might LEAD us in the way…

a. Lead – to take on a walk…

b. If we are going to go with Lady Wisdom, we will have to walk where she walks… follow her steps… her pathway…

2. The way of righteousness.

a. There are lots of different ways to go in life…

b. Some SEEM right, but lead to death.

c. Following the way of wisdom doesn’t just seem right; it IS right!

d. Prov. 4:26 – we are challenged to “ponder the path of our feet.”
• THINK about what direction your life is taking right now.
• Apart from Divine wisdom, our feet will NATURALLY wander from the right path.
• Compare that to the wisdom of God recorded in the Word.
• Does it line up? Are we really walking in the way of righteousness?

3. Follow her leading…

a. Cf. 8:17 – Those who love her will seek her… and if you seek you will find.

b. Now she states that as we seek her… she is leading us… down the path of righteousness.

c. She is leading; we are seeking; following; finding; and walking… in the RIGHT pathway.

d. Note her description of those who find her—“them that love me”! (vs. 17)

e. Those who love godly wisdom will have no problem following her leading.

f. She leads down a path of righteousness… and a path of “judgment” or discernment.
• How can you tell if you are following Divine wisdom?
• Are you walking in righteousness? Is the righteousness of God being manifested in your life? Do you do things righteously according to the Scriptures?
• Are you walking in the way of judgement or justice?
• The Bible is the objective check!
• Just because we tote a Bible around and come to church on Sunday doesn’t mean that our life is headed in the way of wisdom. We COULD be headed for destruction.

g. Prov. 4:10-11 – Solomon taught his son to take the right path.
• This wisdom LEADS him down the right paths…
• The right path will keep him safe (vs. 12)
• BUT, Solomon’s son… and each one of us are responsible to CHOOSE the path of wisdom.
• And there will be times when we take the wrong path… and pay a price for it!
• There will be times when after teaching our children to take the right path, they too will swerve off course.
• But the good news is we don’t HAVE to! God’s wisdom is ready, willing, and ABLE to lead us… if we will but follow. (Follow and find!)
• Prov. 6:20-22 – a father’s wisdom will lead the son the rest of his life… it can TALK to you when you are in a difficult place…
• Do YOU allow God’s wisdom to lead you? Are your steps REALLY directed by divine wisdom… or is it the wisdom of the world?

21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

1. Those that love me (those who love wisdom will FOLLOW her leading.)

2. Those who HATE her refuse to listen or follow. (Prov. 1:20, 29-30)

a. Some men do not love wisdom but demonstrate (by the choices they make) that they HATE her.

b. Those individuals will eat the fruit of their own ways. (Prov. 1:31) This speaks of rotten fruit… evil fruit…

3. But those who love wisdom and demonstrate that love by CHOOSING to follow her ways will inherit substance… and will be filled with treasures.

a. Enduring riches and honor are with her.

b. Again, this passage seems to be speaking in figurative terms. (Children who follow wisdom are not really promised that their parents will be rich and will leave them a lot of money!)

c. Rather, Solomon says in poetic language, in this lengthy personification, that Wisdom will leave something quite valuable with those who love her and follow her ways.

d. It is not a literal, earthly inheritance, but rather, wisdom leaves behind a great intangible treasure to those who embrace her.

e. It is better than gold or money. Money gets spent up and it’s gone. But with wisdom, the more you use it, the more you have! It is an unending reservoir of valuable treasures.

f. Our treasure chests can be FILLED with the results of following wisdom:
• Children that love the Lord!
• A happy home where Christ is exalted!
• A conscience that is clean and at rest.
• A content and merry heart…
• Good Christian friends…
• A life that is focused above… not running in 15 different directions at once.

g. AND, wisdom leaves behind a TREASURY from which to draw… like a large bank account.
• You can draw on God’s wisdom today… tomorrow… and in 20 years from now.
• It will lead us today and the rest of our lives.
• If we follow wisdom… and love wisdom… she will FILL our treasure chests with all we need for all we face in life!
• This is like a bank account that can continually be drawn upon but never goes down… never runs dry!