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Proverbs (Part 032) - Pro 3:13-15

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13. Pro 3:13 - "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."

A. The man that finds wisdom and gets understanding is a fortunate man who has found favor with God.
B. Today we think of a happy man as one who is cheerful and joyous.
C. But when the KJV was translated, happy meant "having good ‘hap’ or fortune; lucky, fortunate; favoured by lot, position, or other external circumstance" (OED).
i. When Ruth returned to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi after both of them had lost their husbands, "her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz" (Rut 2:3).
ii. As the rest of the story goes on to tell, Ruth was quite fortunate and lucky to have ended up in Boaz's field.

D. Like Ruth, the man that finds wisdom is a happy man.
i. Wisdom is found in the word of God (Pro 2:6) which the natural man cannot understand (1Co 2:14), nor can be subject unto (Rom 8:7).
ii. Furthermore, according to this verse, wisdom is found, which implies that it must be sought after from God (Mat 7:7).
iii. But "there is none that seeketh after God" in his unregenerate state (Rom 3:11).
iv. In order for the word of God to not be foolishness to a man, God has to first save him from his sins (1Co 1:18) and give him a new spirit which can know it (1Co 2:12).
v. Now here's where the happy part comes in.
a. God only saves those whom He foreknew, chose, and predestinated to be His children before the world began (Eph 1:4-5; Rom 8:29-30).
b. Therefore, the man who has the capacity to find wisdom and get understanding is a happy (fortunate) man because he was chosen by God and given that ability.
c. Solomon's father David described the man whom God chooses as a happy man, saying, "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee..." (Psa 65:4).

E. Not only is a man happy to have the ability to find wisdom and get understanding, but he is happier yet when he acquires them.
F. Solomon explains in the next few verses why this is the case.
i. Wisdom's merchandise and gain is better than silver and fine gold (Pro 3:14).
ii. She is more precious than rubies (Pro 3:15).
iii. She affords a long life accompanied by riches and honor (Pro 3:16).
iv. She gives a pleasant and peaceful existence (Pro 3:17).
v. She is a source of abundant life to those who lay hold upon her (Pro 3:18).

14. Pro 3:14 - "For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold."

A. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver
i. In the previous verse, Solomon stated that the man that finds wisdom is happy (blessed and fortunate).
ii. In this verse (Pro 3:14) and the following four (Pro 3:15-18), he gives several reasons why this is so.
iii. The first reason why the man who finds wisdom is happy is that its merchandise is better than the merchandise of silver.
a. Merchandise n. - The action or business of buying and selling goods or commodities for profit; the exchange of commodities for other commodities or for money.
b. Silver has been a highly sought-after metal for millennia because it is rare, valuable, and useful in a variety of applications.
c. Its widespread appeal due to its beauty and utility made it a commodity that could be traded for any other commodity, hence the reason it became money, a universal medium of exchange.
d. For these reasons, its merchandise surpasses that of most other things on this earth.
iv. The merchandise, or exchange value, of silver is high, but not as lofty as wisdom.
a. The same properties that make silver a preferred commodity likewise make wisdom highly desirable.
b. Like silver, wisdom is rare, valuable, beautiful, and useful.
(i) Wisdom is so rare that when Solomon was looking for a wise man, he lamented the fact that, "one man among a thousand have I found" (Ecc 7:28).
(ii) Wisdom is so valuable that it is said to be "the principal thing" (Pro 4:7).
(iii) Principal adj. - 1. First or highest in rank or importance; that is at the head of all the rest; of the greatest account or value; foremost.
(iv) Wisdom is as beautiful as fine jewelry (Pro 25:12).
(v) And finally, wisdom is exceedingly useful, for it guides a man through all of life's decisions, enabling him to choose the best means to the proper ends.
c. As Solomon said, it truly is better to get wisdom than silver (Pro 16:16).

B. And the gain thereof than fine gold.
i. The second reason that the man who finds wisdom is happy is because the gain of wisdom is better than the gain of fine gold.
ii. Gain n. - 1. Booty, prey, spoil. Obs. 2. a. Increase of possessions, resources or advantages of any kind, consequent on some action or change of conditions; an instance of this; profit, emolument; opposed to loss.
iii. Fine gold is gold that is "of superior quality, choice of its kind; free from foreign or extraneous matter, having no dross or other impurity; clear, pure, refined" (OED).
iv. Fine gold is one of the most precious metals in the world.
v. The gain that can be acquired with fine gold is exceedingly high, yet it pales in comparison to the gain that wisdom affords.
a. Gold can fill a man's house with possessions; wisdom gives him the sense to resist doing so (Pro 15:16; Ecc 5:11-12).
b. Gold enables a man to travel the world; wisdom teaches him that time spent in the house of God is far more valuable (Psa 27:4; Psa 84:10).
c. Gold allows a man to live in pleasures; wisdom teaches him to live in obedience to God (Ecc 12:13).
d. Gold makes it possible to eat whatever you want; wisdom teaches moderation (Pro 23:20-21; Php 4:5).
e. Gold makes many friends (Pro 19:4); wisdom filters out and excludes most of them (Pro 13:20; 1Co 15:33).
vi. The gain of wisdom is without a doubt far better than that of fine gold, and happy indeed is the man that finds it.

15. Pro 3:15 - "She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her."

A. In Pro 3:13, Solomon declared that the man that finds wisdom is happy (fortunate).
B. In verse 14, he gave two reasons why that is so.
C. In this verse, he gives two more reasons to prove his case.

D. She is more precious than rubies.
i. Rubies are among the most rare and expensive gemstones on earth, costing between $1000-$3000 per carat for one of high quality.
ii. To this day, rubies are referred to as precious (of great price; having a high value; costly - OED) stones.
iii. As he describes the exceeding value of wisdom, Solomon compares it to increasingly more valuable commodities.
iv. In the previous verse he began by comparing wisdom to silver and then to gold.
a. Historically gold was worth about 16 times as much as silver.
b. Today it is worth about 85 times as much (October, 2019).
v. By weight, rubies are currently worth approximately 200 times as much as gold (August, 2018).
vi. A believer should now begin to understand the immense value that God places on wisdom.
vii. Since wisdom is found in God's word (Pro 2:6), how valuable must reading, searching, and meditating in the scriptures be in the eyes of God?
E. All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
i. In the unlikely case that a man has no interest in silver, gold, or rubies, God gives one final comparison that proves the unparalleled value of wisdom.
ii. All of the things that a man desires cannot equal wisdom.
iii. Wisdom doesn't merely surpass the value of a man's most prized possessions; or even all the things that he owns; or greater yet, all the things that he desires; but rather all the things that he can desire.
iv. Take all of the endless things that a man can think of and wish for and add them all together, and they not only are unequal to wisdom, but they are not to be compared to her.
v. Just as a drop cannot be compared to an ocean, or a candle to a forest fire, so all the priceless things a man can conceive of cannot be compared to wisdom.
vi. Do you now understand why God said that "Wisdom is the principal (first or highest in rank or importance) thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding" (Pro 4:7)?