Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
Money is a necessary part of this life. It is challenging to live in this world without it. The Lord uses it to sustain us as he answers our prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Yet, there is something more valuable than money, jewels, and all the material good of this life: wisdom. Solomon clarifies that wisdom is worth far more than silver, gold, or anything else. That is not in question. The question is whether we see it that way. A few comments:
First, note that we are to take instruction. Of course, that means it is being offered. Another gives it, but it does not serve us if we do not take it. Imagine giving a gift to someone who never opens or uses it. Though offered in kindness and love, the gift is not much use.
Second, note that taking this instruction is compared to the riches of this life. In a sense, the writer is saying, “Here, take this instead of that.” The contrast is established. Instruction and wisdom are preferred over the trinkets this life offers, even if that means much material possessions. The problem is not that we can read that. The problem is that we rarely believe it.
Third, note that the enticement of this life and all that you may desire that you may never possess cannot compare with wisdom. The writer pushes the envelope. We are to prefer instruction and wisdom over money. We are to prefer instruction and wisdom over potential money and possessions.
These things, as simple as they are to understand, are difficult to practice. In order to practice it, we must believe that wisdom and instruction, as found in God’s Word, are to be preferred over all the wealth one may attain in this life. God’s wisdom leads to eternal life.
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