The Story:Wealth can blind people to the things that matter most. Wealth provides a false sense of security to those who have it. It can lead people to think that now they are truly happy. Now they have everything they need. Great wealth also gives people a feeling of influence and power. But all of this is fleeting; when the money goes, so go security, happiness, power, and friends. Still, wisdom is like this, with the exception that the knowledge it brings truly preserves a man’s life because it secures him in eternal verities, invests him with eternal riches, and allows him influence that extends even beyond his own lifetime. Granted, these benefits are intangible; but they are real, and they last. The wise person will strive for whatever lasts – such as the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6.33) – whether he can see it or not (1 Pet. 3.8, 9; Col. 3.1-3).
The Structure:Here again we note Solomon’s poetic skill as he telescopes this proverb out of the previous one, thus making a connection between inheritances and wealth, and the false sense of wellbeing they convey, and wisdom and true knowledge, and the lasting benefits they afford. Another advantage of proverbs is that they can be easily recalled when, in the midst of a life situation, something about our context brings to mind a pearl of wisdom we heard, perhaps long ago. Perhaps Solomon hoped that these references to wealth and money might come to Rehoboam’s mind at some point after Solomon’s departure, so that, by frequent recall he might find his way to the wisdom to which, at present, he seems all too oblivious.
Think of the parables of Jesus: How many of them are based on everyday objects or situations? What can we learn from Solomon and Jesus about helping others to hear – and recall? – the truth of God?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Telling it Slant (1),” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.