Fruit Better Than Gold

Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver” (vv. 18–19).

- Proverbs 8:12–21

How valuable are the lessons that Lady Wisdom can teach to her subjects? No one (except the Lord), Lady Wisdom tells us, can calculate the value of what she reveals. Far more valuable than silver, choice gold, or jewels, no inheritance can be greater than divine wisdom (Prov. 8:10–11, 19). In fact, pursuing Lady Wisdom is the only way to be sure of receiving an inheritance. Those who love her have their treasuries filled (vv. 20–21). Living according to the wisdom that God has revealed in Scripture will lead to material prosperity. This is not a crass “name it and claim it” theology that is designed to manipulate the Lord into giving us exactly what we want every time we pray. Instead, it is a recognition that the Creator of the universe is in the best position to reward created human beings. Those who seek to learn and apply God’s principles of wisdom are in the best position to experience material prosperity. However, we must remember that such prosperity is not guaranteed in this life. God is sovereign in the distribution of His blessings, and some wise and righteous people do not prosper greatly on this side of glory. Yet all of God’s people will certainly prosper in the age to come (Rev. 21).

The gift that Lady Wisdom promises to the child of any ordinary family in ancient Israel is the same wisdom by which kings rule (Prov. 8:15–16). Certainly, the point is not that every king or ruler is automatically wise by virtue of holding a position of authority, nor does Lady Wisdom mean that she distributes her gifts to all people and all rulers in equal measure. There are, in fact, foolish kings who spurn God’s gift of wisdom. What Lady Wisdom is saying is that the gift she offers is so useful that good rulers direct their kingdoms by it. Clearly, this points to the need for government to submit to its ultimate Sovereign. Government does not exist to rule in place of Jesus; it exists to fulfill its divinely appointed duty to punish evildoers (Rom. 13:1–7). Our political leaders should be the first to acknowledge their need for divine wisdom and for the Lord to bless them if they are to succeed. Regrettably, our political leaders are often among the last to make such an acknowledgment, if they ever make it at all. Matthew Henry comments, “whatever qualifications for government any kings or princes have they are indebted to the grace of Christ for them; he gives them the spirit of government, and they have nothing, no skill, no principles of justice, but what he endues them with.”

Coram Deo

Understanding that our leaders rule well by the wisdom of God helps us to remember whom we should thank when we are blessed with good rulers who look out for their people. Just leaders are a gift from the Lord, and when the state leaves the church to do its work in peace, it is because God has gifted us with government leaders who wisely understand their place in the world. Let us pray that our Creator would grant us such leaders for our nation.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 2:10–12
Proverbs 20:26
Colossians 1:9
1 Timothy 2:1–2

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