Increasing vs. Ruling

Proverbs 29:2 – “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”

I find this to be a fascinating contrast. As many proverbs do, this proverb contrasts the righteous and the wicked. The result of the contrast is straight forward – because of the thing the righteous do the people rejoice, but because of the thing the wicked do the people groan. So far, so good.

But what is this proverb really contrasting? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to say that when the righteous rule the people rejoice and when the wicked rule the people groan? Seemingly, if when the wicked rule the people groan, then it would be better for the righteous to rule so that the people would rejoice. If this were the case, then we would be saying that one type of rule of man by man is better than another. But, that’s not what this proverb is saying.

We must pay careful attention to the action of the righteous and the wicked that is being contrasted – increase vs. rule. The righteous increase. The wicked rule.

The word increase here is the same word used over and over in the Old Testament in the phrase “be fruitful and multiply.” The word increase is often used in the context of bearing children. Before Jesus, this was predominantly understood in the physical sense – for the righteous to increase, to be fruitful and multiply, was to have more children. After Jesus, we gain a spiritual understanding of “increase.” We cannot multiply or produce other believers. Only the Holy Spirit can do that (John 3). But having been born again by the Spirit, we are able to bear the fruit of the Spirit as we abide in the true vine, which is Christ. The fruit born is not for ourselves, but it is to be eaten by others. As those who have been made righteous in Christ bear the fruit of the Spirit, others come to know, to experience, Jesus. The righteous increase and the people rejoice.

But, the word rule means to rule or to make someone lord. It has the idea of one person taking authority over another person. It can even have the connotation of superiority of the one ruling. Remember how the mother of the sons of Zebedee asked for her two sons, who were of the twelve, to sit on the right and left of Jesus when he was on his throne. The other 10 disciples were upset at this request. Jesus responded, “You know the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.” (Matthew 20:25) The wicked rule. They take authority over others. They lord their power over them. They bear down on them. And, the people groan.

So, the proverb is not comparing one type of rule to another – the rule of the righteous to that of the wicked. Rather, the proverb is comparing two fundamentally and altogether different actions – increasing versus ruling. Bearing fruit versus lording it over another. Serving versus taking authority over another. On the one hand the people rejoice. On the other hand they groan.

In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus goes on to say, “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.”

Judges 9 is a worthwhile passage to read in connection with this proverb. The chapter contains a parable of trees seeking a king to rule over them. The trees go to a variety of other trees asking for that particular tree to rule over all the trees. But, the olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine all say they cannot stop bearing their fruit to rule over the other trees. But, then the trees ask the bramble to be king, to rule over them. You know what’s interesting about bramble? It’s prickly. It has thorns. Many consider it a weed because of its tendency to grow in neglected areas and its sharp, tough thorns. (Perhaps all of the above explains why we get the type of people we do to run for president!) See, the parable is contrasting bearing fruit and serving with ruling and lording it over. When you know your purpose, the fruit God has called you to bear, that your life is to be a living sacrifice, carrying about the death of the Lord Jesus, to bring life to others, to reconcile them to God, you cannot be turned from that purpose to rule over others.

Later in Proverbs 29:25-26 it says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.” How important this is with what has happened this week in Charlotte and Tulsa and the election season that is upon us. We don’t need to seek after so-and-so to lead us. We shouldn’t think that so-and-so will get us on the right track.

No, we need to trust Jesus, to seek him and his kingdom. He is the Lord! Then we will have justice and every other thing he has promised us.

Bodies “A” Living Sacrifice

“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him to water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” – Proverbs 25:21-22

In Romans 12, Paul writes to the brothers, the church, that they should present their bodies as a living sacrifice. Note carefully that “your bodies” is plural and “a living sacrifice” is singular.

Why is this so? Paul continues by saying that each one of us is a member of one body. Just as a body has different parts with different functions that are all necessary for the body to live, the same is true of the church. It is made up of different people with different gifts that are all necessary for proper functioning. In the church, the individual members, “your bodies,” must all come together with the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit so that the church can present “a living sacrifice.” I cannot present “my body” as “a living sacrifice.” My body does not have all the necessary gifts to be a living sacrifice on its own. “A living sacrifice” can only be presented as “one body in Christ.”

What does this have to do with the quote from Proverbs above?

We know love because Jesus Christ died for us. He died for us when we were still sinners, when we were his enemies. So, when Jesus commands us to love our enemies, he is telling us to love the unbeliever as he loved us. So, the church as Christ’s body on the earth, the living, tangible expression of Jesus that the unbeliever can see, hear, and touch, is to show the unbeliever love by dying for them, presenting their bodies a living sacrifice. I cannot truly do this on my own. Rather, it takes all the members together to be a living sacrifice, loving as Jesus loved.

After urging the brothers in Rome to present their bodies a living sacrifice and explaining how they are each a member of the body of Christ with a different function, Paul continues by saying that this is all to display Christ’s love. For two paragraphs he tells us what the love of these many members coming together as one body looks like. At the end of the two paragraphs, Paul quotes the passage from Proverbs 25:21-22.

It’s easy to think loving your enemies was a new concept that Jesus was presenting. That it was different than the way God was in the Old Testament. Not true! Paul is showing that loving your enemies has always been God’s way. It has always been the way that God’s people would show God’s love to rest of the world.

God has not changed, but our perception of who God is has changed as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ.

120 Trumpeters in the Temple, 120 Disciples at Pentecost

2 Chronicles 5:11-14 – “And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,’ the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”

At the dedication of the temple that Solomon built we find 120 trumpeters. These 120 trumpeters were to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. When they did so, the glory of the Lord filled the house.

What is this a picture of? Could it be the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out the 120 disciples who spoke in tongues to all those who had gathered from the nations?

Speaking of the disciples and the women with them, Acts 1:14-15 says the 120 disciples were with one accord devoting themselves to prayer. In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes with a mighty sound and fills them and they spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. At the sound of this taking place, the multitude gathers together. What did they hear? Acts 2:11 says, “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” These 120 disciples made “themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.”

These 120 disciples were trumpeters. One of the functions of a trumpet in the Bible was to call together the assembly. In Exodus 19-20, the nation of Israel is called together with a trumpet to Mount Sinai so that God can give them his covenant. In Acts 2, Jews were gathered from every nation to hear the 120 trumpeters singing the praises of God. The scattered Jews were being called to a new covenant, the one Jesus declared the night before he was crucified.

In 2 Chronicles 5 above we read “for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Steadfast love is the language of God’s covenant. Peter says the events in Acts 2 are happening in fulfillment of God’s plan. Peter quotes a passage from Joel that says God was pouring out his Spirit on all flesh in the last days. What do we read in 2 Chronicles 5 above? “The glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” This was the beginning of the knowledge of God covering the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Solomon’s Temple: Who Built What and Where Did It Go?

Below are a couple of things that stood out to me from 1 Kings 7-8 this morning that I’m still meditating on.

The temple that Solomon built was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. It took Solomon seven years to build it. But, the house that Solomon built for himself was 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. It took Solomon 13 years to build his own house. While Solomon’s house was the same height as the temple, it was longer and wider. Therefore, the house that Solomon built for himself was larger than the temple he built for the name of the Lord. Also, Solomon finished the temple in seven years. Seven is the number of completion or perfection in the Bible. Thirteen, the number of years it took Solomon to build his own house, is the number of lawlessness or rebellion in the Bible.

Solomon built a house of perfection for the Lord, but he built one of lawlessness and rebellion for himself.

While the above is interesting, the following is what really excites me. In the temple there were vessels of bronze, silver, and gold. All of the bronze vessels were made by Hiram, the king of Tyre. In the Bible, bronze speaks of judgment. And, the king of Tyre is likened to Satan in Ezekiel 28. All of these bronze vessels were in the outer court. None of them were actually inside the temple itself as there is no judgment inside the temple – “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Jesus was the sacrifice on the bronze altar. In his body he bore our sins and took the judgment that we deserved. He is the water in the sea of bronze – the Word of God made flesh – that was made a curse for us and, again, received the judgment we deserved.

Solomon, who is a type of the resurrected and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, only made vessels of gold that were inside the temple. Gold speaks of divinity, purity, and godliness. The vessels that Solomon made were of pure gold.

There are also vessels of silver in the temple. But, these vessels had been dedicated by David and were brought into the temple by Solomon to be stored in the treasuries of the Lord. Silver speaks of redemption in the Bible. David, as a type of Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry, waged spiritual war on our behalf and secured our redemption on the cross in the sacrifice of his body and the shedding of his blood, which he carried into the heavenly temple.

So, only the things of gold and silver, the things of godliness and redemption, which Solomon and David as types of Christ made, are inside the temple. The things of bronze, the things of judgment, which Hiram as a type of Satan made, are in the outer court.

Whenever we find gold in nature it also contains some silver and some copper (which is the main component of bronze). A natural gold nugget is usually 70-95% gold, and the remainder a mix of silver and copper. The more copper that is in the nugget, the “dirtier” the gold nugget appears to be. But, inside the temple, the copper (bronze) has been removed from the gold by fire. It’s been purified. A pure gold nugget would be a bright golden yellow. But, the presence of silver changes the color of the nugget. How so? The more silver that is in the gold, the whiter the gold. Take some time to study the color white in the Bible.

Solomon: A Type of Jesus, Temple Builder

1 Kings 6:1, 37 – “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord…In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv.”

In the Bible, God tends to repeat times and stories, showing us different perspectives of the life of Jesus. It was 480 years after Israel was led out of Egypt by God that Solomon began building the temple. After Israel entered the land, the nation sinned and was sent into exile in Babylon by God. God brought Israel out of its Babylonian exile, just like he brought them out of Egypt, 70 years later.

So, when did the return to the promised land take place? One resource says it happened between 500 and 425 BC. More specifically, another source says that there were three separate times that Israel returned from the exile in Babylon. The last return was in 444 BC (or very close to it). If we add to this the length of Jesus’ life, then we get about 480 years after the last Israelites returned from exile in Babylon (if I had a better knowledge of history I’m sure we could get the 480 years exactly). Just like Solomon, this is when Jesus began to build the temple that is his body, the church. In John 2:19, “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’”

This puts us at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus’ death on the cross was the defeat of Satan. Colossians 2:15, speaking of Christ’s death on the cross, says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” This victory on the cross is important, because we read in 1 Kings 5 that the temple could not be built in a time war. In 1 Kings 5:3-5, Solomon says, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’” On the cross, Jesus defeated the adversary, bringing in peace and rest. Having died and been resurrected, God placed Jesus on the throne and he began building the temple made up of all believers.

It was in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign that he began building the temple. We could think of Jesus’ reign beginning at his baptism. Indeed, after his baptism, in Matthew 3:2, Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This was the start of Jesus’ ministry. According to the gospels, his ministry covered a period that included four Passovers. It was on the fourth Passover, or in the fourth year, that Jesus died, which was when he began building his temple. Just like we read of Solomon in 1 Kings 6.

1 Kings 6 further tells us that Solomon began building in the month of Ziv, which is the second month. The Passover, and therefore Jesus’ crucifixion, occurred in the first month. Pentecost took place 50 days after the Passover. The second month is important because that was the time of Pentecost. It was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 disciples in the upper room. It was at Pentecost that the disciples received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” Therefore, Jesus did indeed begin building the temple in the second month for that is when the disciples where filled with his Spirit.

This brings us to the end of 1 Kings 6 where we read that Solomon laid the foundation of the temple in the fourth year. We saw above that it was in the fourth year of his ministry, or reign, that Jesus died and began building the temple. There was a period of 40 days between his resurrection and his ascension that Jesus taught the disciples. Acts 1:1-3 says, “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during the forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” What is the foundation of the temple, or the church? All that Jesus taught the disciples during this 40 day period. Ephesians 2:19-22 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure being joined together, grows in a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

The events recorded in the Old Testament scriptures are not there by chance. They are recorded for a specific purpose – to bear witness of Jesus.

Hearing then Repentance then Sight

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” – Proverbs 21:2

We take an action, any action, because it seems like the right thing to do from our perspective. Our actions and our words are driven by what is in our heart. The problem is that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“…but the Lord weighs the heart.” Only the Lord knows what is in our heart. Only he knows what is driving our decisions. And, only he knows what must be changed within our heart so that it is pure and our actions and our words become just.

Therefore, you must “apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 23:12) Notice that our ways seem right to our eyes, but our ears are to be used to attain knowledge.

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even you.” – Proverbs 22:17-19

Again, we read that it is the ear that must be inclined, or tuned, to hear the words of the wise. The ear that hears is linked with the heart that is applied to knowledge, to wisdom, to understanding. Why is this the case? “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

Our eyes deceive. We think we know what is right based on what we see. But, it is through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, that we receive faith, that we trust God to lead us and order every step we take. Once we have heard the Lord, allow him to direct us, then we can see clearly. Read the scriptures carefully and you will see this pattern: hearing, then repentance, then sight.

True repentance is an act of humility. It is admission that I don’t know what is right. It’s an admission that my heart is wicked and that I don’t know what to do. And, as a result of that admission, I’m going to turn to God and let him direct everything that I do. I’m going to let him lead instead of trying to do what I think is right.

This is why our ears have to be constantly listening for Jesus (through reading the Bible or listening to preaching with the Holy Spirit teaching us). Then God’s words will be on our heart. And, what is in the heart will be on our lips to direct us, lead us, and keep us from lies that lead in the wrong direction. Because, there are many times we don’t have a Bible handy or have time to look up a verse to see what God says in a particular situation. No, we need the Living Word, Jesus Christ, within our hearts so that moment by moment he can direct us.

What is the result of the humility displayed in repentance? “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

However, this isn’t riches and honor according to the world. Ephesians 2:4-7 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God is giving us the riches of Christ, which is every spiritual blessing according to Ephesians 1. And, he has given us a place of honor, to be seated with Christ who is on the throne in heaven. That is life.

Eyes and Ears Feed the Mind

“The light of the eye rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” – Proverbs 15:30-32

“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” – Proverbs 20:12

Jesus spoke in parables, stories that often had a concealed meaning. Jesus’ disciples asked him why he did this. Jesus said he did this because even though they (those who weren’t his disciples) saw they didn’t see and even though they heard they didn’t hear. Then Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah, “‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.’ For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13:14-15) There were too many other things than the deeds and words of Jesus going into the eyes and ears of these people for them to see and hear what they were saying. Therefore, their minds and hearts were polluted.

But, talking to his disciples, Jesus says, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16). There was nothing special about his disciples that caused them to be able to truly see and hear what Jesus was saying. As Proverbs 20:12 says, it is the Lord that makes an individual’s eyes and ears able to see and hear.

Proverbs 15 tells us the importance of the eye and ear. The light of the eye rejoices the heart and the ear listens to life-giving reproof (words). Jesus tells us specifically about this.

In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” The word for healthy actually means single. Jesus says, “If you eye is single…” This means that if your eye has a single focus, then your whole body will be full of light. Our single focus should be Jesus. We should look at nothing else. Paul writes in his letter to Colossians to set your mind on Christ.

Jesus also speaks of words of reproof that are life-giving in the book of Revelation chapters 1-3. Look at his words to the seven churches. In most cases, Jesus commends the seven churches for something they are doing well, but then he reproves them for something they are not doing. These words of reproof are meant to give life. After the reproof, Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Jesus follows that statement by saying the one who takes action on the word of reproof will be an overcomer, that is they will conquer death and have life.

Jesus and Paul state that what goes in the mouth (food) doesn’t really matter because it goes into the stomach and then out of the body. However, they both tell us the importance of what goes in the eye and in the ear because both what we see and what we hear goes into our mind and heart. And, what comes out of our mouths is what is in our hearts and that is what defiles us (Matthew 15:18).

Therefore, we must be very diligent about what we allow into our eyes and ears. We must guard these gateways to our hearts carefully. What goes in our eyes and in ears doesn’t leave our body like food. It gets stuck there. But, by focusing what we see and what we hear on Jesus we will be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2).

Let Jesus Interpret Proverbs

The following proverbs stood out to me while reading Proverbs 9-14.

“The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”

“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”

“The soul of the sluggard gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

“The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.”

Proverbs says that no earthly desire can compare with wisdom, with Jesus. So we see above that the wise person, the one who is seeking after Jesus, will never go hungry, will have plenty of bread, will be richly supplied, and will have enough to satisfy his appetite.

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus is the word of God made flesh. We need to feed on him to be satisfied.

John 6 is the account of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. In verse 35, Jesus said to those gathered, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Jesus is the true bread that feeds us and gives us life. It’s Jesus that satisfies.

Matthew 6 comes towards the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It is the declaration of the king at the inauguration of his kingdom. In verses 31-33, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We are to “seek first” the kingdom of God, or Jesus. Seeking first does not mean first time and then the other things after that. Seeking first means make the kingdom of God, Jesus, the principle thing in your life. It is the one thing you should seek. God will take care of the rest. If you diligently do this, then God will supply you richly.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

To truly understand Proverbs, we need to know what Jesus says and allow that to interpret Proverbs for us.

Which Tree Are You Eating From?

Proverbs 3:13-15, 18

“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her…She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.”

The Bible declares that Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). So, I believe when we read about wisdom in Proverbs, particularly the first eight chapters, we are reading about Jesus. According to the passage of above, finding Jesus, getting Jesus, is better than getting silver, gold, or precious jewels. In other words, spiritual riches are better than earthly riches. No earthly desire can compare with Jesus.

Verse 18 above says that wisdom, Jesus, is a tree of life. While I have not found any verse in the Bible that explicitly says that Jesus is the tree of life, I believe it is quite clear when you look at scripture in total.

But, in the garden of Eden, there was another tree right next to the tree of life – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree represents death – if mankind ate from it God said they would surely die. Also, this tree represented independence from God. The tree symbolizes all that Satan was and is.

In Ezekiel 28, we read a prophecy about the king of Tyre. But, this prophecy actually alludes to Satan. Think about the passage from Proverbs above as you see what it says about Satan, “By your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries…You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings.

See how Satan, whose ways are symbolized by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, is represented above. He was covered with every precious jewel that was set in gold. By his own wisdom, his independence from God, he brought gold and silver into his treasuries.

What does Proverbs 3:13-15, 18 compare wisdom, the tree of life, Jesus too? The gain from wisdom “is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels.”

Later in Proverbs 8, Solomon writes, “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…My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.”

The way of Satan, the way of this world, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, looks very, very enticing with its precious jewels, gold, and silver. It seems beautiful. It seems like everything we could ever want. But, that way leads to destruction.

However, the fruit of the tree of life, the way of wisdom, Jesus, gives true life. No earthly desire can compare. It may not appear as beautiful at first glance, but it is so much more fulfilling to the soul that it is not even worth comparing anything with it. Solomon is urging his sons to choose this way, the fruit of the tree of life. But, this way is a narrow one.

Are You Foolish or Wise? Read Proverbs 1

Solomon is writing Proverbs so that his son can have wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and instruction. In Proverbs 1:7, Solomon writes, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This is the contrast that is explored for the rest of the book – the one that fears the Lord, or the wise man, versus the one who despises wisdom, or the foolish man.

In Proverbs 1:11-19 we read the first description of those that despise wisdom, the foolish, the sinners. These men “lie in wait for blood,” “ambush the innocent without reason,” they swallow the innocent alive like Sheol, or hell, and they do it all to “find precious goods” and “fill our houses with plunder.” These men run to evil to shed blood. This is a description of all those that have rebelled against God and Jesus. They want to rid the world of God so that they can be the rulers of the earth. They are willing to kill God’s son, “the innocent,” to achieve their goal when God’s son is sent to the earth.

But, Solomon tells us of the end of these sinners, the rebellious, in verses 18-19, “But these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” Just like is says in the Psalms and elsewhere, the wicked are caught in their own trap, their own devices, their own violence. And, it takes away their life.

But, wisdom is calling out. 1 Corinthians 1:24 says that Christ is the power and wisdom of God. Look what wisdom, Jesus, says in Proverbs 1:20-33. So, Jesus is calling out to all in the market and the noisy streets. His voice is amongst all those other voices in the world that are trying to take us from him. Jesus asks how long we “love being simple”, continue scoffing in delight at our scoffing, and hate knowledge. He bids us to turn at his reproof. That is, Jesus is calling us to repent from walking in the way of sinners mentioned above. He is calling us to turn from our rebellion, our lives of independence, to become dependent on God alone.

But, if we don’t repent, if we don’t turn to God, and if we continue to hate knowledge, despise Jesus and his wisdom, then “They shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.” All of the wicked we have conceived and planned will overtake those of us that continue to reject Jesus.

However, those who hear wisdom’s call, the call of Jesus to repent, will dwell securely with him and have peace and rest.