How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
I. IN WHAT RESPECTS WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GOLD.
1. It is better in its origin. No man has got wisdom without a knowledge of its source and its purity. Whence comes gold? Let the miner answer, who digs it with great labour out of the earth. Whence comes wisdom? Let the Saviour answer, who of God is made unto us wisdom. God is the Source of wisdom. He that teaches man knowledge shall He not know? There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.
2. It is better in its nature. Refine gold as you may, it has still dross; but the wisdom which cometh from above is pure. Love gold as you may, it never can become part of the mind; but wisdom can be incorporated with it. A rich man may have to leave his gold, or his gold may leave him; but no matter to what a wise man is subjected, he carries his wisdom with him.
3. It is better in its influence. Although gold is a good thing in itself, it has often a bad influence on depraved minds. Its possession not unfrequently contracts the mind, blunts the feelings, and increases covetousness.
II. FOR WHAT PURPOSES IS WISDOM BETTER THAN GOLD?
1. It is better for guiding a man in the affairs of this life. How many, when they come to possess gold, show themselves to be fools! They spend it improperly, and damage their health, ruin their character, disgrace their friends. How much inferior is gold to wisdom! This gives a man forethought, teaches him to avoid evil, to improve time, and to conduct his affairs with discretion. It gives to the young man hope of success, to the middle-aged man perseverance in a right course, and to the aged man the reward of his diligence. Without it, the scholar can make no advancement, the traveller no interesting observations, nor the genius any important discoveries. By wisdom all the arts and sciences have been advanced.
2. It is better for guiding a man in the choice of things for another life. God is the very essence of wisdom. This, in the view of created intelligences, makes Him greater than His dominions do: He created man, and put wisdom within him, and riches around him; these riches could not have kept him from falling, but his wisdom could. No amount of gold or riches could reinstate him after he fell. But by wisdom he was restored. By wisdom God baffled Satan's designs and bruised his head.
III. TO WHAT DEGREE IS IT BETTER TO GET WISDOM THAN GOLD?
1. It is better, as the soul is more valuable than the body. The body is subject to decay, and must soon go down to the dust. The soul is immortal, and though it must leave the body at death, it continues its existence in another state. What can gold do for it then? How much better is wisdom, which adorns the soul with heavenly graces, and makes it shine in the beauties of holiness. Blessed with heavenly wisdom, the soul is rich for eternity.
2. It is better, as eternity is more enduring than time. Gold had its beginning in this world, and will end with it. Wisdom comes from another world and will continue in it.
3. It is better, as heaven is more glorious than this world.
4. It is better, as its possession gives more lasting happiness.
5. It is better, as a crown of glory is more dignifying than a crown of gold.
(1) Learn the great importance of being wise for eternity.
(2) True wisdom is now to be found.
(3) Let me entreat you, ask wisdom of the Lord.
Parallel VersesKJV: How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!