The price of wisdom – Is wisdom worth it?
In the previous episodes of the Wisdom series, we saw:
a. The origin and meaning of wisdom
b. The Inestimable Value of Wisdom
In this episode, we shall continue in our brief description of wisdom, by highlighting a few more things that show the price (value) of wisdom. This is a continuation of the inestimable value of wisdom.
g. Wisdom is stronger than ten mighty men
Wisdom makes the wise man stronger than ten rulers of a city. Ecclesiastes 7:19
A wise man is stronger than 10 mighty rulers put together. Remember that the ten rulers intended in the above verse are warriors who have proven themselves in the field of battle. Also, these rulers command troupes of soldiers depending on the size of the kingdom.
In battle, it is not usually the camp that is much in number that wins the fight, but the one with the best strategies.
Another understanding that you can get from this verse is that wisdom directs you on when to fight and when to desist from fighting. An unwise person will spend his strength in things that are unnecessary, leaving little or no strength when the things that really demand his strength come. But a wise person understands that not all fights are worth engaging in, so he reserves his strength for the important ones.
h. Wisdom is more valuable than pearls and precious corals.
The pearl is a gemstone that is produced by the mantle of the shellfish mollusc. And this production is said to take years to be done. Based on certain parameters (the size, shape, solar, lustre, surface quality etc), pearls could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To give you an idea of how valuable pearls are, Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a pearl of great price. In Matthew 13:45-46, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
And in Matthew 7:6, Jesus compared giving holy things to the dogs to throwing pearls to the swine. That shows the importance of pearls.
And in Revelation 21:21, we learn of the Pearly Gates of Heaven, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
When used as an adjective, the pearl is used to describe something rare, admirable, beautiful, and very valuable
Now, if pearls are this important, and Job 28:18 said that wisdom far outweighs them in value, then, it means that wisdom is inestimably valuable.
The precious coral, which is mostly found 10 to 300 metres below the Mediterranean Sea, is another type of gemstone that is still popular today. But despite her popularity and value, it doesn’t compare to wisdom.
i. Wisdom is supreme.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. – Proverbs 4:7
According to the man that had wealth, women and all kinds of things, wisdom is the principal thing. There are chaffs and there is substance, and wisdom is the substance. There are irons and there’s a magnet, and wisdom is the magnet. There is noise and there is the real thing, and wisdom is the real thing. The phrase “principal thing” used in that passage signifies that wisdom is supreme in all acquisitions of man.
j. Wisdom is better than weapons of war
“Wisdom is better than weapons of war.” Ecclesiastes 9:18a
This value of wisdom serves both for the preservation of the possessors and the defeat of their enemies.
Wisdom helps you to broker peace without loss of lives and damage to properties. Some wisdom asks you to yield, but at other times, she gives you counsel on the best way to use the little in your possession to discomfit your enemies. So, wisdom helps you to defeat your enemies even if you have fewer men and weapons than they do.
God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt without an arrow being shot or young men kitting themselves to fight. He did that in one night as the people slept. The following day, Israel left with so many gifts from Egypt.
Another way you want to see this is that wisdom preserves her possessors from not destroying themselves. A people that is wise won’t detonate weapons of mass destruction on themselves.
Imagine giving a sharp razor blade to a child of 5 years. That instrument that is very useful in the hand of a 25-year-old for shaving his beards is very dangerous in the hands of a child because he can harm himself with it. In the same vein, wisdom preserves you. We have seen in some climes where weapons of war are in the hands of unstable people or outright terrorists.
k. Wisdom is comparable to a virtuous woman
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10.
Women are precious, inestimable creatures of God, just like men. The value of human life can’t be compared to anything because we are made in the likeness and image of God. So, there is basically nothing that you can exchange for the life of a human being.
Now, a virtuous woman as seen in Proverbs 31 is even more valuable because of the several virtues that she has spent time to acquire, build and polish. So, her price is certainly above rubies.
It’s interesting to note that only wisdom and a virtuous woman are said to have a value worth more than rubies. That gives you an idea of the value that wisdom holds.
l. Wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold of Ophir, crystal, onyx, sapphire, and the topaz of Ethiopia.
In the days of Job and king Solomon, trade by barter still existed, hence the comparisons used above.
A few scriptures to highlight the above point:
Proverbs 3:14 – For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
Proverbs 8:10 – Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
Proverbs 8:19 – My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
Proverbs 16:16 – How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
Job 28:15-19 – It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
Job 28:13 says that no man can know the value of wisdom, since it cannot be found in the land of the living. The Big Question then is: WHERE CAN ONE FIND WISDOM?