But to those who rebuke the wicked
will be delight, And a good blessing will come upon them. He kisses the lips Who gives a right answer. Proverbs 24:25-26
We continue with Solomon's comments on partiality and favoritism. There is a blessing that comes to those who do what is right in these situations. We are told of those who "rebuke" the wicked. These are the men who give a right answer when faced with issues of justice and righteousness. Let's take a couple of minutes to learn what they do - and how they are rewarded.
To "rebuke" here means more than just speaking a simple word of correction. The Hebrew word is "yakah" which means to argue, convince, convict, judge, or reprove. This word usually has the meaning of clarifying where someone stands morally. This involves making arguments to establish the ground upon which a moral judgment is made. The word is used of God's reproof and rebuke of the wicked and sinful. When He rebukes, there is no doubt the right-ness of His Words - and the biblical reason behind them.
When we rebuke the wicked - it is not just a simple statement that we make. This blessed man comes to the wicked with wisdom, with understanding, and with arguments to help the wicked grasp why their actions are wrong. Christians need to embrace this kind of rebuke and reproof as they seek to convince those who stand in biblically unjust positions of the truth. It is not enough just to say, "I rebuke you for your stand!" The wise man comes with ordered and convincing arguments. He does not come just to state that a position is wrong and ungodly - he makes a case that convinces and convicts the one holding it.
We are told to this kind of man there will be delight and blessing. These will come as he experiences first the blessing of God who delights in wisdom and justice. Knowing the smile of God - and His approval of our works and words is more to us than the favor of all the nations. Please understand that when a godly man takes a stand worldlings will hate him - and some will mock his views. But many will see his arguments and rejoice that righteousness is being upheld. If the "wicked" are in positions of power - this man may face problems - even imprisonment - but the blessing from God - and the joy of the people will abound in what he has said. They may not be able to rescue him from imprisonment, but his words will be embraced by those who love what is just and righteous - and that includes Almighty God Himself. Remember if your stand for truth, righteousness, and justice costs you in this life - that you will be richly rewarded in the life to come - in eternity.
We are told at the close of these statements that, "He kisses the lips who gives a right answer." The right answer here is the honest and true answer. It is the person who does not let the world, or any kind of personal favoritism enter into their thinking and judgment. The proper judgment in this matter is God's judgment. And the "kiss" that is spoken of here is the kiss one gives in approval. The idea expressed here may seem strange to us in the United States, even forward and weird. But in the middle east it was common to express approval with a kiss. Thus the idea here is that when we speak what is right - approving the righteous and rebuking the wicked - there will be favor for us. Those who love what is right will hear - and it will be as one receiving loving favor to hear it.
Wise men speak what is right. They do not allow favoritism and partiality to cloud and darken their judgment. They are instructed by the Word of God as to what is proper and true. They open their mouths to speak this truth to others - not just in a denunciation - but with convincing arguments that help to instruct men as to what is good and right. To have such men around you is a blessing that cannot be measured. Such men are rare and hard to find, so if God gives you one - thank Him for the favor He has shown you - and treasure this blessing always.
He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous," Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him; Proverbs 24:24
As we face the issue of partiality in judgment, we are shown the danger of it - and the anger that ensues when it happens. We are told of someone who says to the wicked, "You are righteous." It is important to see that this is not a case of religious judgment, but one that is happening in a court system - and also can happen in life as well. The idea is not of religious righteousness on the par of justification. This is simply a wicked man being told that he is in the right - he is without fault in a matter that clearly is the opposite. We see this too often in our society and even in our court systems. Gone are the days when what we truly desire in our courts is justice and righteousness. When a criminal who is clearly guilty of a crime is acquitted because of a minor technicality - we groan and shake our heads in disgust.
We are told that when this happens, peoples will curse this man - and nations will abhor him. Justice is something that goes far outside our homes - and even our cities. When injustice happens, entire people groups will see - and nations will join in the condemnation of partiality and favoritism. Wars have been fought because of errors in judgment - and favoritism toward those who should be convicted of crimes.
I'm going to step into a danger zone here and comment on convoluted foreign policy. I do so realizing that often the choices put before our state department are never between pure right and wrong. They are usually choices between bad and horrible. Regardless of the dilemmas that are faced, we too often support brutal dictators who are guilty of gross injustice toward their people. We wring our hands wondering why in parts of the world people hate our country. One reason is because our power is used to support oppressive, murderous men in positions of power. We may consider them to be the lesser of two evils - and I understand that. But we also need to grasp that when we put someone like that in power and say to the populace of that nation - this wicked man is righteous - at least righteous enough to be your leader, they are going to hate us.
Honestly, I am glad I do not have to make decisions like the ones our state department makes, and I pray for them to have wisdom. They have very difficult decisions to make. But when we do call the wicked righteous - we need to know that the peoples and nations will curse and hate us. It is just a fact of the Bible - and of life on this earth.
Since we are talking about "a little bit of wisdom" in these articles, some may ask, "Then what should we do?" What would the "wise" thing be to do in these situations? That is a difficult thing to answer. But my thoughts are that we should first tend to issues of justice in our own nation. First of all, we are horrific oppressors of the first order in our practices toward the unborn. Our sins and crimes in that area match anything ever seen in the world - and since we export this barbaric practice all over the world for the so-called purpose of population control - we have serious problems of our own. We too often paint ourselves as the great hope - while we are not even living up to the heritage handed to us by our forefathers. My advice would be first to reclaim wise judgment in our own land - before we go off telling others how they should administer justice in theirs. We need to remove the proverbial log from our own eye - before we try to go all over the world removing the speck from the eye of other nations.
"How can we do something so huge!?" would be the next statement made. It actually begins by starting personally - with our own hearts. We repent of the injustices in our own lives - and cry out for God's wisdom in rectifying our own wrongs. Then we fall to our knees and pray for our country. We pray for a revival that will break hearts and turn our churches back to biblical justice and righteousness. Once biblical righteousness has been restored to our lives and the lives of God's church - then we can begin to address our public officials. We can demand something other than base politics govern their thinking - and elect true men of character to our public offices. They can then address the policies that promote ungodliness and gross injustice in our land - by the standard of God's Word. Then and only then can we begin to hope to address the world about matters of justice. We do it now - but only by the use of power and money. May God so work in us, our churches, and our nation that one day we can speak from a vantage of moral clarity - and not just national self-interest.
These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good. Proverbs 24:23
Solomon now gives us the sayings of the wise through the end of this chapter. These are things we should definitely keep in mind as we walk in this life. They are over a number of different topics which will be faced as we walk through our lives. The first of these topics is the problem of partiality in judgment.
The statement, "to show partiality" is literally "to regard the face." This is when someone who is to render judgment sees a face they know - and suddenly their judgment is clouded due to a favorable reaction to this one they see. Once they see their friend or aquaintence, they look upon them no longer with wise judgment, but with an attitude of personal preference. This is one reason why our legal system has within it the practice of recusing ourselves from a case because our relationship with someone might skew our thinking and affect our judgment unfairly. This is the case at the level of the judge, the prosecutor, and the jury. To have justice be fair is of the utmost importance.
I remember the first time I saw the statue that represents justice - and realized that she has a blindfold over her eyes. She stands their blind to who is before her - with a set of scales in her hands. The statue represents how we should enter into judgment with others. We should be blind to who they are - not recognizing or regarding the face of the one before us. Without this kind of blindness to who is before us - we cannot render fair and just decisions. When we start recognizing "faces" that come before us in the justice system, we face the danger of favoritism.
A wise man learns to administer justice blindly, without recognizing a face and without the favoritism that comes with it. He learns to act according to the wisdom of God's Word in rendering judgment and decisions on matters of right and wrong
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you. Proverbs 23:24-25
God has blessed my wife and I with 6 children, of which 2 of them are sons. Our testimony as a family is an interesting one because it involves being caught up in religious, church-y living - and then later being in relationship with a very merciful, loving God. Please bear with me, because all this actually relates to the proverb for today.
Solomon tells us that the father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. At present I am the father of two sons who are righteous - and who are seeking to live their lives according to God's wisdom. Oh, by the way - I also greatly rejoice in God's goodness for giving me such sons. To write such things can be extremely dangerous, so let me explain what all this means - giving all the glory to God.
I am a pastor. I have been one for some 20+ years. During that time God has been very gracious to me - showing me mercy extensively in the midst of a great deal of stupidity. There were times that I was so given to "the ministry" that I did not love my family as I should have loved them. I also was so caught up in trying to have a "great church" in the eyes of men - that I was a horrible example of what a man of God should be - not just to my family, but to the people of Calvary Chapel. A lot of this came crashing down when a biblical discipline situation arose in our fellowship - and spiritual carnage resulted. What I (and yes I emphasize I) had built came crashing down just like Jesus said it would in Matthew 7:27-28
. This not only happened at the church, but my own sons were rejecting it as well.
Then God broke me - wonderfully, graciously, mercifully broke me. I spent about 2 months weeping, confessing sin to my wife and my children - and to the church as well. It was during that time that I laid all my plans for me being a great pastor and preacher at the feet of Jesus - and decided I just wanted to love, know, and obey Him. God was so merciful in responding that the repentance and brokenness by drawing my two sons to Himself and making them righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. He slowly began to transform my sons, my family, and the fellowship He so graciously allowed me to continue to pastor. We are far from perfect - but as long as we seek Him and do what He says - things will go well.
This Proverb says that the father of the righteous will greatly rejoice. That does not mean that the father rears his sons to be righteous in themselves - for that would only be self-righteousness. He rears his sons to see that the only way they can be righteous is to turn in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ. Having their righteousness in Him - they can begin to walk as godly men - looking to and trusting Him at all times. What the father seeks to do is to be sure that he has "wise" sons. Since we know that wisdom is seeing all things from God's perspective - and making choices according to that way of seeing things - this means that his boys learn to have a biblical worldview, and live according to God's will rather than their own. If a father sees this - he rejoices. That wonderful gift has been given to me two times over. It also has been given to me in spite of my early years of stupidity and self-driven living.
The writer of Proverbs says to the sons that they should let their father and mother be glad - especially the mother who gave birth to them. Too many children spend their lives trying to please their parents by doing whatever they want them to do. That may seem like a contradiction to what I just said - but it is not. If a parent is wise in the way that they rear their child, they will make certain that their child knows that the most important thing in life is to live by God's will - not just by what their parents desire. Of course, this includes the commandment to honor and obey parents. But a wise mom and dad are certain to direct their child only to hear their voice as a precursor to listening to God's voice. The wise parent also knows that during their teen years their children need to transition from just listening to a parent - to listening to God and doing as He says. A child who remains dependent upon a parent throughout their lives will not be a wise child. They have to come to the point of starting their own family - and rearing another generation of kids who start by listening to their parents, and who later in life transfer that teachability to God's voice and the Scriptures.
My wife and I have strived to do this with our children. We've failed as often as we've succeeded - with all successes being due to following God's counsel. But know this - it is not easy - and parenting is not for cowards. If you do this properly - your children will marry - and will leave the home. If we rear them to treasure the gospel and take seriously their responsiblity to God and to the world for proclaiming it - there is a good chance they may take seriously that command to go to all the nations. We've already watched three do this - and a fourth is probably on her way. That means as we rejoice, there is also a little bit of heart-ache as we send them to the ends of the earth - not knowing if they will ever return. But then again, what greater joy can we have as parents than to follow the example of God Himself, Who gave His Son away so that the nations might be saved?
The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it. Proverbs 22:14
Here is a take in Proverbs that turns conventional wisdom on its ear. It has to do with the adulteress - and with the man who seems to be having all the so-called success with the ladies. Whereas the world wants us to think that this ladies man has it made - the Word of God here in Proverbs has a much different take on his status.
The adulteress, as we've learned in previous verses (5:3 and 7:5) catches men with her mouth. Her enticing words draws them in - and prevents them from seeing that they are not stepping into pure pleasure - but rather a trap. Here, in keeping with the previous warnings, is another statement that her mouth is a deep pit. Such pits where used for capturing animals and killing or making them slaves of the one who caught them. These pits were usually covered with camouflage to make their presence unknown until the animal stepped into them. By that time it was too late - they were either caught or dead. The same is true of the adulteress. She will hide her real intent with compliments and appeals to the ego of the fool she is trying to catch. He, being a fool, does not see the danger in another man's wife giving him praise. In the end, he falls for the deception and later falls into the trap. This is not new to us - but the fact that now for at least the third time a warning is given about this should make us very cautious when a woman other than our wife begins giving us compliments and starts stroking our ego.
What I find shocking about this passage is the second statement made here. "He who is cursed of Jehovah will fall there." The reason that this is shocking is because we are told that one of the ways we can know that God has cursed someone - is that they are involved in sexual immorality - and even more so - that they are so involved in an adulterous affair. The world shows us the quintisential ladies man - and then says to us that this man is blessed. He has the ladies lining up for him. We are told that he can have any woman he wants - and that this is a sign of being blessed. The truth is much different - as it always is when it comes to the lies of the world and of Satan. Contrary to this worldly view - the man who is involved in sexual immorality with someone else's wife - is cursed of God. This is one of the ways that God brings His curse upon men. He allows them to enter into such foolish sexual sin.
Think about this for a moment. Since this is true - then we should consider the sexual studs of the world - stupid. We should look at the playboys that are held up for honor and respect - men who are worthy only of shame and disgrace. We should see men like High Hefner not as models for us - but as morons. This are not men of honor - but examples of horror! The man who falls into sexual immorality is CURSED OF GOD! Wow! There is a turn of things for all of humanity. The wise man does not follow the world in its estimation of who is to be counted as worthy and who is worthless. These things are ultimately decided by God - Who has given us His estimation of things in His Word. If therefore the Word tells us those whom the world calls blessed are cursed - know that they are cursed indeed. Therefore the best thing we can do is reject the worldly ideas of manhood and a life worth living, and give ourselves to how our God views this world.
When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin. Proverbs 21:11-12
says, "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil." Punishment is not just for the one who does the evil deed. Society at large also receives instruction when punishment is handed out for crimes and evil deeds that are done. Today's proverb helps us understand this.
The scoffer is the first person we see in this proverb. We see him being punished for something he has done. It is important to see that while others are instructed and given wisdom from this punishment, the scoffer is not one of them. A scoffer is incorrigible in his evil. He mocks God and does not care or concern himself with wisdom. He himself is the beginning and end of what little wisdom he desires. When this scoffer eventually breaks laws in his quest to poison society against God, he receives the punishment due for his crime. It is sad to see though that by the end of this proverb - and even the following verse - the scoffer learns nothing. He will continue in his scoffing behind bars - living to curse God and in so doing - have a curse upon his own life as he continues in his patterns of self-destruction.
But there is help for others in seeing this fool's punishment. The naive or simpleton watches and learns wisdom. This is not the typical word for wisdom here, but is the Hebrew "sakal," which means to be prudent, show discernment, and to be instructed in a way to go. The naive watch the actions of the scoffer receive their due punishment and consider his end. As a result they learn not to walk in those ways - if only to avoid the punishment. The truly wise man though watches and receives real instruction - and as a result receives knowledge as well. Knowledge is "daath" which means a knowing that gives him practical wisdom and knowledge as to how to walk each day.
The righteous is the last type of person who watches the punishment of the wicked. He looks and considers not just this one action that is receiving punishment, but he looks at the entire life of the scoffer. He considers his entire house (family, business, children, etc.). The Hebrew here is a little difficult to translate - and here is it rendered "turning the wicked to ruin." That gives the idea that the righteous man is out to destroy the wicked here. The Amplified Bible though, gives the best sense of the Hebrew here when it translates this passage, "The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked—how the wicked are cast down to ruin."
The righteous man can and should work to make sure that the laws of the land reflect the laws of God. In that way he does work to see the house of the wicked turned to ruin. That is what is ultimately best for a society. But what is being communicated here is that what the righteous man does is note that the entire household of the wicked comes to ruin because of his ungodly behavior and his attitude of scoffing at God.
When we watch the demise of the wicked on television and in the news we need to receive instruction from it. Our hearts should not be drawn to such stories for the juicy gossip content. That is the attitude of the world, who learns very little from such things. We should watch and grieve the destruction from the standpoint of seeing that a lifestyle of arrogant scoffing and derision of God leads to destruction. We should also receive the instruction that God means for us to receive. Honoring and glorifying God is the wise man's lifestyle. As the house of the wicked crashes to the ground we should remember that Jesus Himself taught us that the foundation of a man's house - whether it is founded on obedience to God's Word or not - will be the deciding factor on whether it stands or falls.
"Bad, bad," says the buyer, But when he goes his way, then he boasts. Proverbs 20:14
There are proverbs which present the heart of man to us - so that we can know how to deal with men in a fallen world. This is one of those proverbs. The truth of this proverb needs to be grasped especially by those who are in the business world - and those who go forth to buy and sell in the marketplace. If we know this truth, we will be better armed to know the hearts of men - and to know how to bargain with them, as well as why they can be so stubborn and insistent on getting a price as low as possible.
We have here what seems to be a contradiction in the one who is the buyer. At one point he is saying, "Bad, bad," about the merchandise that he is seeking to buy. Yet in the next moment, after making the purchase, he boasts about what he has received. This is deceit on the part of the buyer - yet he is engaging in the deceit to make sure that he can get the lowest price possible. Not that this is ethical at all - but it is far too often how men think they need to negotiate.
A story is told by St. Augustine of a certain banker in his time who told an entire theater of men that he would show every man what was in his heart the next time they met. When the time came, the theater was full and all awaited with a breathless silence for his words. He stood up, and in a single sentence said, "You all wich to buy cheap, and sell dear." The crowd waited for an instant - then broke into applause for his statement, but everyone one of themt agreed that the same was in every one of their hearts. This reveals to us the very same thing that this proverb says today. We all wish to buy as cheap as possible, and then sell the same at the highest price we can get.
Some might say that this is why the captialist system needs to be destroyed and replaced with another system that is based on equality. Yet there is a fundamental problem with any other system - especially socialism or communism. Who is going to guarantee this so-called equality? Is there one among us who is NOT tainted by sin? Is there anyone who can say that selfishness does not enter the equation? And can anyone deny that when systems are put into place where the government is supposed to provide true equity, that the very government that promises this fairness, eventually turns to be the greatest oppressor of the people in the end?
Though this proverb may cause some to chafe at the thought of its inherent selfishness, we need to see that in a fallen world, no one is able to truly do business without an inherent self-interest. But when a system is put into place that allows the greatest freedom of choice by the people, then this inherent self-interest actually acts as a guard against any one person taking control of everything and acting in their own self-interest to the detriment of all.
The wise man knows the heart of God - and in this case, he also knows the heart of men. John 3
says that Jesus knew what was in the heart of a man. That is why He did not gauge His success or failure on the momentary accolades of the crowds that surrounded Him. They cheered Him when He multiplied bread and fish, but then left Him in John 6
when He spoke hard truth to them. A wise man knows the hearts of men - and that is why in the arena of men governing men, he sets up safeguards. Our forefathers were wise in setting up a system of government where all three branches had checks and balances to ensure that none would become dominant over all. In the same way, it is wise for man to function under an economic system where his own selfishness is a check and balance on him in the marketplace.
Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15
Laziness will come to haunt a man. The effects of laziness are not immediately apparent - but in time they will show themselves. The word "laziness" here is the Hebrew word 'atslah' and it means to be sluggish, indolent, and lazy and describes someone who is in a state and attitude of doing nothing. Since the word idolent is not used much any more it might help to know that it means to be averse to activity, effort, or movement.
The "deep sleep" into which one is cast due to laziness is the same word that was used when God put Adam into a deep sleep to create Eve from a rib He took from Adam's side. This word is used figuratively here to speak of a moral and spiritual stupor which is how Isaiah uses it in Isaiah 29:10
, "For the LORD has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers." In Isaiah the idea is that the deep sleep was spiritual and resulted in the people being completely blind to spiritual realities and the warnings they needed to heed to prevent disaster in their lives.
The second half of this passage presents an interesting thing to us. The Hebrew speaks not just of a sure consequence of laziness, but of a hunger that must come upon the lazy person to that they will eventually work. The idle man will or must suffer hunger. That is the idea here. He won't get up and work and will continue in his aversion to activity and action - until hunger strikes and makes him get up and work. This is Scriptural for the New Testamant tells us plainly, "If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either." (2 Thessalonians 3:10
God's Word is not a great friend to a welfare state. The Scriptures tell us to work - and to do what we do with all our might. Work existed before the Fall of man - and it has always has been a good thing to have a godly work ethic. We are told to help the poor - but we are not counselled to put them in a state of continual dependency. This mistake will result in them becoming lazy in the end - and thinking that the state owes them a living. I realize that such words are very incindiary in our world - and I do not use them toward those who have genuine disabilities that prevent them from working. But the wise man knows that a laziness that is encouraged is one that will not only cause hunger - but it will blind the person to spiritual truth as well. We would do well not to encourage it in our children - or our nation.
The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for
a broken spirit who can bear it? Proverbs 18:14
There are two kinds of sickness that can come upon us. One is a sickness that we can endure and bear - but there is a second type mentioned in the Scripture that is impossible to bear without the work and grace of God being upon us.
We are told that the spirit of a man can endure his sickness. This sickness mentioned here is the word used for various illnesses that come upon us due to the face that we live in a fallen world. The entrance of sin into our world ruined it. It also introduced sickness and death into our world as well. But a man's spirit can help him endure his sickness. I am about to share something that will cause some to react badly. If we live in this world, we are going to face illness and sickness. Because of the fall of man and the entrance of sin into our world - sickness also came into it as well. What I mean by this is NOT that anyone who is sick must have sinned. That is false doctrine. But what I do mean is that when sin entered the human race - death did as well. Now all things are running down - aging - and generally falling apart. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that things are moving from order to disorder. That is true in our very makeup itself. Our cells are breaking down - our DNA is liable to mutation (which is never good) - and we will slowly fall apart until we physically die. This is fact. Those who think we can go through all of life simply confessing divine health - and therefore never having to be sick or adversely affected by the degeneration of our world or ourselves are sadly mistaken. They to will die due to the sin of man.
Now, before I completely depress you, let me return to our proverb today. Our spirit can help us endure sickness. There is an inner strength that is granted to us in our spirit that helps us deal with the fact that we are human. We will make it through sickness. I've seen the extreme of this in believers who glorify God in the midst of terminal illnesses. There is something so alive and strong in them - even in the midst of their last days. They conquer death - even as they face it. That is the power of God working in our spirits.
But the Proverb does warn of a second sickness that is unbearable to the human condition. "But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?" The word for broken here is so telling. It does not refer to what we experience at the end of a romance - the famous broken heart of romantic movies and novels. This broken spirit is one that is stricken and scouraged. It refers to more than just suffering. It refers to when we come to see that everything we can live for in this life means nothing. It is the brokenness that God actually seeks to bring us to in life. It is a brokenness that cannot be cured with more stuff or more power. It won't be solved by a new romance - or another boyfriend or girlfriend. This brokenness goes to the very depths of our spirit. It is God telling us that we cannot be self-repaired. We need Him. That is why the wise man poses the question, "Who can bear it?" No one can - except he turn to God. Only He can reach to the very core of our deadness and cause our spirit to come alive. This work He does by the Spirit of God as He applies the gospel of Jesus Christ to our broken condition. Then we find ourselves fixed - and actually far more than fixed. We are reborn - and our spirit comes alive as the Holy Spirit grants us the very life of God.
The wise man knows as he sees and endures the sicknesses of this present world that something is terribly wrong with this world. The death that reigns over this present world points us to a much deeper death that reigns over our souls. This brokenness of spirit can only be repaired by God. He has given the cure in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And . . . a wise man knows to turn to God for His ultimate remedy for a broken spirit.
Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no sense? Proverbs 17:16
Often fools pay a great deal of money to attain wisdom. They go to prestigious schools and seek to earn degrees that supposedly garner them respect in the eyes of others in the world. They will pay ridiculous amounts of money to travel near and far to talk to those who will help them know the meaning of life and the wisdom of the sages down through the years. But this proverb reveals the real problem in its second part.
Though the fool were to spend a billion forturnes to attain and buy wisdom, it is not available to him. He will not grasp wisdom because he has no sense. The word used for sense here is the Hebrew word, "leb" which means heart. This is not speaking of his physical heart - even though it is the word used of the physical heart at times. The Hebrews believed that the heart referred to the inner man, the functioning of the mind and will - it is in effect the spirit or very center of the man. When a man did not have heart, as is referred to here, he was seen as being a man who was dead on the inside. He had no spiritual life - and no real heart for God or the things of God.
Here is why the man first is a fool - and second, couldn't get wisdom if he had all the money in the world. He is dead spiritually - and he is unresponsive to God because of it. Since the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God - this man has a broken part that unless it is repaired (or in the spiritual sense - reborn) - he will never know wisdom. Only the man who is alive spiritually will truly know wisdom. There are many who can gather wise facts and wise sayings until they sound and even seem wise - yet, there is one glaring problem. They do not know God, and if you do not know God and honor Him, you remain a fool no matter how much information you can spout off or how many wise sayings you can repeat.
No heart? No acknowledgement of God? No hunger for Him and for His Word? Then you will have no wisdom. And this is true no matter how much money you can lay out wanting it.