Wisdom is speaking to us about riches, wealth, honor, and righteousness. We live in a world that thinks it truly understands what it means to be rich and wealthy - yet - from what we read here in Proverbs chapter 8 we will learn that what they are pursuing is not true wealth. Therefore in case we too are confused on this issue it would be wise for us to examine what is written here - and be wise in this area of true riches and wealth.
I find it fascinating that each time wealth or riches is mentioned, these things are qualified in what is mentioned with them. First we see that wisdom will bring us riches and honor. Honor speaks not just of having "fake" honor because you are wealthy. This kind of sychophantic honor is pitiful to watch. We see those who fall over themselves to show honor publicly to those who have a lot of money - yet who may secretly curse them when they are not around them. What Proverbs says is that this rich man also receives honor - but it is true honor due to his wisdom, not due to his having a lot of money. The second phrase says that he will also have "enduring wealth and righteousness." The idea of enduring is something hat lasts. It is durable and not subject to decay or to fading away. But this kind of wealth is found with those who combine it with "righteousness." They have wealth, but they also do what is right in life - regardless of what their wealth could purchase. All these things remind us of what our Lord Jesus Christ said - that we should not work for the riches and wealth that are subject to moth and rust - to decay and to thieves. We should work for and desire the wealth that will last for all eternity. That is what this passage is saying to us as well by qualifying both riches and wealth with honor and righteousness.
Finally, we see in verse 19 that the fruit of wisdom is better than even gold - and the purest gold. The yield of wisdom far outsurpasses even te choicest of silver as well. After speaking of wealth and riches - it is as if wisdom is saying to us that the best wealth and the richest thing is wisdom itself.
From time to time I teach classes on economics to high school students. One of the principles of economics is that due to the fall of man into sin, there will always be a scarcity of what is desired among men. We fell from a garden that was perfect and abundant in every way - to a world where we would have to work for our food and sustenance by the sweat of our brow. Even as we worked hard we would not have a perfect yield because the ground would yield thorns and weeds as we worked it. Thus the principle for us economically after the fall is that there is a limited amount of riches and wealth on this planet. Not everyone will be rich and wealthy with this world's goods. But, by God's grace and through the teaching He offers to us through His Spirit, there is untold riches and wealth when it comes to the wisdom He seeks to teach us. If we would value that wisdom it could be ours without any limits whatsoever. There are true riches and enduring wealth available to any man who chooses true honor and righteousness. What will be your choice this day?