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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 14:24


"The crown of the wise is their riches, but the folly of fools is foolishness"

Solomon wants to remind us that there are rewards for behavior. If you are wise, you get presented a crown of all kinds of various riches. If you are foolish, you get presented with even more opportunities to be selfish and destructive.

crown

This is the Hebrew word atarah, which means crown or wreath. This is not the word for a royal or priestly crown but instead is the word for a crown of honor or reward.

The idea is clearly that Solomon is pointing out that those who are wise get significantly rewarded for the choices they make and the actions they take. They do not remain in hiddenness but instead have a display of the riches that they have accumulated through their choices. It would be a mistake to see these riches as only monetary – as we will talk about in the next definition.

The crown is that which is obvious to others of your level of honor and prestige. When a person lives a wise life, there are evidences all over their life that they have done things right. It is these accumulating treasures that form a crown that everyone can see.

Many people say to the wise person, “Oh, I envy you and all that God has given you.” But they do not want to go through the choices and actions that the wise person went through to accumulate that treasure.

riches

This is the Hebrew word osher, which means riches, fortune, wealth. Solomon wants to remind his young charges that wise choices pile up treasure and visible symbols that you are living life the right way. Even people who are wicked will say, “Yes, that is the right way.”

What are these treasures and riches? They are not necessarily material riches. In fact, in a biblical economy the lowest form of riches are monetary. The Old Testament and the New Testament declare that relational wealth is the highest form of riches. If you have a great relationship with God and with the other people in your life, this forms the greatest level of riches. For if you have monetary or material riches but have no relationships, then you cannot fully enjoy it. But if you have deep and enjoyable relationships, then all the other blessings and treasures that you have enrich and encourage you.

Never forget that wisdom is designed to build great relationships. One of those relationships is with your finances, but it is not primary or the only relationship.

I have watched enough people who have pursued the wrong goals. When you achieve them you always leave unfulfilled; but when you pursue God and the people in your life, they fill you up. People look at those who have a life full of rich relationships and realize that they have lived and are living a full life. This is true whether those people have a lot of money or are dirt poor.

folly

This is the word ivveleth, which means folly or foolishness.

fools

This is the Hebrew word kesil and means fools, dullard, stupid person. The person who is not really aware of what life is all about is selfish and all about themselves.

foolishness

This is the Hebrew word ivveleth, which means folly, foolishness. The accumulating "treasure" of selfish choices and selfish actions is more and even greater selfish choices. It is possible for people to develop a pathological ability to make the same type of selfish, bad choices throughout their life. Some make selfish relational decisions, some make selfish financial decisions, some make selfish vocational decisions, some make selfish spiritual decisions. Each time people make these kinds of decisions it reinforces these same kinds of destructive decisions. Then they wonder why their life is falling apart.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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