Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Worth More Than Jewels

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you ever go in those jewelry stores in the malls and just look?

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, August 13.

Nancy: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most valuable jewel ever sold at auction was a one hundred carat, pear-shaped, flawless diamond that was sold for over $16½ million. I can’t even imagine how large that is.

There’s another company in Switzerland that has the most expensive watch in the world. It has three heart-shaped diamonds set in a bracelet that is encrusted with many, many little white and yellow diamonds. The total weight of those little doodads is 163 carats so when you add that with the big heart-shaped diamonds you have this watch that is made up of over 200 carats of diamonds. The watch is worth more than $25 million.

Some people apparently would be willing to pay to have such a valuable piece. I don’t think I want to be walking down the street with that watch on if you don’t have insurance. But we have to acknowledge that those things are rare and valuable and they’re precious.

Leslie: Nancy’s intention today isn’t to make you start coveting $25 million watches. No, instead, she wants to hold up the sparkling beauty of something far more valuable. Here’s Nancy continuing in the series The Way of Wisdom .

Nancy: As we think about the subject of wisdom, the book of Proverbs talks about how wisdom has a relative value to jewels. We read about that in Proverbs, chapter 8, for example, where the Scripture says, “Wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her [wisdom]” (verse 11). The supremacy of wisdom, the surpassing, incomparable value of wisdom.

Wisdom is priceless, according to the Scripture. That’s why Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Now wisdom is valuable because it’s rare and because it has a lot to offer. It has a lot of benefits that are priceless. In this session and the next we want to look in the book of Proverbs at some of those benefits of wisdom. What makes wisdom so valuable? What does it offer to us? Why is it worth more than jewels?

We’ll look at eight or nine different benefits. I’m going to give you a lot of Scripture references from the book of Proverbs, probably not give the verse so don’t try to jot all these down, but you can go to our website and we’ll have all the chapters and references listed so that you can look those up.

What are some of the benefits of wisdom?

Number one, wisdom provides a sense of security, stability, and personal well-being. Wisdom makes us secure. It makes us stable. It makes us have a sense of well-being.

Listen to this passage in Proverbs chapter 3, beginning in verse 21. Solomon says,

My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught (Proverbs 3:21-26).

He’s saying a person who has wisdom can walk through life securely. Now it doesn’t mean nothing bad will ever happen to him, but he can trust that his steps are guarded by the Lord, that nothing will come into his life that is outside of God’s permission and providence. He can walk securely. He can walk confidently. He can have a sense of stability and personal well-being.

Then we see in the book of Proverbs that wisdom builds strong homes. It promotes happy and healthy family relationships. Do you want to have good relationships in your family, you and your mate, you and your parents, you and your children, you and your in-laws, you and your grandchildren? Wisdom promotes happy, healthy family relationships.

Listen, for example, to these verses. Proverbs 24, verse 3: “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.” Listen, there are all kinds of ingredients that you can put into building a home, but if you don’t have wisdom, you don’t have a strong foundation. You’re not going to have a strong home.

Proverbs chapter 10, verse 1: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.” Some of you can attest you’ve had wise children who have made your heart glad as a parent. And some of you have had foolish children and you have cried yourself to sleep at night, just grieving, mourning over the choices that child is making and thinking, “Oh, if they could just see the truth.” It makes your heart heavy to have a foolish child, am I right?

Healthy, wholesome relationships within a family are strengthened by wisdom.

Verse 13 of Proverbs chapter 19: “A foolish son is ruin to his father.” The reputation of his father may be at stake. The career of his father. The health or happiness of his father may be jeopardized by having a foolish son. And, same verse, “A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.” Isn’t it interesting that that’s in the same verse? A man’s life can be ruined either by having a wayward child or by having a whiny wife. Oh, my goodness.

  • Foolishness in the home brings ruin.
  • It brings contention.
  • It brings disaster.
  • But wisdom brings joy and health in the relationships.

Now let me say just because you’re wise doesn’t mean every relationship in your family will be healthy. It takes two. It takes more. But you can contribute a lot to healthy, wholesome relationships in your family by being a wise daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece. You can contribute to the health of that home by having wisdom.

Then number three, wisdom earns favor in the workplace. If you have wisdom at your job, there are going to be some distinct advantages. Proverbs 14:35 says, “A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor.” If you’re wise, your boss is going to be impressed. Wisdom will make you a more valuable employee. Your boss will notice. Employers notice. They’re impressed, and they’re delighted when they have wise employees.

Number four, wisdom will enable you to overcome major obstacles and opposition. We think if we just have more force, more ability, more influence. God’s Word says you want to overcome opposition? you want to overcome obstacles in your path? get wisdom.

Listen to these verses. Proverbs, chapter 21:22: “A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.” There’s a huge wall here, and it’s a barrier. It’s something that won’t come down. The mighty have erected it. Proverbs says if you have wisdom, you can scale that wall. You can get over that obstacle.

Proverbs 24:6: “By wise guidance you can wage your war.” Ecclesiastes 9:18: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war.” Proverbs 24, verse 5: “A wise man is full of strength.” Wisdom enables us to overcome obstacles and opposition.

And wisdom helps us work smarter, not just harder. That’s why I like this verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 10. Listen to this word picture here. “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength” (verse 10). If you have an axe and you’re trying to cut down a tree and the edge is blunt and you don’t stop to sharpen your axe, you’re going to work and work and work and work to get that tree down. You’ll have to use more strength. But wisdom helps one to succeed. What would be the wise thing to do in that case? Sharpen your axe.

Sometimes wisdom can help us work smarter, not just harder.

And then wisdom exalts us before others. Proverbs 3:35 says, “The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.” We work so hard to try and get ourselves honor, to get ourselves esteem and the Scripture says if you want to be honored, be a wise person. You want to be disgraced? you want to be shamed? then go ahead and live foolishly.

Then here’s another benefit of wisdom. Wisdom diffuses angry people and situations. Some of you are living with a mate or a son or a daughter or a parent who is an angry person. Maybe there’s an angry person in your workplace or in your classroom. Maybe you have a teacher who’s just an angry person. There are a lot of them out there today. If you have wisdom, you can often diffuse an angry, hostile person or situation.

Proverbs 29:8 says: “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.” Not by giving angry words back but sometimes just by a soft answer. They can diffuse anger and wrath.

Proverbs 16:14: “A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it.” That king may be your parent, your husband. That king’s wrath is a messenger of death. The person comes in the home and you know that they’re on the warpath. The Scripture says a wise man will appease that anger, not by cowering in fear but with wise, carefully chosen, Spirit-directed words or maybe no words at all.

Wisdom will tell you when to speak, when not to speak, what to say and how to say it.

And then wisdom affects your physical health and well-being. Did you know that the condition of your physical health is directly related to wisdom in many cases? Listen to these verses, Proverbs chapter 14, verse 30: “A tranquil heart [I think the NIV says a heart at peace] gives life to the flesh [it makes a healthy body], but envy makes the bones rot.” We know today that many degenerative diseases, many physical conditions that cause our bodies to just fall apart are often the result of things that are in our spirit, things in our attitudes, things in the way that we live—lifestyle choices.

Wisdom and a heart at peace can lend toward healthy, physical conditions.

Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment [or medicine] to your bones.” Fear the Lord, turn away from evil. That’s wisdom. To fear God and hate evil. If you do, it will be healing to your flesh and refreshment or medicine to your bones.

Now that doesn’t mean that if you have creaky bones or arthritis or different physical conditions that necessarily you’re a foolish person. Our bodies are aging. They do get older. There are consequences of living in these bodies in this fallen world, but there are many degenerative diseases that we would not have to experience to that extent if we would have wise hearts.

A heart that’s at peace, a heart that’s not bitter, a heart that’s forgiving, a heart that’s not angry, a heart that is trusting in the Lord, a heart that hates evil is going to lend itself more often than not toward physical health.

Now you may be a wise person and God may entrust to you suffering in your physical body and then He will give you grace to endure. But let’s not ask for the suffering by living foolishly.

Then wisdom provides protection. We don’t know what kinds of forces, temptations, opposition are lurking at any moment in our lives to pull us down. And there are plenty of them in this world. You’re going to face them. But if you have been developing and cultivating a heart of wisdom, you will find that you’re protected in many cases from those temptations, from those people who would pull you down. Protected from evil.

Listen to what Proverbs 2 says beginning in verse 11: “Discretion [and again discretion, wisdom, understanding—these are kind of synonyms in the book of Proverbs] will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness” (Proverbs 2:11-13).

Then verse 16: “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.” So Solomon is saying to his son if you will choose the pathway of wisdom, it will be a watchdog, a guard, a bodyguard. It will watch over you and guard you and keep you, protect you from evil ways and from evil people. From those who would try to bring you down, those who would try to destroy you. Those who would try to lead you into a wrong path.

He says to his son, you want to be guarded against immoral women who will have a negative, godless influence in your life? Then before you get in the situation, become a wise son, become a wise person and you will find yourself protected.

I’m so thankful for a dad and mom who emphasized when we were growing up so many aspects of wisdom. I wonder as I look back on my now 47-ish years of life how many things God has protected me from that I don’t even realize. Perhaps some temptations I’ve not experienced, some circumstances I’ve not ended up in that could have been destructive or dangerous.

Now, I do have temptation and I do face difficult circumstances, but I believe that in many ways God has protected my life and protected me from falling into sins that I could fall into as easily as anyone else because of a desire over the years to choose the pathway of wisdom. And conversely, I would say there are some situations that I’ve ended up in that I didn’t need to end up in if I had been walking in the pathway of wisdom.

There are so many practical benefits and blessings of living wisely. I mean, just think about it. I’ll start a list here, but you could add others to the list. It just makes sense not to abuse your body.

  • If you don’t abuse your body in various ways that we can do that, then chances are you’re going to have better health.
  • If people practice sexual restraint and chastity, there’s a whole lot less chance of ending up with STDs.

There are practical benefits to living wisely.

  • People who work hard are more likely to have enough to eat, can support themselves more likely.
  • If people are financially frugal, they make wise financial decisions, there’s a better chance that they’re going to have financial freedom.

They may not be wealthy, but we don’t need to be wealthy to be happy. But they’re not going to be in bondage if they’re not head over heals in debt, for example. People who save, who invest wisely are more likely to be prepared for future crises or something that may come up down the road.

  • People who train their children in biblical ways and wisdom are more likely to have children who will bring them joy instead of sorrow.

You see this connection between making wise choices and the results that we reap in our lives.

  • If you speak kindly to people rather than critically, you’re more likely to have people want to be your friend. You’re more likely to have healthy and good relationships.

Now let me say all these things are the rule. There can be exceptions and as you read the book of Proverbs, you need to realize these are not absolute laws. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). That doesn’t mean that no child who grows up in a godly home will ever walk away from it. But he’s saying as a rule, if you just observe the way God’s made the universe, this is the way that it works.

So as wisdom has many benefits and blessings, you need to realize that failing to have wisdom is also costly, that there are consequences.

I received an email recently from a listener who said,

Please pray for wisdom to look at my situation and my life objectively and to know what to do. I was so lacking in good judgment over the past year. I destroyed a valuable friendship and relationship by my ungodly manners and actions.

Now here’s a person who’s starting to get wisdom because they’ve acknowledged "I was foolish and as a result I paid a heavy price. I destroyed a valuable friendship and relationship." And perhaps others in this room can relate to having done that. Maybe a marriage that was destroyed because of not making wise choices.

So the Scripture says that if you get wisdom, you are blessed. There is great blessing associated with having wisdom. Proverbs chapter 3, listen to these verses beginning in verse 13:

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She’s a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast [that is hold fast to wisdom] are called blessed (Proverbs 3:13-18).

When you hear that description, who wouldn’t want that life? Now that doesn’t mean nobody who’s wise will die young or if you’re wise you won’t have any struggles. But as a rule, if you’re wise, you’re going to have a happier life. You’re going to have a better life.

So then the question is, if we really believed that wisdom was more valuable than riches, if we believe nothing we desire is more valuable than wisdom, how might we live differently? How might that affect the choices we make?

For example, if somebody really believed that wisdom was more valuable than gold or silver, they might settle for a job that paid less or opt to work less than 70 or 80 hours a week in order to have more time to cultivate their heart and their relationship with the Lord. They might say instead of doing these two jobs to try and get ahead, I’m going to be willing to stay behind the Joneses a little bit by taking fewer hours or one less job. That might affect their decision in that way.

They might decide to make sacrifices financially in order to be able to stay home and raise their children rather than letting somebody else do it who may not have wisdom. That might be how it would affect a woman’s choice. It might affect your decisions in relation to how your children are schooled. Now I’m not going to say how you should school your children, but if you believe that wisdom is more important than any wealth, that will have some bearing on how you decide to school your children.

If you think that wisdom is really, really valuable, it will affect what you do with your free time. It will affect what you read. It will affect how you spend your money. It might mean, for example, that before you move to some other city and take a new job and perhaps move your family with you that you’d be sure that there’s a strong local church to plug into. If you believe that wisdom is more important than gold.

There’s a woman sitting in this room today who’s husband is in the medical profession and moved their whole family here to Little Rock, not to get a better job—started a whole new practice with some sacrifice involved there—but to put his family in a church where the family could grow spiritually. Moved half-way across the country.

Now most people don’t make finding a great local church the basis for their decision for moving, but might that not be a wise way to think?

If you really believe that wisdom is more valuable than any wealth, it means that you will be willing to make sacrifices and to pay a great price in order to have this exquisite jewel. You’ll be willing to pay a price.

I’m thankful that my parents were willing to pay a price for us to have a Christian education and I think about some of the kids that I grew up with in that school whose parents did not have high-paying jobs and really made huge sacrifices for their kids to be in Christian school. You know why those parents did that? Because they wanted their children to have wisdom, and they were willing to pay a price for that.

So I’m going to ask you this. What is it that you desire? What is it that you value? Is it to have a mate? To have a child? Health? Friends? A job? A house? For your marriage to work? For your husband to change? To be safe? To be happy? Nothing wrong with those desires. But do you really believe that wisdom is more important than all those desires?

What is it that you desire more than wisdom? Do you realize that nothing can compare with wisdom? Wisdom is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire can compare with her. So what are you willing to pay to be wise? What’s wisdom worth to you? What are you willing to invest to develop wisdom, to get wisdom, to help your children become wise? Time? Resources? Effort? There’s no price too great to pay to get wisdom because when you get wisdom, you get all kinds of other blessings along with it.

Leslie: Those are thought-provoking words from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Wisdom is deeply valuable and like anything of value, you have to be willing to invest the time and effort to cultivate it. Let today’s program be the beginning of a resolve to make wise choices. I hope you’ll follow up and discover new treasures of wise living by getting a copy of Nancy’s Bible study, Seeking Him.

Not everyone will go through this study because it’s challenging and convicting. But as someone looking for the treasure of valuable wisdom, you’ll be deeply rewarded by Seeking Him. You’ll discover the joy of personal revival and have a new appreciation for humility, honesty, purity, and obedience. You’ll walk through Scriptures on these topics and learn to apply it as you make wise choices.

We’ll send you Seeking Him when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com to donate and take advantage of this offer.

Well, every parent needs godly wisdom for situations that just seem impossible. Learn how parents can find the direction they need tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts .

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.