Please read Proverbs 1:1-9.
Proverbs 1:9, “For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. 4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Or, she shall compass thee with a crown of glory.”
In five of the seven cases where the word ornament is used, we find that it refers to using it as an item of beauty, as in Proverbs 25:12: “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.” The plural of ornament is used about 14 times in the Old Testament. Only Proverbs uses the word as an ornament of grace.
The only time we see the word ornament used in the New Testament is in 1 Peter 3:4, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” The Greek word Praus is used for meek and tells us that we must put on meekness as we would an ornament on the body. We understand that all the ornaments of the world and on the body have little value, but a meek and quiet spirit has great value in the sight of God. This is what our text is all about: not the decoration of the body from head to toe, but developing a spiritual ornament of grace that will not only bring honor and glory to God but will also help us to live a more victorious Christian life.
I. THE ORNAMENT OF WISDOM
In verse two, Solomon begins with wisdom, instruction, and understanding. In other words, a Christian who walks with God ought to know the difference between right and wrong. Wisdom in this case is not only the wisdom of God, but also wisdom in every area of our Christian life. Instruction helps us to comprehend the doctrines of the Bible so that we will apply wisdom as an ornament of grace. Wisdom, instruction, and understanding are all as one and should never be separated because true wisdom consists of not only knowing but also doing the will of God.
II. THE ORNAMENT OF JUSTICE, JUDGMENT AND EQUITY
In Verse three, he follows with justice, judgment, and equity, speaking of those who are in good standing with God and their fellow man: that is, to learn to conform our lives to them and to submit to the correction of God and of those who are wiser than we. When we make God’s wisdom our main focus in life, there will be no delay in learning and doing that which He requires of us.
III. THE ORNAMENT OF DISCRETION
In verse four, we see that the result of wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, and equity is the discretion to rule themselves.
Most unsaved people want little to do with any of God’s wisdom because they tend to apply their own knowledge, thinking that all their success in life depends upon their own understanding. These are as young men not yet mature or experienced; though they have grown older, they are yet inexperienced and self-oriented and in need of wisdom as well as discretion. The Hebrew word for discretion could apply to being used in a good or a bad situation.
Proverbs 3:21, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.”
IV. THE ORNAMENT OF EXPERIENCE
In verse five, we see that a wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: This advice is given to those that may be inexperienced, as well as to those who have gained some knowledge and understanding. It is by experience that we gain wisdom and understanding; a wise man of understanding is one who understands the worth of knowledge. He has wisdom to seriously seek it, whereas fools despise instruction and will never experience true wisdom, instruction, or understanding.
In verses seven through nine, we learn the basics of wisdom, and in the following verses, we see the application of wisdom, instruction, and understanding, and the danger of not acting upon that which we have been taught.
The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge:” No man will ever become experienced in true Bible wisdom that does not begin with the fear and love of God. I believe that a young person, though lacking experience, has the potential to learn great wisdom if it begins with the fear and love of God. God says fools despise wisdom and instruction, because their heart is evil, and they do not fear or love God. Those who wish true wisdom must begin by devoting themselves to serving God and allowing Him to make their everyday decisions.
In verse eight, the inexperienced young person is given some good advice, My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: The same word used for father is used of God the Father; however, I believe, in this case, He is definitely telling the young to listen to and to obey their parents—not bad advice for all readers!
V. THE ORNAMENT OF GRACE
Then, in verse nine, we see that the conclusion of the whole matter is that an ornament of grace is respect and obedience in the life of the Christian, and it will be as readily seen by others as an ornament on the body.
I believe God is teaching young and old to act according to the principles of true wisdom, beginning with the fear and love of God, because reverence and respect for our parents and God will not only cause us to prosper but also to honor and glorify the Lord
No bodily ornament will ever be more respectable and honorable to the Christian than true Bible wisdom, instruction, understanding, equity, and discretion, together with a deep desire to learn the principles that make an ornament of grace.
Proverbs 4:9, “She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”
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Bro. Nikoley emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family at age 13. He served full time in the Nevada Air National Guard for six years. At age 32, He was saved, and in 1977, he graduated from Bible College. He pastored for over 31 years, 27 of them at Pomerado Road Baptist Church in Poway, California. Bro. Nikoley has served at Golden State Baptist College in the Bible Department and also as the Student Employment Director since 2007. He and his wife Mary have two children and have been married for 58 years.