Thursday, July 28, 2016

Proverbs 22:1: Choosing the Good Name

Proverbs 22:1 --- Choosing the Good Name
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
    and favor is better than silver or gold.

We enter the final section of Solomon's second collection, which runs from 10:1-22:16.  It begins by relativizing money and wealth.  There is something far more valuable than silver and gold.

Earlier in the Book of Proverbs, wisdom has been the treasure that relativized earthly wealth.  Verses like these showed us that we should consider wisdom to be more valuable than money or possessions:

            Take my instruction instead of silver,
                and knowledge rather than choice gold,
            for wisdom is better than jewels,
                and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. (Proverbs 8:10-11)

            How much better to get wisdom than gold!
                To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. (Proverbs 16:16)

But in our proverb, it is not wisdom that relativizes wealth, but rather a good name.  But the question then arises:  Whose name could relativize wealth like this?  Scripture's answer is given in Philippians 2:9-11:

"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus Christ is the One in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found (Colossians 2:3), and he has been given the name by the Father that is above all names.  Therefore, he is the great treasure we should seek above all else.  He is the treasure a man finds, and in his joy gives all he has to obtain (Matthew 13:44).  Such is his worth!

As believers in Christ we are given the highest privilege to bear the name of Jesus Christ.  We are baptized into his name (e.g., Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48 et. al.).  We bear his name.  We are restored to the incredible privilege of the image bearers of God.  We are Christ's new creation, restored to represent his name in all we say and do in an unbelieving world.  Though this may make us unpopular with some or many, it does not matter.  What matters is to have the love and favor of God our Father through Christ our Lord.  The flame of faith is quenched and put out when we seek the favor of man, rather than the favor and glory of God: "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44) Jesus asks. 

O may we rejoice, not in the praise of men, for Jesus tells us plainly this will not always be the case for his faithful people (Luke 6:26).  But, rather, may we rejoice in this:  we belong to Jesus, whose name is above all names; through his name our "names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20); and through his name we have the favor and blessing of God forever.  Amen.

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