As Caesar traveled through the land of the Gauls, he noticed an unusual custom observed by these warrior peoples. After battles, the Gauls gather the spoils of war into the local village and pile them in sacred heaps in public places. As the inhabitants go about their normal duties, they pass by the glittering mounds of gold and silver objects with no thought of taking them secretly. Day after day, the morning sun reflects off the treasures reminding citizens of the victory in battle, fanning a pride in accomplishment. And in the evening’s moon glow, as people return from the fields, these spoils of war usher them home, breeding quiet confidence in the army’s power.
Should anyone break these rules and pilfer from the treasure pile secretly, woe to them. If discovered, they are dragged from their home and tortured grievously for the offense.
Achan could have profited by this custom of honesty. It was Achan who stole from his town’s sacred pile of war loot, dreaming night after night of a beautiful mantel from Shinar. He took the mantle and stole 200 shekels of silver and a heavy bar of gold, hurrying home to bury them in the ground beneath his family tent. When Joshua discovered this breach of trust, the retaliation was brutal and swift (Joshua 7).
Jesus offers valuable spiritual advice about treasure: “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).
Treasure Hunting—Proverbs 2:1-5—Drummondtown Baptist Church—November 4, 2018, Dr. David R. Denny PhD
Introduction: Today we’re going to do some treasure hunting. It’s not going to be easy. Expect some hardships. It is Solomon himself who dares us to undertake this challenge. He tells us clearly that there are hidden treasures waiting for those willing to search (v4).
*I would like to take you back to a treasure found almost by accident by a wealthy German businessman named Heinrich Schliemann. He began the adventure of a lifetime by setting out to find ancient Troy. Homer wrote about this battle of Troy and Schliemann knew Homer almost by heart. This ancient tale by Homer so captured his imagination that he set out one day in 1871 to prove Troy existed. After several years of poking around in a place called Hissarlik —-western Turkey—where he thought Troy to be, he indeed did find the old city just as Homer had described. —-But this was not enough for Schliemann. He wanted to find the Treasures of Priam, the king of Troy. He reasoned that the king must have buried his treasure in the ground somewhere in the city so the invading Greek soldiers would not find it.
One day as he was propping up a trench on the southeastern side of the city, he saw a glimpse of gold starring at him from beneath the crumbling dirt. It turned out to be the spectacular hidden treasure. One of the many items was a golden headdress worn by his queen that dribbled down over her head in hundreds of delicate golden strands.
As we begin our own adventure this morning searching for hidden treasure, we will follow the guidelines of Solomon himself. And if you do so you will be richly rewarded beyond your expectation. You too will find a treasure of value far greater than the gold of Troy. Solomon wants us all to find the most dramatic and valuable of all treasures—God Himself. He wants to lead us first to Wisdom, Discernment, and Understanding and when we have found these early traces of gold they will take us directly to God Himself. (READ vs 4-5—“If you seek her…you will discover the knowledge of God.”
So, how do we go about finding this “hidden treasure”?…
1. We must awaken our spiritual senses. (v2—“your ear…your heart”). You will not find God—whom Solomon considers to be the greatest treasure that exists—without awakening your spiritual senses. You can see he focuses our attention on our ears and our heart. Solomon wants us to learn how to listen for the still small voice of God who often lingers behind the noise of the modern world. And we must tune our hearts to hear a different melody than plays on the radio stations. Our ears and our hearts must be conditioned to seek wisdom. —— I think he is telling us something profound here about how we live and go about our daily activities. It is possible for people to go galloping through an entire day without once listening for God’s voice. We must change that, Solomon says. We must step out of our doors in the morning and search for the divine. God is there, but we must seek him.
*It was Jeremiah who said to a dispirited nation of Israel held in captivity in Babylon that even though their daily lives were difficult in captivity, they could still find hidden treasure in their misery. Jeremiah 29:12-13—Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
*Michelangelo was only 33 when he was summoned by Pope Julius 11 in 1508 to paint frescoes on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. He was known as a sculptor, not a painter. He was working at this very time on the astonishing 17 foot high “David” in Florence. It was then that the pope summoned him and gave him the plum commission to paint the ceiling. Nobody believed he could do it. But of course, we know better. When you walk quietly into the chapel today and stare in silent awe at the great masterpiece, you feel all of your inner senses scrambling to attention. This is what Solomon wants for you as you search for divine treasure. He wants your ears to hear the quiet voice of God in your daily walks and your heart to open in your valiant quest for God.
2. We must awaken our voices. Solomon wants us to invoke more than our ears and our hearts. He wants us to lift our voices in this quest for treasure. (2:3: “… cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding”).There is a rising intensity here as our search for treasure continues. We are now progressing from the silent search with our ears and hearts to a more boisterous calling out for God. “Cry out for discernment,” says Solomon and “lift your voice for understanding.”
*When I was little I ran away from home. I was living on the Yokohama Air Force base and I was in the 3rd grade. My mom had ticked me off somehow. I can’t remember what happened, but I remember very clearly running away. I had made it all the way to my school, and I was determined to never ever go home again. I would live like Huckleberry Finn using my wits to survive. I was just about to begin this new life when I heard my mother calling out for me way off in the distance. It was a sound I will never forget. It was not just a call. It was more like a sorrowful wailing. There was a desperate tone in her voice I had never heard before. As she came closer and closer, the voice grew louder, more pressing and poignant. I hid behind the corner of the building. My heart began to slowly melt as I felt her anguish. I finally stepped out surrendering so she wouldn’t cry anymore, and she took home lovingly.
There is something about calling out, about lifting our voices to a cause. And Solomon tells us to do this very thing as we search for God.
Jesus once said the most amazing thing as He walked triumphantly toward the city of Jerusalem inLuke 19:40. The people who lined the road toward Bethany were tossing their coats on the road before Him praising in a loud voice. The Pharisees didn’t like it all. They told Jesus to order the mob to be silent. “But Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out’).And so, as you move through your day, find time to cry out to the Lord.
3. Solomon Promises us Success. As we conclude our quest for hidden treasure Solomon is quick to tell us the most important fact of treasure hunting. The Treasure is meant to be found. v5: “you will discover the knowledge of God.” For God is never so distant or so reclusive or hidden that we cannot find Him. He wants to be found. Again we turn to Jeremiah where He records the voice of God telling us that God will be found if we search for Him with all our heart. I’m so happy to hear that. It would be discouraging to be always be looking for something and never to find it.
When we had our Easter egg hunt last year, I remember it was a beautiful day outside. We had about 90 or so folks crammed inside the fellowship hall while Diane and her elves began hiding the eggs. I’m not sure how many eggs she hid, but I know it was hundreds and hundreds. Scores of little treasures all tucked away in the yard beneath bushes and flowers. And when the kids were released to find them, I think they were all plucked from their hiding places in less than five minutes! Those treasures were hidden but in such a way that anybody who searched for them could find them.
Our search for hidden treasure is now coming to an end for this morning. But let’s always remember Solomon’s wise words. Begin your daily search for God with your ears and your heart opening like a rose beneath the sun. Then open your voices in prayer and call out for God. And when you do these things you will find hidden treasure for God wants you to find Him.