Today’s Scripture Lesson: Proverbs 8
Proverbs is an interesting word. It’s the title of a book from the Bible, but we also hear it used when speaking of eastern religion. Confucius is known for doling out wisdom in the form of proverbial one-liners. In general, we can think of this word as an indicator of wisdom. In fact, Christians often refer to the book of Proverbs as “wisdom literature”.
Wisdom is so very much at the heart of this particular Old Testament scripture that wisdom is no longer an “it”, but rather a character “who” speaks directly to us.
Who Is Lady Wisdom?
Wisdom is given a feminine pronoun with a few companions named “Understanding” and “Knowledge”. In the same way the Bible presents faith, hope, and love, Wisdom is presented as one part of a durable cord of three strands. From the strength and security of that cord, she reveals that:
- She is greater than jewels.
- She is greater than gold and choicest silver.
- She dwells in prudence (care, caution, good judgment).
- She finds knowledge in discretion.
- By her, kings reign and princes rule.
- By her, rulers decree justice.
- She is understanding.
While this is a beautiful list, one of my favorite revelations is this:
“My mouth will utter truth.” (Proverbs 8:7)
There is a wonderful parallel here with what Jesus says of the Holy Spirit in John 16:13-14:
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
The Wealth of Wisdom Revealed
As we read this chapter, we find that Wisdom is greater than any earthly treasure.
When looking at Proverbs 8:20-21, it is natural to assume Biblical wisdom is just like wisdom in eastern religion. Standing alone, these verses give the impression that she is the means by which we receive earthly treasure. However, she reveals in verses 22-31 that her treasure is rooted in something altogether different.
Because she is a “who” rather than simply an “it” or a “what”, Biblical wisdom finds fulfillment in that which she is rooted.
The first phrase of Proverbs 8:22 shifts our focus away from the assumptions of earthly wealth in verses 20-21, as she states:
“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way…”
While Israel entered covenant to be God’s possession, Wisdom, the text tells us, was established in Him.
Furthermore, Wisdom finds joy as God’s possession and in His presence. Verse 30 reveals this truth and illustrates the motivation behind it. Wisdom tells us:
“I was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.”
Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was privileged to receive a veiled glimpse of this relationship when my oldest daughter was about 2-years-old. There was a moment when I referred to her with one of my terms of endearment. Her only response was such great joy that she giggled and danced before me. The joy of my heart responded with pure delight. And, together we laughed.
Isn’t this the relationship God desires us to have with Him?
Wisdom’s Rich Perspective
I’ve recently been reading Numbers, and I hope to have a study available to you on this incredible scripture soon. While that study is forthcoming, let me share with you something I wrote in my notes as I read the story of God sending quail to the Israelites who had complained to Moses because they didn’t have any meat to eat.
They went so far as to express their desire to be back in Egypt, where they had meat. As I considered their desires and confessed my own comfort-seeking, consumer mindset, I realized there are two questions we tend to ask, even if only tacitly. While we come up with many answers, there is ultimately only one way that Wisdom would actually answer these two questions.
- What’s in it for me?
- What’s in it for God?
It’s really that simple and that beautiful. What’s in it for you? God. What’s in it for God? You.
Throughout the book of Proverbs, Wisdom teaches us that when we turn our desires to the world and forsake our devotion to God, in reality, we’re hoping for the very things that kill and destroy.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Wisdom gives us the play call in verses 32-35:
- Listen to wisdom.
- Heed instruction.
- Find wisdom, for in it you find life and obtain favor from the Lord.
Will you follow her lead?