Wisdom As A Woman
Wisdom has called, pleaded, and warned against falling prey to the seductress. She now appeals to her hearers to embrace her instead.
Proverbs Chapter 8
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His boys were now young men. They were good looking, sons of a wealthy high profile public figure and drawing predictable female attention. Their father is now increasingly mindful that his sons are in a potentially vulnerable situation. He wants them to live wisely so that any relationship they enter is based on fidelity and commitment. If they can achieve this, they have been taught that life will treat them well. If they forsake wisdom and pursue folly, they will endure emotional and relational agony. He has taught them well. But he realises that increasingly his sons are going to be listening to other influences. This is one of the last opportunities he will have to help his sons find wisdom. He wants them to desire wisdom like a, no, the, woman. He wants to sum up all that he has taught them so far.
“Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, or my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.
His boys would one day inherit more wealth than most successful men earn in ten lifetimes. Their father knew full well this could be their ruin. He wanted them to master their wealth rather than them be mastered by it. For this to happen, he would have to help them to prize and treasure wisdom more than their impending material wealth.
“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.”
Living wisely is a deeply emotional enterprise. It must be. It requires passion for prudence, delight in discretion and hatred for evil.
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.”
In a few years these young men will be men. Their father would increase their responsibilities and their privileges. But before this transition he would continue to train his sons in the finer points of what a strong man should be: someone who exhibited strong character, was a faithful loving husband, a dedicated caring father, a contributer to society, and a man of deep convictions shaped by God’s Word. This goal of manhood could only achieved by the way of wisdom. It meant that most of what would change within a man was his character. A man’s character, he taught his sons, was evident by his attitude, the way he spoke, the type of advisers he sought, and the kind of counsel he received.
“Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.”
Yes, they would receive a handsome inheritance. But he was more interested in them receiving an even more valuable inheritance.
“…granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.
He needed them to understand that people were not naturally born wise. They had to seek it, ask for it, work at it, and submit to it. This pursuit of lasting, character-changing, wisdom was really only made possible by an encounter with God. He was the only one who was naturally wise. Although he knew his analogy could be misconstrued to sound like God created wisdom – implying that there was a time when God was not wise – he felt that it made the point that wisdom has always been present with God. He told them a story from the perspective of Wisdom-
“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep…then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always…”
He had nearly finished training his sons on why they needed to make the pursuit of wisdom their continual life goal. He had two more major things to teach them, then he would share with them some of the things that he had discovered about how to live wisely.
“Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
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Wisdom is a virtue that few can find although all could. Like the very voice of God it is spiritually audible but only to those who seek. The opening verses of Proverbs 8 continues to introduce wisdom by summarising all that it has just been instructing about wisdom. From verse 22 it describes wisdom as being created. But the poetic analogy should not be taken too far. The point of this expression is to say that wisdom has always existed. In First Corinthians 1:24, Christ is described as the Wisdom of God. Just as God has never been not-wise, Christ has never not-been.