We’re almost there. Almost to Proverbs, chapter 10, where King Solomon lists wisdom in one-liners which span 21 chapters. There’s enough shrewdness to pass along to your unsuspecting followers and friends written within these verses to clog a Twitter or Facebook feed for months, maybe even years. Solomon covers IT ALL, from being a good friend to how to care for an animal, from how to be a good spouse to controlling your tongue and from the proper way to handle wealth to raising your children right.
Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. (19:18)
See that? I couldn’t help it. I just had to sneak in a verse prematurely.
In chapter 8, where our study brings us to today, we receive an autobiography of sorts on Lady Wisdom, God’s (through King Solomon) created embodiment of intelligence, judiciousness and righteousness. You know, the “person” we’ve been studying about in Proverbs, from chapter one up until now. “She” is the mentor we should follow, the wise counselor we should listen to, the instructor we should obey.
Part Seven – Chapters 8-9
Invitations of Wisdom and Folly
Verses 12-16 of chapter eight summarize what we’ve been studying for weeks: why we should listen and obey “Lady” Wisdom.
12“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion….
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have insight, I have power.
15 By me kings reign
and rulers make laws that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
and nobles—all who rule on earth.
Now, in the following verses of chapter eight, we’ll learn of another reason why it would behoove us to follow in her footsteps. “Lady” Wisdom tells us that she was brought forth by God before anything was created and is the foundation of all that came after, for in the beginning everything was perfect, made according to the wisdom of God.
22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
23 I was fashioned from eternity,
from the very beginning, before the world began.
24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the earth or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, building the foundations of our universe upon solid wisdom: upon Truth and perfectness. Godly wisdom created the oceans, the mountains and the heavens. It is God’s perfect workings that have created our bodies to function so perfectly, from the intricacies of our brain to the supportive nature of our big toe. He ensured the cycle of life would be complete, from the plankton to the fish and finally to the whale. God created photosynthesis and developed the inner workings of every tiny cell. He knows exactly how many hairs are on your head.
And while God was creating our world – He decided six days would be long enough – “Lady” Wisdom was there. She was the craftsman at His side. With each new creation Wisdom rejoiced, specifically delighting in the creation of mankind.
But that was then and this is now. We aren’t so perfect anymore and there is nothing about us worth rejoicing or delighting over. We are marred, disgusting really, in the eyes of God: a far cry from the perfect creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Thankfully, we have Jesus to cleanse us of our filth, daily in fact, and the wisdom in Proverbs to help keep us that way. “Through wisdom our days will be many,” we’re told, “and years will be added to our life” (9:11). We ought to follow, listen and obey the wisdom of God for upon it our very existence lies.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (9:10).