Monday, August 29
Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
when panic strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
For waywardness kills the simple,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but those who listen to me will be secure
and will live at ease without dread of disaster.”
This week we have the opportunity to read sections of the first part of the book of Proverbs. In this section we read about wisdom. And we come across this figure of Wisdom.
Wisdom—in Greek the word is Sophia—almost seems like a real person. Some people have seen Sophia as a god. This idea has been controversial, but it’s important to know.
Here we see Wisdom with the attributes of a person. Wisdom has a voice and is crying out to people. Wisdom has thoughts and shares them with people who will listen.
Often Wisdom is calling out to people to choose a path. It is the path of wisdom, of course. When this path is identified, we often find another path. It’s a contrary path. It’s a path of people who are scoffers, one where people hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, one where people choose their own way.
Wisdom communicates that this path will lead to disaster.
Each day each of us has a choice to choose one of these paths. The choice is not always easy.
What are some ways that you have found helpful to choose the path of wisdom? Please share.
Tuesday, August 30
My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you.
Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will find favor and high regard
in the sight of God and of people.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.
Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
Verses 5-6 are worth memorizing.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
We read often in the book of Proverbs that wisdom is a choice that begins with the fear or acknowledgment of God. The other path is one where people don’t turn to God. People rely on themselves.
This is the choice—start with God or start with ourselves.
Human insight and knowledge is important. We use them in making decisions and living our lives. But we turn to God first and then use our insight and knowledge. By turning to God first we are trusting in the Lord.
A simple prayer that can be helpful is this, “Help me choose you first today. Don’t let me be so self-centered that I fail to look for your guidance.”
Try this prayer and see what happens. Remind yourself to pray this prayer.
Memorizing Proverbs 3:5-6 and sharing this prayer will help ground us in wisdom.
Wednesday, August 31
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
Once again we come across the idea that Wisdom founded the earth.
We can interpret these verses in two ways—and perhaps even more. One way is to see Wisdom as divine who was with God when the earth was created. Another way is to see wisdom as a concept that was put into the earth at creation.
Throughout history, people have given strong arguments for each way.
Quite a lot is at stake in which way we interpret these verses. The church has always seen God as a Trinity (which has never been easy for many people to understand). The Trinity believes that God is three in one—Father, Son and Holy Spirit or Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit. To think that wisdom is divine suggests that another part of the divine has not been mentioned.
In our day-to-day faith life, the way we interpret these verses might not seem significant. But for people who teach and preach a lot is riding on our interpretation.
What are your thoughts?
Thursday, September 1
Does not wisdom call
and 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 out:
“To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all who live.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
acquire intelligence, you who lack it.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
for 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 one who understands
and right to those who find knowledge.
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.
I, wisdom, live with prudence,
and I attain knowledge and discretion.
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.
I have good advice and sound wisdom;
I have insight; I have strength.
By me kings reign,
and rulers decree what is just;
by me rulers rule,
and nobles, all who govern rightly.
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me.
Riches and honor are with me,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
and my yield than choice silver.
I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
endowing with wealth those who love me
and filling their treasuries.
The eighth chapter of Proverbs has been one of the more controversial chapters in the Scriptures. The controversy has to do with whether Wisdom is divine or something else.
However a person looks at this issue, we can see attributes of wisdom in this chapter.
The words of wisdom are righteous (verse 8)
The instruction of wisdom is better than money (verse 10)
Through wisdom a person lives with prudence, knowledge and discretion (verse 12)
The fear of the Lord is the path of wisdom (verse 13)
The fruit of wisdom is better than gold (verse 19)
The concepts of wisdom are righteousness and justice. (verse 20-21)
These ideas give us a general understanding of the path of wisdom. By choosing this path we live by these ideals.
What take-aways do you have from these words? Please share.
Friday, September 2
“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
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,
when he had not yet made earth and fields
or the world’s first bits of soil.
When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master worker,
and I was daily his delight,
playing before him always,
playing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.
“And now, my children, listen to me:
happy are those who keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
Happy 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 those who miss me injure themselves;
all who hate me love death.”
When we read these verses we can see how someone would see Wisdom as divine.
Whether we look at Wisdom this way or not, the important idea is choosing the path of wisdom that is presented to us.
Praying for wisdom is significant. In a recent sermon Pastor Paul offered the following prayers that can help us live out wisdom.
“Lord, help me choose the path of wisdom in this situation that is causing my burden.”
“Lord, may this situation lead me to greater wisdom and understanding. Lord, may my suffering reveal to me the path of wisdom.”
Pray these prayers today!
Saturday, September 3
Wisdom has built her house;
she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her animals; she has mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her female servants; she calls
from the highest places in the town,
“You who are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”
Throughout history people have debated what are the seven pillars of wisdom that are mentioned here.
Some have seen them as the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Some have seen them as the seven churches in the book of Revelation.
Some have seen seven as a holy number.
Some have seen seven to be a description of many.
We can imagine our own home to be a house of wisdom. We could even imagine a church building to be a house of wisdom. It could be possible for a congregation to name itself, “House of Wisdom.”
Whatever the meaning, pray that your own foundation will be of wisdom.