So here we are, about one-quarter of the way into Proverbs. If you’ve been reading along—well done! I hope you have enjoyed digging into these texts as much as I have, discovering the path of wisdom, in the fear of Yahweh, toward a good life.
At the very beginning of our journey, I defined wisdom as expertise and competence, as applied skill for living, similar to how we would talk about a craftsman applying skill in his labor. By way of reminder, I made the case for exploring Proverbs daily this way—
Which is why this book, as part of the larger wisdom literature of the Bible (along with Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs), is indispensable in the very natural human longing for a good life. In one sense, Proverbs is this kind of instruction manual that helps us see better the hardwiring of how wisdom is already operating in creation, so that we can follow its lead, and work with it, and not against it (Proverbs teaches us the latter would be folly). This is the path toward Lady Wisdom, this is the path toward a happy life, this is the path toward a good life.
The next seven days of this little writing project were attempts at introducing you to exactly how the wisdom found in this book is worthy of our attention, and indispensable for good living, and a good life. But here’s the thing, they were merely that, attempts at introduction.
In this way, I feel like that guy who’s been asked to introduce the highly popular, sought-after, and charismatic speaker. You find yourself trying to say some thoughtful and compelling things, but all the while realize who people really want to hear from is the person they actually came to see.
And as we take up chapter eight, here she is. Lady Wisdom, in all her glory, ascending to the stage, and addressing us directly. Today, I will let wisdom speak for herself. You won’t want to miss this.
So….without further ado…
1 Listen as Wisdom calls out!
Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2 On the hilltop along the road,
she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3 By the gates at the entrance to the town,
on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4 “I call to you, to all of you!
I raise my voice to all people.
5 You simple people, use good judgment.
You foolish people, show some understanding.
6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
7 for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
8 My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.
I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil.
Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
corruption and perverse speech.
14 Common sense and success belong to me.
Insight and strength are mine.
15 Because of me, kings reign,
and rulers make just decrees.
16 Rulers lead with my help,
and nobles make righteous judgments.
17 “I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me.
18 I have riches and honor,
as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold,
my wages better than sterling silver!
20 I walk in righteousness,
in paths of justice.
21 Those who love me inherit wealth.
I will fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning,
before he created anything else.
23 I was appointed in ages past,
at the very first, before the earth began.
24 I was born before the oceans were created,
before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25 Before the mountains were formed,
before the hills, I was born—
26 before he had made the earth and fields
and the first handfuls of soil.
27 I was there when he established the heavens,
when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28 I was there when he set the clouds above,
when he established springs deep in the earth.
29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas,
so they would not spread beyond their boundaries.
And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30 I was the architect at his side.
I was his constant delight,
rejoicing always in his presence.
31 And how happy I was with the world he created;
how I rejoiced with the human family!
32 “And so, my children, listen to me,
for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise.
Don’t ignore it.
34 Joyful are those who listen to me,
watching for me daily at my gates,
waiting for me outside my home!
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
36 But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death.”
(Proverbs 8, New Living Translation)
What a glorious thing wisdom is! How worthy of our pursuit! Today, we simply ask—cause us to love wisdom, for she loves all who love her, and she makes herself available to those who seek her diligently. Make us lovers and seekers, for her gifts are better than gold, and her wages better than silver. Who wouldn’t want her? For whoever finds her finds LIFE, and, favor from you! So give us a heart for wisdom, we pray, dearest Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit, who is at work within us.
Yes, and very amen, in Jesus’ name.
Pursuing Lady Wisdom with you,
Proverbs Thirty-One Day Reading Plan
August 14: Proverbs ch. 1
Aug. 15: ch. 2
Aug. 16: ch. 3
Aug. 17: ch. 4
Aug. 18: ch. 5
Aug. 19: Grace Day
Aug. 20: ch. 6
Aug. 21: ch. 7
Aug. 22: ch. 8
Aug. 23: ch. 9
Aug. 24: ch. 10
Aug. 25: ch. 11
Aug. 26: Grace Day
Aug. 27: ch. 12
Aug. 28: ch. 13
Aug. 29: ch. 14
Aug. 30: ch. 15
Aug. 31: ch. 16
Sept. 1: ch. 17
Sept. 2: Grace Day
Sept. 3: ch. 18
Sept. 4: ch. 19
Sept. 5: ch. 20
Sept. 6: ch. 21
Sept. 7: ch. 22
Sept. 8: ch. 23
Sept. 9: Grace Day
Sept. 10: ch. 24
Sept. 11: ch. 25
Sept. 12: ch. 26
Sept. 13: ch. 27
Sept. 14: ch. 28
Sept. 15: ch. 29
Sept. 16: Grace Day
Sept. 17: ch. 30
Sept. 18: ch. 31
I had a class on preaching once, many years ago, from a pastor and a professor. And here is what he argued was the key question the preacher must ask of every text of Scripture:
2 Corinthians and The Whole Story
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In the unsearchable counsel of God's will for the world, he has so designed that salvation will come through the church, that body of people gathered by the power of his Holy Spirit.
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One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Whole Story
On Sunday, January 7th, we will begin a year and a half exploration of the whole story of the whole Bible...
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