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
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.
Day Thirteen: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
One of the key assumptions we’ve been working with as we make our way through the wisdom literature is that God has hardwired wisdom into the way creation (and the creatures within it…us) operates. It was there at the beginning. It’s the inner logic of everything, and the secret code for how it works. (see Proverbs 8:22-31)
Day Eleven: A Pig Is Still A Pig
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. (Proverbs 11:22, English Standard Version) “Well…I never!” she replied to the King. Reading this proverb, it seems highly probable to me, given the stories of King Solomon and all the women in his life (1 Kings 11:3), that this was probably a proverb born from experience. He comes along a beautiful woman, of high social standing, of influence and power; but in his interactions with her, he begins to see her true self shining through all her external adornments. She has no discretion—she is a woman of loose and dissolute conversation, her mind and conscience are defiled. There’s a beauty for the eye, but the corruption of her character slowly transforms how Solomon sees her, and no amount of jewelry will cover that up.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.