Tam - posted on 07/28/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )
This week we are studying Chapter 9 of Proverbs. Let's take a look at the scripture...
1Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 2She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. 4Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. 5O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 6Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 9They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 10Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 11For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. 12I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 13The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. 15By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. 17I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 18Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. 19My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. 20I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: 21That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. 22The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. 32Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. 33Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. 34Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. 36But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
Chapter 7 talked in great detail about the seductions and dangers of falling into the hands of a harlot (and idolotry, often symbolized by a harlot).
Chapter 8 focuses on the wonders and the sheer excellence of wisdom and the need we each have for Godly wisdom. Again, we see wisdom personified as a woman, an opposite of the harlot, a pure and truthful woman. Perhaps, as harlotry often symbolizes idoltry, then wisdom represents the worship and faith in the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
If so, it could be said to heed wisdom would be to acknowledge there are no other Gods in our lives, that we do not become sidetracked by idols (jobs, friends, material goods, etc.) that would take us away from God.
Again, I suggest we look at this chapter to see exactly how when we apply Godly wisdom, we can become closer to our Lord and do more to put Him first in our lives.
We see from the beginning how wisdom cries out to us. If we are wise, we will heed the advice we read in the entire Bible, listen to God. Revelation 3:22 says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
All too often though, we don't hear because we are drowned in our self--our fears, our angst and anxiety, our own little world. We fall deaf to His wisdom. We need to remember our first lesson...Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God longs for us to seek Him and His will in all things.
Wisdom tries to capture our attention, crying out at the gates and entries and doors of the city. In ancient times, these places were the front porches of the day, a gathering place of Jewish men discussing important matters. If you wished to gain knowledge, you would go to these places and listen to these men who had experienced life and have gained wisdom.
In our day we would go to our elders and those mature Christians to learn and grow in God. We should naturally gravitate to them to be taught. As a Christian, we have a precious gift in the Holy Spirit to call upon wisdom to teach us and give us understanding. God's ways are not our ways, as we are taught. His ways are at war with our sinful flesh. If we are to learn to sacrifice ourselves to His will, we need wisdom to know how.
Wisdom proceeds to tell us what can be gained by seeking Godly wisdom. Excellent things. No wickedness will come from the Truth of God, only righteousness.
We also learn that we should seek wisdom above all else, for if we have Godly wisdom, it is so much more precious than silver and gold, "better than rubies". Nothing we want from the world can be better for us than Godly wisdom.
Verses 12 and 13 show us that if we seek Godly wisdom, prudence should be our banner, discretion our flag. When we follow wisdom we are not rash and erratic. We do not like evil (to fear the Lord is to hate evil) and we do not boast of our lives, our knowledge, and are not arrogant in proud. We speak truth but we should always acknowledge that God is the giver of wisdom.
Let's stop here for a moment. Did you see that? Not proud. Verse 13 puts pride and arrogance on the same wavelength as evil. In society today, pride and arrogance are minor offenses, but we see here that God does not look at them the same as we do.
Pride and arrogance are sins of the self. The root of these vanities is self.
How many people do you know that have massive amounts of knowledge? Whether it be broad knowledge or specialized in a certain field, they know it all. And they boast about it.
And then you have the foolish people who think they know it all and will recklessly bluster their way into conversations to seem important. To puff up their own egos.
Or even, we may have the knowledge a friend needs to heal a broken heart or to fix a problem. All too often we rush into the situation, unheeded and unwanted. Unprepared. We don't pray for timing, we don't pray for God to direct our steps. Instead, we rely on our own knowledge to share that knowledge and save the day. Again, here it can be devastating if a friend is not ready to have your help or if you're doing it to be "savior" to them. That does not glorify God. We need to learn to wait to apply the wisdom He gives us. He will let us know when to speak and when to keep quiet.
Without Him, we would be vainglorious fools. His wisdom shared through the Word saves us from many mistakes if we'll listen and apply. But it is only through Him, His grace.
Notice in verse 14 the words "sound wisdom"? Aren't we told in the Bible that we are to be of a sound mind? This ties back to the above. The old adage, "Fools rush in..." has much honesty in it. We need a sound mind in the Lord to know when to go forward.
Notice also in verse 17 the word "diligently"? We aren't to simply seek wisdom. We are to do so diligently if we are to succeed in finding it. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives us this description for diligence:
1) APPROVING careful and using a lot of effort
2) done in a careful and detailed way
Wow. Makes you stop and think. Sometimes we want wisdom but we rush through, take what we can and leave. II Timothy 2:15 tells us, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Once again, we see scripture confirming scripture. Nothing in the Word is there by accident, my friends. And here in Proverbs we see the need to really give effort to seek out the wisdom of our God! To take the time and pray and study.
When we do, we are rewarded richly in the good things of God. We can live by Christ's example. This wisdom will be enduring long after the things of this world are gone. Remember, in Matthew 6:21, we know that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be. When wisdom fills us with Godly treasure of knowledge, our hearts belong to Him, we long to seek His ways. With His wisdom we can overcome in this life to be with Him for eternity.
Want another example of Scripture confirming Scripture? Verses 22-31 almost mirror Colossians 1:15-20. I won't print them here, but advise you to go take a gander...we'll wait.
Did you see that? First we have confirmation of our Creator, that there is a plan and purpose for us.
But also, the similarity to another passage describing Christ is resounding. Proverbs is not a prophecy book like Daniel and Isaiah, etc. But, you have to wonder if the wisest man known in the world had an inkling of the coming of Christ. Do you think Solomon saw it when he taught this to his son?
Think about this for a moment, Jesus was the Word, the verses in Colossians speak of Jesus. Jesus also told us that He is the Truth. Wisdom is truth, when you think about it. And these verses in Proverbs proclaim the fact that wisdom was there at the beginning. Jesus was with the Father from the beginning. If we think about it, Jesus embodies Godly wisdom. Study the Word, read His sermons and or just His life.
Remember earlier in this chapter that we know to those who seek wisdom, it is plain and understandable? What was it Jesus told the disciples about the parables He taught? Matthew 13:9 "Who hath ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:13-17 "13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
AWESOME! Isn't it? Christ confirms that we need to listen, to heed. He embodies the wisdom we seek and He gives us the way. He is after all, "the Way, the Truth and the Life." He wouldn't lie to us or steer us down a path that might harm us or even kill our souls.
Just as these verses in Proverbs show us again that God deliberately created us (see Creation lessons for more) and planned this beautiful planet, He also deliberately gave us a way to Him through Christ. From the beginning to the end, He knows all we need and provides! Hallelujah!
The last few verses once more show how it would be good for us to heed His wisdom, to follow Christ with out whole being. We are even told "Blessed are those who keep my ways." Wow. Blessed for doing what we would desire to do anyway. Blessed to find life in Him, to experience His favor and blessing.
We only have to seek Him and His wisdom.
And once more, our Lord tells us why with the final verse, "But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death."
God's wisdom is truth, it is good and it endures. If we live by the concepts and understand with a open heart to God and live for His will and wisdom, we become wise to that which could corrupt and even kill us, spirit and/or body.
I don't know about you, but this particular chapter is a favorite of mine in Proverbs. It shows the glorious relationship we can have with Him if we simply apply ourselves to studying His word and praying for understanding, then applying that knowledge to our every day lives as we walk with Him!
Lord, thank you again for Your law! You are so wonderful and wise and we are blessed to be called by You, to have this opportunity to hear what You have to say. We pray that You grant us understanding so we can learn to sacrifice our fleshly desires and walk in Your ways! For Your ways are just and righteous. Order our steps to keep to Your path and our minds and hearts to learn and accept that which You want to teach us. We want to be a blessing for You, oh Lord! It is our heart's desire to be the people You wish us to be for Your glory! Thank you again for everything You have done, for bringing us together to learn Your word and to connect with each other at the gates of Your wisdom! Give us Your guidance to use this wisdom for Your good. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.