Summary: Of Jesus it was said that the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding (Isaiah 11:2).


Proverbs 8:1-4; Proverbs 8:22-31.

Proverbs 8:1-4 alerts us to the call of Wisdom: a call which is heard in the highways and byways of life, in the marketplaces and from the tops of the roof. Dame Folly, by way of contrast, lurks around the corner (Proverbs 7:12), seeking whom she may devour (Proverbs 7:25-27). No wonder, then, that the book of Proverbs tells us that “Wisdom is the principal thing,” and instructs us to “get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7).

In this chapter, Wisdom speaks of herself as having been with the LORD before the beginning of Creation (Proverbs 8:22-23). This elaborates the thought of Proverbs 3:19-20 - and anticipates John 1:1-4. It is clear in both passages that Wisdom/Word was both present and active with God at Creation.

Lady Wisdom (as I like to call her) looks back to the early days of Creation – and before all these, she says, “I was brought forth” (Proverbs 8:24-26). The element of begotten-ness reminds us of the beginning of the Christ hymn (Colossians 1:15-17) – and Wisdom, likewise, has the status of the firstborn, and all that that implies. In the New Testament it is Jesus who is recognized as the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

Wisdom “was there” (Proverbs 8:27-29) at the marking out of the foundations of Creation, at the separating of the waters, and at the setting of the limits of the sea (cf. Genesis 1:6-10). Here we see this personification of Wisdom as contemporary with God. We also see Wisdom in community with God as architect, builder, and ruler.

Depending how the opening phrase of Proverbs 8:30 is translated, Wisdom was there either as a fellow-worker or as playful companion. She was either the subject of His delight, or filled with delight. Wisdom’s joy in the presence of the LORD is always uninhibited.

Like the LORD, Wisdom’s joy is in the whole world: and especially in the human race (Proverbs 8:31). This causes us to exclaim with the Psalmist: ‘What is man, that he remembered is by thee? Or what the son of man, that thou so kind to him should be?’ (Psalm 8:4).

Of Jesus it was said that ‘the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding…’ (Isaiah 11:2). Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52), taught with wisdom (Matthew 13:54), and worked through wisdom (Mark 6:2). Jesus manfully rose to the defense of the metaphor which I have called Lady Wisdom (Luke 7:35) - which was, in a sense, another way of defending Himself.

It was the wisdom of God that set the Cross at the centre of the plan of salvation. This was foolishness to the world, but not to those who are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:21). The world may think us strange to embrace this strange teaching – but it is our wisdom to do so.

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