Summary: Though more precious than gold, wisdom is not hidden like gold is. Wisdom is all around us and is easily accessible for all who seek it.
Proverbs 8:1-11, 22-26 “The Gift of Wisdom”
Normally we think that wisdom comes with age, but not always. Sometimes it comes from the mouths of children.
· Patrick, age 10, said, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
· Michael, 14, said, “When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.”
· Michael said, “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
· Kyoyo, age 9, said, “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”
· Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
· Lauren, age 9 said, “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
· Joel, 10 years old, said, “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.”
· Eileen, age 8 said, “Never try to baptize a cat.”
Wisdom is a commodity that we prize; we all want to be known as wise people. The question that we have, of course, is, “How do we become wise?” “Does wisdom only come with age or with experience?” The eighth chapter of Proverbs gives us some interesting insights to wisdom—some may even surprise us.
A PERSONAL MENTOR
One of the most effective ways to acquire wisdom is through a mentor. A mentor has the age and experience to accumulate wisdom. He or she is able to pass on this wisdom to those with whom he or she has a relationship. We can gain wisdom from mentors on how to live life, how to be effective and successful in our work, and how to be faithfully obedient as disciples of Jesus Christ.
All of us have mentors in our lives. For most of us our parents were our first mentors. Teachers and coaches can be mentors. Work associates and supervisors and bosses can be mentors. Pastors, or our brothers and sisters in Christ can be mentors in our walk with God. An elderly lady named Emma Brye was a prayer mentor for me. She prayed for fifty years for a revival in her North Dakota congregation.
The writer of Proverbs portrays wisdom as a person. Wisdom is not a set of rules to live by, but rather a person who speaks and with whom we can have a relationship. For us as Christians the person of the Holy Spirit is wisdom to us. One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is that of sanctification. The Holy Spirit shares wisdom with us that transforms our lives and molds us into the image of God.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks to this implantation of wisdom when he writes the words of the Lord, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
THE CALL OF WISDOM
The writer of Proverbs starts chapter eight portraying wisdom as a person calling out to passersby in a similar way as people of ill repute. There’s a brashness and a forcefulness in wisdom’s words. Unfortunately few heed wisdom’s invitation. They are more responsive to walking the other path.
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. You might recall Odysseus encountered the sirens in his travels that are recorded by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Instead of destruction, Wisdom calls people to life. Wisdom—the Holy Spirit—calls all people to lives of faithfulness and righteousness. Righteousness is referenced in verse 8, and faithfulness to truth and noble things is personified by Wisdom in verses 6 and 7. Wisdom’s is an encouraging invitation and not a confrontational rebuke that is characteristic of the prophets.
Wisdom’s teachings are valuable—more valuable than gold or silver. They are life transforming and open the door for us to experience life in the manner for which God created us.
THE WISDOM OF CREATION
Wisdom’s teachings are not new; they go back to the beginning of time. Before God spoke the first words of creation, or formed humankind out of stardust, Wisdom was by God’s side. When God created, God used wisdom—mind, intelligence, common sense—in undertaking creation.
Wisdom—the Holy Spirit—doesn’t teach us a bunch of rules. Instead Wisdom teaches us about creation and the more we know about creation the more precious we find Wisdom to be. Wisdom teaches us about this God who creates order out of chaos. We learn that God is a God of relationships and love. God longs to care for us and for us to walk in conversation with God.
Creation is governed by certain laws. There is the law of gravity, or the law of action/reaction. These laws are woven into creation. In a similar manner, wisdom is an intricate part of creation. Righteousness and faithfulness are laws that are a part of creation and of wisdom. Evil and self-centeredness were never a part of the original creation, nor are they a part of wisdom.