Summary: In the call of wisdom, we can see: 1) Wisdom’s Cry 2) Wisdom’s Warning & 3) Wisdom’s Punishments & Rewards

Proverbs 1:20-33 "Wisdom’s Warning"

Everton Community Church. Sunday, June 13 2010

Stephen Hawking, the biggest brain among the big brains of physics, took the star turn here for the recent World Science Festival. That he is now spending several weeks at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., is a feather in the cap of Canadian science.

But before he left New York this week, he gave a widely noticed interview to Diane Sawyer, in which she asked him about the biggest mystery he would like solved. "I want to know why the universe exists, why there is something greater than nothing," Hawking explained.

That is, as the ancient Greeks did not say, the granddaddy of all philosophical questions. Why is there something rather than nothing? No matter how clever you are, if you don’t have a compelling answer to that question, you can only aspire to knowledge--albeit impressive knowledge--but not wisdom. (Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post • Thursday, Jun. 10, 2010 )

Proverbs is God’s word on wisdom. Central to that wisdom is coming to the realization of what we don’t know. Even though Stephen Hawking is considered a genius in the field of physics, he has an awareness that there are fundamental questions he does not have the answer to. Wisdom is coming to God for answers to these questions.

Wisdom is calling out to us in the midst of our busy lives to stop/listen/and heed. Should we continue on our deluded merry way, when calamity strikes, the message will be too late to hear, and the consequences can be eternal.

In the call of wisdom, we can see: 1) Wisdom’s Cry (Proverbs 1:20–23) 2) Wisdom’s Warning (Proverbs 1:24-31) and finally: 3) Wisdom’s Punishments & Rewards (Proverbs 1:32-33)

1) Wisdom’s Cry (Proverbs 1:20–23)

Proverbs 1:20-23 [20]Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; [21]at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: [22]"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? [23]If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.

Perhaps the easiest and most common excuse for doing wrong and falling into trouble is ignorance, that one just did not know any better. That excuse is implicitly rejected here. Wisdom is not some hidden treasure that has to be dug from the depths of the earth (compare Job 28) or the sole possession of the lonely sage sitting atop a mountain. To the contrary, Wisdom roams the streets looking for someone to instruct. The ways of right and wrong, as presented in this word of God, are open for all to read and follow. (Garrett, D. A. (2001). Vol. 14: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (72). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

• Our problem is not that wisdom is hard to find. Our problem is willing to follow it.

In verse 20 Wisdom (ḥokmôt) does not wait for an audience to come to her; she has a mission both in the home and in public. The setting of this instruction, in the street (baḥûṣ, i.e., “out of doors”; cf. 5:16; 7:12; 22:13; 24:27), signifies outside the houses of a town in contrast to the teaching of the hearing son in the home. Although the sermon is literary fiction, the imagery suggests the father, who also sat in the city gate (31:23) and made every effort to reach the uncommitted masses with his teachings. With passion, not with academic dispassion, she cries aloud (tārōnnâ), an onomatopoetic word, to get a hearing. Her podium is the most prominent place at the hub of the city, where she speaks with full lungs and a clear voice above the din and bustle of daily life. In the markets/public squares (bāreḥōbôt) denotes the broad area that offered room for commercial trade and public meetings in contrast to the ancient city’s narrow streets. A plaza could be located just inside the gate, or even between the outer and inner gates as at Tel Dan (A. Biran, “Tel Dan,” BA 37 (1974) 25–71), or at the head of several streets. She raises her voice (tittēn qôlāh) refers to a fervent and emotional situation. “Lady Wisdom,” is no gentle persuader. She shouts, pleads, scolds, reasons, threatens, warns, and even laughs (Aitken, Proverbs, p. 22.).

How does Wisdom speak? In a loud ringing voice that everybody can hear! Through both creation (general revelation) (Rom. 10:18; Ps. 19:1–4) and conscience (Rom. 2:14–16), “what may be known of God is manifest in them [the lost world], for God has shown it to them” (Rom. 1:19, NKJV). The church’s task is to proclaim the Gospel message so everybody can hear, believe, and be saved. Like Wisdom, we must herald the Word (this direct means or special revelation) in an uncompromising way (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be skillful. An Old Testament study. (25). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.).

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