“Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?”
~Proverbs 8:1 (NRSV).
As Christians we’re very apt to think of the greatest gift of God as that being the re-birth in Christ. But perhaps God’s greatest, more fundamental gift is the thing that underpins salvation—being that Jesus is Wisdom, as is the Godhead.
We find it strange to conjure thought of something coming from where Wisdom comes; always there, eternally. As God was, is and is to come... so was, is and will be, Wisdom.
Personification – “Wisdom”
One thing we need to continue to recognise—and come back to time and again—within Proverbs is wisdom is personified as a woman, and is hence capitalised: Wisdom.
There are important reasons for this—besides the choice of gender—for wisdom becomes more real to us, like God, when it’s known as a person would be known, and it’s possible to attach to it human qualities for our further comprehension. This enriches the character of Wisdom for us.
Reminiscences of Proverbs 1:20-33
Wisdom makes another speech here, calling out to all, the simple, the foolish—to all.
We are hearing Wisdom speak perhaps, as the case would have it, with a sense of déjà vu. There is an echo of sense that fills our minds; we’ve heard this before. Of course, there’s good reason. We all need these messages from Wisdom to ring continually through our minds, filtering in and through our consciousness such that we might grow beyond staying stuck in our ruts of spiritual convenience.
Wisdom Calling – Proverbs 8:1-11
The truth of the matter is God’s calling to us in nothing more certainly than through Wisdom; the agency of life, the Lord cloaked in the manifestation of life, cause and effect, virtue, righteousness, justice and fairness.
Wisdom calls to the whole of God’s creation, certainly to humankind in its totality.
It commands us to listen, for we’re so apt to run the way away from Wisdom in our transitory folly. Jesus called it wisdom, that thing that would be known wise of its children i.e. what comes after (Matthew 11:19). This is the adjudication of both wisdom and folly—how things turn out. Wisdom is calling us to good things as they will turn out and end up, via a process also that is blessed in love, good sense and truth—that gets it to the outcome known of wisdom.
The Character of Wisdom – How She is Known
Verses 12-21 tell us a lot of what Wisdom actually looks like, how she interacts and what she values.
Wisdom dwells in and possesses things such as prudence, knowledge and discretion. These are sharply against pride, arrogance and perverted speech. They embrace, and are very much at home with, the much-cherished fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7).
She is the modus operandi of kings, rulers and nobles—they rule righteously with Wisdom. Anything less is a blight on a godless leadership who rules over a cursed people. A sovereign power purposed in the vestiges of Wisdom knows the value of wisdom is of more value than all the world’s silver and gold.
Most applicably, Wisdom is blessing the person who loves her, endowing them with much wealth that money cannot buy, filling their very treasuries (verse 21).
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.