Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shades of wisdom

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Proverbs 8:1-19

"I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me." Proverbs 8:17

This chapter, titled "The Excellence of Wisdom" in my Bible, is a poem about wisdom (actually by wisdom, for Wisdom speaks as if a person throughout).

In the part of Proverbs 8 that is our reading today, wisdom describes herself. Let's look through these 19 verses to compile a list of wisdom's attributes as stated and shown in them.

Wisdom is:

  • Bold - The way this chapter starts out with wisdom crying out from hilltops, crossroads and city gates brings to mind another kind of woman. It's as if wisdom, knowing the importance of persuading people to her way is not above using the wiles of the loose woman (Proverbs 9:13-17).
  • Prudent: "O you simple ones, understand prudence…" Proverbs 8:5,12.
  • Understanding - "… you fools, be of an understanding heart" - Proverbs 8:5,15.
  • Recognized and identified by speech - "Listen for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things" - Proverbs 8:6.
  • Truthful - "For my mouth will speak truth" - Proverbs 8:8.
  • Righteous - "All the words of my mouth are righteousness - Proverbs 8:8, 20. Wisdom also is the fear of God that "hates … the evil way" - Proverbs 8:13,20.
  • Not given to perversion - "… nothing crooked or perverse is in them" (the words of her mouth) - Proverbs 8:8, 13.
  • A clear communicator - Her words are "… plain to him who understands" - Proverbs 8:9.
  • Valuable - Wisdom's instruction is compared to silver, gold and rubies - Proverbs 8:10,11, 18, 19.
  • Knowledge - "Receive … knowledge" - Proverbs 8:10, 12.
  • Discretion - "I wisdom … find out … discretion" - Proverbs 8:12.
  • Humble - "Pride and arrogance … I hate" - Proverbs 8:13.
  • Good advice - "Counsel is mine" - Proverbs 8:14.
  • Necessary for rulers, nobles and judges - Proverbs 8:15,16.
  • A kindred spirit  - "I love those who love me" - Proverbs 8:17.
  • Discoverable - "… those who seek me diligently will find me" - Proverbs 8:17.
  • Just - "I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice" - Proverbs 8:20.
  • A means to achieve success - "That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth" - Proverbs 8:18,21.

 What stands out for me in this list is that Wisdom—this amazing quality of the companion of the Creator and fellow crafter of the Earth (Proverbs 8:30) is available to those who seek it/her. Bible characters that were gifted with wisdom, like Samuel and Solomon, come to mind. But this gift of wisdom is also available to us moderns.

In reading Ravi Zacharias's memoir, Walking from East to West, I was shocked to discover that  all through elementary and high school Dr. Zacharias (known worldwide for his ability to understand philosophy and defend the Bible) was a miserable failure as a student. His despair at his inability to perform and his fear that he would be a failure in life and a great disappointment to his father were responsible for him attempting suicide as a teen.

But all that changed when he accepted Christ.  In his own words: "During those intense months (following his conversion), as I gobbled up every morsel of learning I could, something changed in my life, causing an about-face I never would have expected: I became a voracious reader" - Ravi Zacharias, Walking From East to West, p. 110.

I would submit that when Jesus entered Ravi Zacharias's life, one of the things he brought was wisdom.

I want to be wise—don't you? Let's take the words of Proverbs 8 and James 1:5-8 to heart and ask God for it.

PRAYER: Dear God, may I be a lover of true wisdom—one who lives wisely in thought, word, and action. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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