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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Who's Calling? (Proverbs 8:1)

 "Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?"

That Solomon chooses to personify wisdom as a woman is amazing. Especially since he spent much of the first chapters of Proverbs describing the seductress/adulteress and warning men of her snares. He has also spent most of his life collecting women (700 wives and 300 concubines). Yet in chapter eight he personifies wisdom as the virtuous woman.

In the same way that the seductress calls out, "The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house . . . calling out to those who pass by" (9:13-18), so wisdom calls out to be heard as well. She "calls out", "raises her voice", cries aloud" (8:1, 3-4). Both the virtuous woman (wisdom) and the seductress "call out" and offer their services to those who travel by--both the simple and the foolish. The simple are drawn to wisdom while the foolish to the seductress. While both desperately need wisdom only one turns aside to hear what wisdom has to say.

That wisdom speaks is apparent in Proverbs eight.
  • "I have worthy things to say" (verse 6)
  • "I open my lips to speak what is right" (verse 6)
  • "My mouth speaks what is true" (verse 7)
  • "All the words of my mouth are just: none of them are crooked or perverse" (verse 8)
Man has a choice in whether he will listen to wisdom or the seductress. Lest we think that only women are seductresses Solomon immediately mentions the lure of wealth. Power and wealth seduce many into finding meaning in temporal prestige and possessions whereas wisdom seduces the simple to find meaning in knowing and walking with God.

The book of Proverbs is not gender, culturally, or generationally bound. It still speaks today to those who listen. It offers a blessing to those who hear and heed wisdom's voice, "Blessed is the man who listens to me . . . whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord (8:34-35). Seductive voices speak as well and they only bring harm, "Whoever fails to find me [wisdom] harms himself; all who hate me [wisdom] love death. Whose voice will you listen to?

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Proverbs 8:1-10:32
  • Why is obtaining wisdom incomparable to obtaining wealth?
  • How does chapter eight define wisdom's role in this world?
  • What does a person's response to correction reveal about that person?
  • Can those who don't fear or know God have real wisdom? Why or why not?
  • As you read ask the Holy Spirit to highlight a verse that relates to your life today. Write that verse on a note card and read it throughout the day until you've memorized it.
  • Make a list of the subjects Solomon mentions in chapter ten.
Turning truth into prayer:
Thank the Lord that Jesus Christ is the personification of wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30). Confess your 'simple' state and your need for His wisdom on your life.