THE CRY OF WISDOM
As a parent, have you ever found yourself trying to get your children to listen to reason? You tell them look both ways before the cross the street and not to talk with strangers. Many times we tell them if they do not stop doing _______ then _______ will happen. Whatever we said would happen usually does. Solomon talks about wisdom in this same way.
Wisdom cries out (Proverbs 8:1-5)
Proverbs 8:1 Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet. 3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors: 4 "To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
In Chapter 7, the immoral woman was portrayed as a seductress who worked in the cover of darkness. However, in Chapter 8, lady wisdom is completely opposite of this because she is cries out for all to hear. She does not hide who or what she is as she proclaims her message before all at gates of the city. She never tries to manipulate anyone, and her desire is for people to listen to what she has to say, so they can benefit from the message she brings.
The excellence of wisdom (Proverbs 8:6-11)
Proverbs 8:6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things; 7 For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. 9 They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; 11 For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
When wisdom speaks, it never speaks of perverse things or of things that will destroy one’s life. Instead, it speaks of righteousness and all things that are pleasing to God. Wisdom cannot stand the pathway of wickedness and it will never allow itself to be associated with the wicked way. When wisdom speaks, we can know that it will only present the truth from God’s Word, which can set from our sins (Jn. 8:32).
John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Her message is clear and easy to understand for those who are willing to take the time to listen and contemplate it. With that in mind, we never have to worry about wisdom trying to deceive us with ambiguous sayings that no one can interpret with certainty.
Just like the parent desires their children to listen to their instruction, wisdom wants us to receive her instruction. She wants us to know that her instruction is far greater than any precious jewels that can be found on earth. Therefore, we should seek out the instructions of wisdom first because it is the greatest treasure we can find.
The power and reward of wisdom (Proverbs 8:12-16)
Proverbs 8:12 " I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth. 17 I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver. 20 I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.
Wisdom lives with prudence, which means that it skillful at finding out knowledge and discretion. This saying in verse 12 reminds me of what Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out a limited commission: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Mt. 10:16).
When we respect the way God, we are going to hate what God hates. So, we should hate evil and all sin. Paul implies that pride was the downfall of devil (1 Tim. 3:6), and we know he was full of arrogance to think he could actual stand against God and win. To speak with a perverse mouth includes much more than just speaking profanity or perverted things. It includes all speech that is contrary to God’s Word, which is another characteristic of the devil because he is the adversary of God and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).
We need to open our eyes to the truth that when we get involved in the way of evil or approve of those who practice it, we are aligning ourselves with the devil. Imagine him putting his arm you and saying, “Good job my friend.” Imagining that should make us shudder, but that is basically what is happening when we fail to fear the Lord and hat evil.
As verses 14-15 point out, wisdom provides strength and leadership. Whether it is a king, ruler, prince, noble, or a judge they can only be successful and make sound judgments by using wisdom. The most successful leaders will allow the wisdom of God to guide them. Also, every successful Christian and leader within the church will be successful if they allow wisdom of God to guide them as well. As wisdom says: “I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me” (17).
Some might read verses 18-21 and get the false idea that seeking out wisdom and obtaining it is a guarantee of material wealth, but that is not what our text is saying. It saying that having wisdom is the greatest treasure there is. However, it is general true that those who seek out wisdom first will not only be rich in knowledge and understand, they will be successful in life, which can equate to material blessings. Those who seek out wisdom first understand that material blessing are just byproduct. Even when they have material riches, they still understand that wisdom is the greatest treasure and they would never give it up for all the riches in the world.
As Christians, we must realize that our true treasure, which has been revealed by wisdom, is found in heaven (Mt. 6:19-21).
Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We do not want to be like the rich young ruler who loved God enough to follow His commands, but refused to put God before his material wealth (Mt. 19:16-22).
Wisdom is eternal (Proverbs 8:22-31)
Proverbs 8:22 " The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth; 26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primeval dust of the world. 27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, 29 When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men.
There is some controversy surrounding these verses because some teach this referring to Jesus. No doubt, we can see some similarities to Jesus in our text, but we have to keep things in context and realize this is personifying wisdom and not Jesus. It should not surprise us that there are many similarities between lady wisdom and Deity because we have already seen how wisdom encompasses everything that God stands for.
We can see the eternal qualities of wisdom because God possessed it from the beginning of His works before the earth and everything on it was created. Without wisdom there would be no understanding and God could not create wisdom or create the universe without having wisdom. Therefore, wisdom has been established from everlasting.
Wisdom is seen as being right there with God while everything was being created. She is called a “master craftsman,” which means a skilled worker or architect. By God’s wisdom, Jesus created the heavens and the earth (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17). With our current technology, we know just out precise and complex everything in our universe is. Those who honestly look at evidence cannot deny that our universe had a creator because there is not way it just came to be from an explosion billions of years ago. Verse 27 and Isaiah 40:22 points out that wisdom knew that the earth was round long before man was able to prove it.
Wisdom is also seen as being a delight to the Lord and rejoicing in what God has created. Also wisdom delights in us especial when we listen to what she has to say.
Proverbs 8:32 " Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD; 36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death."
While this is specifically talking about lady wisdom, we can also see Jesus saying these same words to all people today. Those who heed the words of wisdom from the Word of God will bless their soul and will find eternal life, but those who reject it by choosing the pathway of sin will face the worse kind of death, which is spiritual death.
In Proverbs Chapter 9, lady wisdom and lady foolish are compared.
The invitation of lady wisdom (Proverbs 9:1-6)
Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; 2 She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table. 3 She has sent out her maidens, She cries out from the highest places of the city, 4 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 5 "Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.
Lady wisdom is well established and is always prepared for her guest. She uses her maidens to continuously invite people to learn from her and she makes her instructions available for all. She never ceases proclaiming the truth where all can hear that will listen. Her invitation is for the wise and the foolish. While the wise can become wiser, the foolish have much more to gain because to turn from foolishness will cause them to live before God in the way righteousness. Much of what is said in these verses is similar to the invitation Jesus taught in the parable of Wedding Banquet (Mt. 22:1-14).
Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding." ' 5 "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 "So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
What Jesus said in verse 14 applies to the world in general, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Unfortunately, many will hear the call of wisdom and how to be saved, but only a few will listen and make eternal life heaven their destination.
The deaf ear of a scoffer (Proverbs 9:7-12)
Proverbs 9:7 " He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. 12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone."
Those who do not care about God or righteousness will not take heed to anything wisdom has to offer them. We would have better success at rebuking a brick wall. It is shame that some are so stubborn at listening to wisdom that will change their lives for the better, but there are many like this. Paul gives us similar instruction:
Titus 3:10Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
In contrast, the wise are willing to learn more because they understand that there is much to learn and that the more wisdom we have better off we will be. Again, the beginning point of fulfilling the purpose of Proverbs in stated in verse 10, which is the fear the Lord. As verse 12 point out, we all stand on our own merit. No one get us to heaven on their own merit or cause us to taste the flames of hell because their sinfulness. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for how we have lived our lives (2 Cor. 5:10).
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
The invitation of lady foolishness (Proverbs 9:13-18)
Proverbs 9:13 A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing. 14 For she sits at the door of her house, On a seat by the highest places of the city, 15 To call to those who pass by, Who go straight on their way: 16 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here"; And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 17 "Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant." 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.
Lady foolishness is pictured as being a loud boisterous woman who is cares nothing about wisdom. She also offers her invitation to all that will listen. She is on the devil’s side, and she wants to lead as many people as she can to him. She uses temptation and empty promises to lure the foolish to her. She tries to convince people that indulging in sin will bring you more pleasure and satisfaction. Like a mouse that goes for the cheese on mouse trap, the foolish will discover that they have been deceived and are now in the devil’s trap.
Obviously, we should clamor for the way of lady wisdom because she offers us truth, happiness, and home in heaven while lady wisdom offers us lies, temporary pleasures, and home in hell.
Lady wisdom cries out to us daily. She wants us hear the simply truth, and she will never deceive us. She is eternal and part of God, and He has shared her with us through the Bible. We must be willing to learn from her and to listen to what she has to say every day. Our priorities should include some time set aside for reading and reflecting on God’s Word. We must not be like Martha, who was so distracted by daily tasks that she missed out on the wisdom Jesus was teaching (Lk. 10:38-42).
We should make it our goal to put foolishness and childish things behind us (1 Cor. 13:11). We should approach each day as opportunity to gain more wisdom so we can learn how to avoid the snare of the devil. Let us keep our minds on the eternal rewards that we will enjoy from listening and understand the wisdom that God offers us in His Word.