Friday, October 8, 2010

Proverbs 8 – Wisdom’s Self-Portrait and Finding Life

“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.”

~Proverbs 8:22 (NRSV).

Proverbs chapter 8 is perhaps the jewel in the crown of Proverbs’ wisdom. We could possibly not get thirty-six better verses of Scripture in one delineated section that give us better insight regarding the character of Wisdom—recalling that Wisdom is personified as a woman.

Here Wisdom’s case is made all the more compelling due the place she holds with God. Not before God, but there from the beginning she has been.

In the Beginning

Without getting overly analytical about it, it’s safe to say that Wisdom was there right from the very beginning; before even that of creation. She was the first of the Lord’s works.

Verses 22-31 take us faithfully back to the creation accounts of Genesis 1 and 2 and suggest we had an eye witness to the splendour of that Divine set of feats.

Now that the credibility of Wisdom is ever yet firmly established—as she is related with God more intrinsically than anything else—we can safely go on and venture with her into the meaning of verses 32-36: the penultimate speech of Wisdom in Proverbs’ introductory section.

Finding Life

Blessed, Proverbs says, is the person finding Wisdom:

“For whoever finds me finds life

and obtains favor from the Lord...”

~Proverbs 8:35 (NRSV).

This verse above is remarkably similar to a later proverb (18:22), for finding Wisdom is like finding a good partner—for a man, a faithful wife, but no less the other way around.

Finding life is about establishing a life that works.

How can ‘finding life’ end up being a life that doesn’t work—that doesn’t truthfully serve us as much as we serve it? No, God has more in mind for us, and Wisdom is that way. As we wait daily at God’s gate, watching beside his door, we listen to the nuances of wisdom as they eek their way out. Wisdom is peace for us; every good way.

Wisdom and Truth

Wisdom is at last most abundantly about finding the truth. Indeed, wisdom and truth should not be seen as separates but as twin siblings, covering for each other in highly complementary ways.

Truth sets aside the right way in some real sense of decisiveness. Truth and wisdom, then, collude to fuel assertiveness via faith so the power of the Spirit is made known in us, and therefore through us by the manner of our acts and interactions.

This could otherwise be called a meld of competence and confidence: pure dynamism.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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