Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Proverbs 8: 12-21

"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And I find knowledge and discretion.
"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.
"Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power is mine.
"By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
"By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.
"I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.
"Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.
"My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver.
"I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

Today's Thought Question
  1. Wisdom is speaking to us in today's passages. What understanding do you receive from what she says?
Wisdom dwells with prudence. (vs 12) This brings a new dimension to Wisdom's character, but what is prudence? The dictionary offers up caution, provision and carefulness, and this fits with the rest of verse 12 that says wisdom "finds knowledge and discretion." Again, not just knowledge for the sake of acquiring facts, but knowledge to be used with discretion in how we live.

Originally, prudence stems from a root word meaning foresight (seeing what comes before). We sometimes joke (sometimes not!) that
hindsight is 20/20. We have learned from what we have experienced. But, if we had wisdom going into whatever we're doing, we might not need the "benefits" of hindsight!

Here's another neat tidbit. When looking at background on the Hebrew word for prudence, I read this: "In its etymological sense of seeing beforehand (contraction of "providence"), "prudence" does not occur in the NT. [
Strong's] Hadn't thought about providence being linked to prudence, but isn't that just what it means?! When we say, "God in His providence..." we're talking about God's foresight in His unveiling, revealing, unfolding of events. Wisdom dwells with prudence!

Wisdom is not just sound thoughts and understanding, but counsel and power. (vs 14) When we seek counsel, we seek advice. We are looking to engage with someone who can guide us in what we are doing. Wisdom is counsel. No surprise that one of the other names for the Holy Spirit is "counselor." (John 14: 16) And Who is our "Wonderful Counselor" in Isaiah 9 :6? Wisdom is also power, and though power can mean force, by implication, it also means valor or victory [Strong's].

Verse 13 brings back chapter 1. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." So if the fear of the Lord is
"a state of mind in which one's own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds and goals are exchanged for God's," then we are to have a state of mind in which we hate evil with everything. 'Hate' carries with it a range of actions and emotions--to trouble or anger; causing grief, sorrow or pain. In the Hebrew, the definition means enemy or foe. [Strong's]

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." (Proverbs 1:7) So to further refine where we began with chapter 1, the beginning of knowledge is learning to hate evil, and thus revere the Lord and His ways.

Verse 17: "I love those who love me." So simple! Wisdom will love those who love her. If we do not love Wisdom, if we are not interested in diligently seeking her, how can we hope to gain any benefits from a relationship with her? (Gosh, it gets easier to write about this personified Wisdom every time we talk about her.)

One of those benefits? "To endow those who love me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries."
(vs 21) Wisdom is not talking about making us rich through endowments, not in a monetary sense, anyway. (Although, I'm sure there are some who will benefit from wise financial decision-making. But to what will they apply their wealth?) Our treasuries (or stores, storehouses) will be filled with substance (KJV)--the substance for which we keep a love relationship with Wisdom. That variable will be something different for each of us, but it will be extreme value ("better than gold, even pure gold...choicest silver")

A king like Solomon recognized the value of wisdom before he had it. Those who "
reign...decree justice...judge rightly" are those with whom Wisdom abides. Fair to say that when Wisdom leaves, justice and righteousness leave, too--which was surely also the case in Solomon's reign. If we are wondering about those in earthly rule and whether Wisdom is with them, consider the "fear of the Lord."

The Bible says we need to submit "...to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." (Romans 13: 1&2) But, without Wisdom, we would be wise to pray that they seek her for their sake.

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
--I Timothy 2: 1-4

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 8: 22-36
  1. When was wisdom created? Why do you think this is significant?
  2. Reread verses 35-36. Can you be a Christian and not possess wisdom?

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).

1 comment:

The Patterson 5 said...

Good judgement,knowledge and discernment are only available to those who have wisdom. Those who choose wisdom, choose to fear the Lord will refrain from speaking untruths or in ways that hurt others.