Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foundations of Wisdom

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We are all familiar with the first verse of the Bible which states "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Over a six day span of time, God spoke light into existence followed by sky, land, vegetation, seasons, creatures both in water and on land and then we know he created us, man. Where did the intangible concept of wisdom come from? Do you think it was created on the first day with light? What about with the creatures of the sea? I was reading in Proverbs this morning and discovered that it's foundations of wisdom were before God spoke light into existence!

"22(AH) "The LORD(AI) possessed[b] me at the beginning of his work,[c]
the first of his acts(AJ) of old.
23Ages ago I was(AK) set up,
at the first,(AL) before the beginning of the earth.
24When there were no(AM) depths I was(AN) brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25Before the mountains(AO) had been shaped,
(AP) before the hills, I was brought forth,
26before he had made the earth with its fields,
or the first of the dust of the world.
27When he(AQ) established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew(AR) a circle on the face of the deep,
28when he(AS) made firm the skies above,
when he established[d] the fountains of the deep,
29when he(AT) assigned to the sea its(AU) limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out(AV) the foundations of the earth,
30then(AW) I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his[e](AX) delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31(AY) rejoicing in his(AZ) inhabited world
and delighting in the children of man."


I love how the author of this passage personifies wisdom in verse 30 saying " I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man." This passage emphasizes the importance and significance of wisdom does it not? Wisdom is an attribute that God delighted in before man was in even in existence to delight in! The passage goes on to describe what we are to do with wisdom:

"32"And now,(BA) O sons, listen to me:
(BB) blessed are those who keep my ways.
33(BC) Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
34(BD) Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
35For(BE) whoever finds me(BF) finds life
and(BG) obtains favor from the LORD,
36but he who fails to find me(BH) injures himself;
all who(BI) hate me(BJ) love death."


"For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD..." Whoever finds wisdom finds life and favor from the Lord. That's huge! Chapter 9 goes on to describe the way of wisdom and contrasts wisdom with simplicity. Interesting. The way of the world screams simplicity in everything: delight yourself in simple ways. Simple in this context is implied foolishness, the act of believing in everything and acting in folly (Proverbs 8:5;14:15,18). These cross reference verses contrast simple with the word prudent. This word is used frequently throughout all of Proverbs--it is tied with knowledge and disciplined in many of the verses. So how does one even become wise or prudent? If it gives life and if it was so significant that it existed before the world's foundations---how does one obtain it? Read on in chapter 9 and discover the catalyst for wisdom:

" 7Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8(R) Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
(S) reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9Give instruction[b] to a wise man, and he will be(T) still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will(U) increase in learning.
10(V) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and(W) the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11For by me(X) your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
12(Y) If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it."


The "fear of the LORD" is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the LORD doesn't mean that you're literally scared of Him--it means that you recognize your place: under his authority. Other Proverbs regarding the fear of the Lord state that "The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor." (15:33). Job 28:28 states that fear of the Lord and wisdom are the same thing and "to turn away from evil is understanding." So not only to recognize his authority in humility but to turn from evil are intertwined in wisdom. Seek the Lord for wisdom and prudence: make wisdom your companion like it was God's before the foundations of the world!

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