Imago Scriptura 97 – Proverbs 1 & 2 – Wisdom in the Square

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Imago Scriptura, Proverbs, Wisdom

I think the Lord is trying to tell me something about Wisdom.  I seem to be hearing about it from several different corners.  My favorite podcast, The Robcast, has Rob Bell starting a lengthy series going through the Wisdom Tradition in Scripture (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes especially) and then today I begin reading Proverbs (chapters 1 and 2).  I was especially struck by verses 20-21 of chapter 1…

Out in the open, wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:

The speech that follows is a rather stinging rebuke of some of our actions as human beings.  The things that she shares (and yes Wisdom is seen to be a female in the Wisdom tradition in Scripture) are words that could be spoken today and be just as relevant as when they were first written.  After the words of rebuke (which sometimes Wisdom needs to speak), we have a word of promise in verse 33 – “…whoever listens to me (Wisdom) will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

There feels like a lack of wisdom in our lives today.  Wisdom is different from knowledge – there’s plenty of things we can fill our brains with, but finding wisdom is harder to do.  Wisdom isn’t necessarily gained from a classroom or reading a book (although both can impart some wisdom).  But I have found that wisdom is gleaned through a relationship with God where we are desiring to grow and change and be made new.  Wisdom is gleaned through relationships with others who have walked the path before us (or who are walking along side).  Wisdom is gleaned through experiences of life where we are open to the movements of the Spirit.

And Wisdom, like the passage says, is so wonderful, so powerful, so necessary that it shouts from among us.  But we can drown her out.  We can drown her out by the many other voices that are easier and more comforting to hear.  We can drown her out by plugging our ears and hardening our hearts from the possibilities of what can be.  Yet Wisdom keeps speaking, shouting, maybe even singing…

There’s a wonderful quote attributed to Confucius which says, “By three methods we may learn wisdom:  First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Much of chapter 2 of Proverbs has a similar sense – nothing the things from which Wisdom will save us and the beauty of the path that Wisdom leads us upon – “Thus we will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.”  (2:20)

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