26 October 2013

Proverbs 8:1-21

“All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to one who understands and right to those who find knowledge”. (vv. 8-9)


In the same imagery that we met on Monday in chapter one, chapter eight opens with Wisdom again proclaiming on the streets, calling out, raising her voice and offering her goods at the crossroads. Here the ubiquitous nature of wisdom is stressed; she is to be found on the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads, beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals (verses 2-3). Wisdom is available to all and all should acquire her. This is echoed in the epistle of James: "If any of you is lacking wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you" (James 1:5). The value of Wisdom far exceeds gold, silver and precious stones (verses 10-11), but no money is needed to acquire Wisdom, which is the gift of God, offered "to all that live" (v. 4).

Verses 8-9 suggest the image of a straight ruler, a spirit level or a plumb line, a measuring rod which cannot be twisted or false. In the wisdom which comes from God there is no self interest, no hidden agenda, no emotional blackmail, no 'one-up-personship' ... it is a gold standard which is true and incorruptible. No wonder wisdom is beyond price - in a world of compromise, political trade-offs, behind-the-scenes deals and spin, Wisdom shines out brightly. So those who rule or reign by Wisdom (verses 14-16) will have a strength which has nothing to do with military force or pompous display.

Perhaps there is only one virtue Wisdom appears to lack - modesty! The claims made in these verses are fulsome and opulent. Wisdom is not ashamed to flaunt her assets, for they are the noble, good, righteous characteristics which lead to justice. Wisdom, often regarded as prefiguring Christ in the Old Testament, invites everyone to explore and accept her charms, offering a love relationship to everyone who diligently seeks her (verse 17).

To Ponder

  • Have you ever asked God for wisdom? How do you think such a prayer has been answered in your life?
  • In a world of compromise, how realistic is it to aim to display a Wisdom in which there is "nothing twisted or crooked?"
  • As a result of this week's passages, how are you going to seek Wisdom diligently?

Bible notes author

Jill Baker

Jill Baker lives in Glasgow and is glad to be part of the small but distinctive Methodist Church in Scotland. She is a local preacher and local preachers' tutor in the Strathclyde Circuit, where Andrew is superintendent minister.