The information God has given from the wisest man on the planet at that time, Solomon, is to pay attention, young men, because the world’s going to teach you crazy things, and you need to have the right guide, so you’re following God, not the culture in a broader lens.
Each author and commentator has come up with different titles for this chapter. Derrick Kinder called it Wisdom’s Apologia. That’s a word that means defense. David Atkinson called it the Full-Color Portrait. Derrick Kinder’s opening paragraph about Proverbs 8 reads, “A chapter which is to soar beyond space and time. It opens at the street level to make it clear first that the wisdom of God is as relevant to the shopping center as to heaven itself. Second, it is available to the veriest dunce. Third, it is active in seeking us so that our search, earnest as it has to be, is a response, not an uncertain quest.”
Wisdom is The Best Guide You Will Ever Follow (Proverbs 8:1-5)
If you were to go to ancient Israel, you would not see an active wall but a reconstruction based on how archaeologists believe the gate was built. We must understand in the ancient Near East and Israel in particular, these were gates, not doors. The gates were a left turn, a straight, a right turn, another left turn, and so forth. Why? If you’re asleep at night, the guards aren’t paying attention, and 10,000 troops come in; they can’t all get to the door simultaneously. So you have time to start attacking from above.
More importantly, in Boaz and Ruth’s illustrative time, it was the darkest chapter in Israel’s history because the judges were judging. Nevertheless, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. During this, we read about Ruth, a Moabite, and the kinsman redeemer, Boaz. When he exchanged the contract, he went to the city gate and sat with the elders because this was the place to conduct business in their day.
Wisdom is at the literal high point of the city, so everybody can hear and see her when they approach the gates. The gates were more than “locking up the city at night” but were where the elders conducted commerce and theological business. We see in this section that wisdom is clear and easily obtainable. As earnest as it may be, our search is a response, not an uncertain quest.
The Guide: Wisdom is Moral and Godly. (Proverbs 8:6-13)
Now, this guide, this wisdom is not merely right from wrong, but self-evident that it is godly. We have an extensive study if we consider noble things, right things, and truth. Noble things are what we call high matters, far above something obvious. Looking into what constitutes the ‘right things’ is a worthwhile word study that means upright. When we connect this to noble things, we have high matters that are straightforward. Finally, he rounds off the three points with the words utter truth. This is the Hebrew word, Emmett. It also has the sense of a firm standing, of having the truth.
Solomon builds on these expressions, explaining that they are all straightforward and right to those who find knowledge. He explains that this instruction is better than silver, and knowledge is better than gold. The two new imperatives are to take his instruction and knowledge. God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge aren’t up for debate. This isn’t a negotiation because wisdom is always right. Because what is true, right, straight, is better than silver, gold, jewels, and all that you might desire pales in comparison.
The Guide Rewards The Follower (Proverbs 8:14-21)
The emphasis on the pronouns reminds the reader there is no contest of who can become the wisest; instead, wisdom dominates the situation. It’s not that this person is smarter, better, and more accomplished than others; it’s that God grants the believer wisdom. If you’re a believer, He loves you. He loves you in your sin, in your apathy, in your discouragement, in your loss, and in your loneliness. Nothing you can ever do will make Him love you more or less.
A casual reading of these verses would suggest that the one who seeks wisdom gains riches, honor, wealth, and righteousness. This leads to a more extensive discussion of wealth, prosperity, and blessings in biblical terms. Prosperity theology falsely claims an if-then ideology that God will bless us based on what we do. We must acknowledge that He rewards some with wealth and honor, but that would be insignificant apart from the fact that His fruit and yield are better than gold or silver.
Rather than the way of righteousness, the way of justice is of far greater reward than material wealth. It is good to keep in mind God may well bless you. Your life of faithful obedience puts you in the posture for God to bless, but it is short-sighted and immature to think it will only be temporal wealth and honor. Wealth and honor may be good, but divine favor is better.
The Guide Shows Its Role in Creation (Proverbs 8:22-31)
The identity of wisdom is what’s important. This text is not telling us that Jesus is wisdom. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who lives forever in eternity, past, present, and future. German scholars Keil and Delitzsch conclude: “Wisdom is not God, but is God’s. She (wisdom) has personal existence in the logos of the New Testament, but is not herself the Logos.”
Wisdom literature is a different beast compared to the rest of your Bible. You have to think a little differently. In Colossians 1:15-17, we learn that firstborn does not mean the first one ever born. Firstborn means primacy. This passage is saying Jesus Christ was the one who formed the earth. The remarkable part of the story is that Jesus walked in the cool of the day as the pre-incarnate Christ.
He’s walking in the garden with Adam, where they had sweet fellowship. Then, once they sinned, He asked, “Where are you?” He’s not alluding to where they are standing in the garden but where they are now in relationship with Him because of the fall.
Lessons of The Text
- Wisdom is no secret. Wisdom has no secrets. It’s available to all. She shouts at the main gate. She can tell you the right path to follow.
- Wisdom is not free but available to all. It’s hard-won. It takes work, but it’s available to you. You have to learn wisdom, and you will make mistakes along the way. The best teacher on the planet is a mistake. That’s not a license to go sin; it’s the reality.
If your parents love Jesus Christ, they’re trying their best, and you need to take their instruction. If you don’t, you’re rebellious. It’s that simple. God puts authority in our life. We’re hardwired sinners. Christ has us here right now. It is wise to faithful in this crazy time. It is not our responsibility to worry if our faithfulness will chnge the outcome of our country. Wisdom’s available. It doesn’t cost anything, but it is hard won. You get to choose the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked.
Catch up on the rest of the Proverbs series here.
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