Wisdom Says: Wisdom Doesn’t Hide

“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud: ‘To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.’ ” (Proverbs 8:1-4)

For the next week, we’re going to listen to Wisdom. Yes, I capitalized that “W” on purpose. That’s because Proverbs 8 quotes Wisdom herself, calling out to us. Yes, I wrote “us,” even though Proverbs 8 was written thousands of years ago. Wisdom wants to talk to you this week.

hurting_350Notice this first: Wisdom is not hiding. She’s not a secret available only to those of us rich enough or smart enough or spiritual enough to find her. She’s not a prize awarded to the most popular or most attractive or most polite. She wants to be found. She wants you to find her.

That’s why she’s standing there at the top of the hill, at the gate to the city, at the one spot that everyone must pass by sooner or later. And she’s not whispering. She’s yelling, calling out, looking you in the eye. She wants to be heard. She wants you to pay attention.

Think: Do you ever think of wisdom as being secretive and mysterious instead of obvious and available to all? Why or why not?

Pray: Ask God for the boldness and courage to listen to Wisdom this next week. Ask Him to help you slow down long enough not to miss what she wants to tell you.

Do: Read Proverbs 1.

Wisdom Says: Trust Her

“You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.” (Proverbs 8:5-8)

We’re walking through Proverbs 8 together this week, and Wisdom has been standing at a high-traffic spot in town calling out to get our attention as we rush through our busy lives. She seems convinced she has something we need, if we’ll just slow down and listen for a minute.

hurting_350Her message, she says, can change our lives forever. If we’ll pay attention, she can help simple, foolish people like us who normally get used by the world to become prudent. She can help us understand all the most important things.

She knows. She knows. We’ve heard these pitches before. We’ve seen all the infomercials for diets and face creams and exercise machines and get-rich schemes. That’s not her bag. She insists: “What I’m going to tell you is worth your time. It’s right. I don’t lie; I hate lies. I don’t want to cheat anyone. I’m not asking for your money.”

Think: Do you ever pay less attention to wisdom because it seems like she promises too much? Are we too cynical these days to believe in anything that promises to “make us wise”?

Pray: Ask God to help you trust Him to give you real life-changing wisdom.

Do: Read Proverbs 2.

Wisdom Says: Dollars v. Value

“Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Proverbs 8:10-11)

Wisdom calls out to us to listen, to hear her, to slow down and grow wise. Yesterday, she said we could trust her; she knows what she’s talking about. In the next breath, she emphasizes that she’s not selling anything — and her goal isn’t to make us rich.

hurting_350Wisdom is not offering us the path to wealth. Instead, she says she can show us the way to a life of value that makes money look cheap. Money isn’t the point. All the stuff money can buy isn’t the point. You can own the world and still be a majorette in the parade of fools.

The longer we listen to wisdom, the more we’ll be convinced: Chasing dollars always leads to foolishness. It takes God’s wisdom to know how to live with money without living for money. It takes no money to become Wisdom’s student and invest in a valuable life.

Think: We all want money. Do you want wisdom more than money? Do you believe wisdom is more valuable than cash?

Pray: Ask God to help your desire for money and wisdom to be in proportion to the true value of each of those things.

Do: Read Proverbs 3.

Wisdom Says: Good Hate

” ‘I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.’ ” (Proverbs 8:12-13)

What do you hate? What do you truly loathe deep in your spirit? God wants us to get in touch with our dark sides. He wants us to learn how to hate deeply and honestly. He wants us to get to the point where our vision blurs a little and our stomach roils at the thought of “pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”

hurting_350In short, God wants us to hate sin. Most of us are lousy haters. We might talk casually about hating certain foods, music, TV shows, or even a teacher or a boss. But we don’t mean real hate; we mean those things annoy us or make us angry.

Wisdom’s message to us is this: If you really understood life from God’s perspective — if you caught a glimpse of the beauty and power of His holiness and love — the ugliness of sin (especially your own) would send your soul into a murderous rage. Your hate would make you want to kill your sin.

Think: Have you ever felt real hate toward your own sin? Would you want to?

Pray: Ask God to help you to fear Him enough to hate your own sin.

Do: Read Proverbs 4.

Wisdom Says: Decide

“Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth.” (Proverbs 8:14-16)

In her ongoing campaign to invite us to get to know her, Wisdom offers another benefit — making good decisions. She identifies one group constantly faced with the pressure of making tough choices: leaders. Specifically, national leaders must choose good laws, make difficult management decisions, and plan for and against war.

Another group comes to my mind: students. Maybe more than any other time of life, people in high school and college face big and little choices that carry giant, longlasting consequences. Will I go to college? If so, where? How will I pay for it? Should I get a job now? How many hours should I work? Do I have time to help out at church? Should I spend more or less time with my friends? Should I get involved in a serious dating relationship? Should I break up this relationship?

All those decisions can get overwhelming. Wisdom can help. She can give you the power of understanding and “sound judgement.” She can help you sort out all the options and zero in on the best ones. As the manager of your life, you need her in the same way kings and rulers do. Knowing her is often the difference between a great choice — and one you’ll regret.

Think: When faced with decisions, how do you look for wisdom? How has wisdom helped you? Where did you find it?

Pray: Ask God to help you look for — and find — wisdom for the next major decision you face.

Do: Read Proverbs 5.

Wisdom Says: Love Me, Find Me

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.” (Proverbs 8:17-21)

Wisdom isn’t looking for a fling. She’s not a get-rich-quick scheme or an easy way to pass that big test at school. She wants a real, lifelong relationship. She’s looking for people who are ready to be changed by her. In short, she wants to be loved.

hurting_350It’s a commitment, true, but loving Wisdom brings benefits. You might not make quick cash, but you’ll learn how to manage finances in a way that will keep more in your “treasuries” (or bank account). But, again, she doesn’t want you to love her as a means to make dough. It’s not about the money; wise living is about a life that matters.

Yes, being wise with money usually brings more money, but it’s about the places you’ll go with her: righteous paths, the way of justice — a life not wasted on worthlessness but well spent on all the most important things.

Think: Are you ready to love Wisdom and walk with her? Do you believe that wise living is worth more than dollars in the bank?

Pray: Ask God to help you love Wisdom and to never stop looking for her.

Do: Read Proverbs 6.

Wisdom Says: The Ancient Lady

“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth. . . . I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep.” (Proverbs 8:22-24,27)

Whoa. We’ve been listening for a while. Wisdom called out as we were rushing by, charging through our day. She has explained how she can show us the path to a life well lived. She just invited us to love her and be loved by her and to follow her to riches beyond riches. She has our attention.

hurting_350Now she drops the bomb. This lady, Wisdom, is ancient. She announces that God created, appointed, birthed her before anything we know existed. More than that, God used her to create and design . . . everything that is. She’s not just really smart; she’s the key, the blueprint to all that God has ever made.

To know her is to know the secrets and mysteries of all of creation. To love her is to love God’s mind and heart and creative spirit and craftsmanship. Why is she talking to us?

Think: Can you imagine what it would be like to know some of the same wisdom God used in the creation of the world? What would that be worth?

Pray: Ask God to help to gain all the wisdom you possibly can.

Do: Read Proverbs 7.