Proverbs 8:1-22

1 Does not wisdom call out?
   Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
   where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
   at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
   I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
   you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[a]
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
   I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
   for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
   none of them is crooked or perverse.
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
   they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
   knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
   and nothing you desire can compare with her.

 12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
   I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
   I hate pride and arrogance,
   evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
   I have insight, I have power.
15 By me kings reign
   and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
   and nobles—all who rule on earth.[b]
17 I love those who love me,
   and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
   enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
   what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
   along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
   and making their treasuries full.

 22 “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,[c][d]
   before his deeds of old;

Old Friend

My friend Richard has an old friend who went to Bible college with him.  I read a letter in which he accounts his slide away from the Christian faith.  He describes how he stopped going to church and noticed very little difference in his life.  He engaged in affairs.  He read Richard Dawkins and Hitchens and decided that rather than calling himself an agnostic he would own the term ‘atheist’.  As he embraced an increasingly self-serving and godless way of life his joy diminished, his health failed, and he lost anything of value he had.  The reality is that God has laid out a path.  If we seek him the essentials that make a meaningful, joyful life are added to us.  If we walk away from him, we are fools who think we are wise.  We have no reason for existence and we are meaningless:  we are all sound and fury signifying nothing.  Arguments against fairies, goblins, and spaghetti monsters miss the point.  The existence of such trivial myths explains nothing.  The explaining power of an eternal God is in a different league.  To reduce all things to science denies the reality of aspects of existence we intuitively know to be of value:  I mean things like poetry, literature, mathematics, mystery.  God best explains the multiple facets of reality.  However, the fool determinedly says, there is no god.  Wisdom cries out to them.

Questions

  1. Do you heed wisdom’s call?
  2. What does a life of wisdom bring?
  3. Why would people in ancient Israel be determined to follow folly?
  4. Does a corrupt lifestyle lead people to deny God, or does a lack of faith produce a corrupt lifestyle?
  5. Why would learned people who are atheists be considered fools by the Bible?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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