Solomon personifies God’s wisdom as the discerning (and fired-up) female voice of Wisdom. She’s expressing her righteous anger that “fools” haven’t been listening. At first glance, the text is full of energetic rebuke, and it seems as if calamity is inevitable. But what first appears as harsh judgment may actually have another layer to it. Elsewhere in Proverbs, Wisdom is speaking again and explains that “whoever finds me, finds life and obtains favor from the LORD” (Prov. 8:35). She isn’t just arbitrarily angry; she’s passionate. She knows that healthy, abundant life is not possible without wisdom. Driven by the love of a concerned parent, Wisdom knows that our unwise actions, words, and choices have painful consequences. Her anger has the ring of a lament—and one of the beautiful truths of lament is that often a declaration of hope is found at the end. This is no different: “But those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease without dread of disaster.” The passage lands softly, in an encouraging invitation.
Where we may have ignored the call for wise living, we are now once again being invited to take notice. Whether it be, for example, in a particular relationship, with our finances, how we treat our body, how we navigate our sexuality, or how we traverse anger—we are bidden to make wise choices that create safety (for us and those around us). And if we don’t quite know how to do that—wise people learn to ask for help. One of the most discerning things we can say is: “I don’t know how to do that.”
What area of your life isn’t healthy, marked by some unwise choices? Consider listening to what God desires for you in that arena, and find ways you can reach out for support if you need it.
Through the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God shows the paths of righteousness and warns against the ways of destruction. The writer of Proverbs describes this as the voice of Wisdom crying out, yet some refuse to listen—to their peril. The psalmist rejoices in the law of the Lord, for God’s decrees teach us how to live well. Living a godly life includes paying attention to our speech. How can we, James asks, praise God with our lips and then curse others with those same lips? Peter is tripped up by his words in Mark. He declares Jesus to be the Messiah, yet in the next scene he recklessly rebukes Jesus for speaking of his death. Our words matter, and God desires purity and consistency.
Read Proverbs 1:20-33. How clearly do you hear Wisdom’s call? What prevents you from answering that call?
Read Psalm 19. Where in creation do you hear God speaking to you?
Read James 3:1-12. How do you use your words in wise ways? When do you struggle with your words?
Read Mark 8:27-38. Who do you say that Jesus is?
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