Friday, November 11, 2011

Proverbs 3 - The Blessings of Wisdom

LINK: Proverbs 3

BACKGROUND

The Hebrew word for wisdom is ḥokmâ. This word and it derivatives are used 312 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, and three-fifths of those times are found in Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. 

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states that wisdom: 
Represents a manner of thinking and attitude concerning life’s experiences; including matters of general interest and basic morality. These concerns relate to prudence in secular affairs, skills in the arts, moral sensitivity, and experience in the ways of the Lord. 
Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (282). Chicago: Moody Press.
This chapter follows a pattern of stating a command followed by a blessing. The father-teacher instructs the son-student to trust (3:5-6), fear (3:7-8), honor/give to (3:9-10), and appreciate (3:11-12) God.  If we do these things we will live long, prosper, find favor with God and people, have fewer problems, enjoy health, and be aware of God's love. 

Wisdom is to be sought above all other earthly wealth. God is all-wise. 

The chapter concludes with five "do not" commands and all pertain to human relationships. 

REFLECTION


Proverbs is always so challenging and convicting for me. I want to pursue Him with all my heart letting Him flow into me. Hopefully, wisdom will be the overflow. It is always three steps forward and two steps back though. 

All this talk about wisdom made me think of this passage in James:
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18) 
The fruit of wisdom will be deeds of gentleness, purity, peace, mercy. I love that.  

Last week, I was with eighteen other women (and five surf instructors) surfing in Mexico (or trying to surf). There was one woman who was intimidating for some people. One day I sat with her on the beach and learned her story because I strongly believe that you cannot judge a person until you have walked a mile in her shoes. There are always deep internal reasons for people's outward manifestations. I always want to know what those are.  This woman's "mile" gave me an indication as to why she might project the "toughness" that intimidated some. 

Later that night, she irritated more and more people. Some would say she got a little out of control, but I could only feel compassion. In the midst of all of this, she came over to me and whispered, "You are the gentlest person I have ever met." 

Yesterday, while telling stories about my trip to my friend Michelle, I mentioned this, and Michelle said, "Carol, Jesus was shining through you!"

I had not thought of it that way; but as I meditated on this chapter and James today, I thought that maybe I am starting to overflow with the gentleness of wisdom without necessarily trying! I definitely have not arrived, but I am making baby steps. 


APPLICATION and PRAYER

Lord, we do not want to have the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom from above. We pray that You would guide and direct us down that path. Flow into our hearts so we might overflow your wisdom onto others. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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