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Prov 8, Job 28 Where can Wisdom be found

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Proverbs 8

Wisdom's Call

 1 Does not wisdom call out?
       Does not understanding raise her voice?

 2 On the heights along the way,
       where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

 3 beside the gates leading into the city,
       at the entrances, she cries aloud:

 4 "To you, O men, I call out;
       I raise my voice to all mankind.

 5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
       you who are foolish, gain understanding.

 6 Listen, for I have worthy things to say;
       I open my lips to speak what is right.

 7 My mouth speaks what is true,
       for my lips detest wickedness.

 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.

 17 I love those who love me,
       and those who seek me find me.

 22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
       before his deeds of old;

 23 I was appointed from eternity,
       from the beginning, before the world began.

 24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
       when there were no springs abounding with water;

 25 before the mountains were settled in place,
       before the hills, I was given birth,

 26 before he made the earth or its fields
       or any of the dust of the world.

 27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
       when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

 28 when he established the clouds above
       and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

 29 when he gave the sea its boundary
       so the waters would not overstep his command,
       and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

 30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.
       I was filled with delight day after day,
       rejoicing always in his presence,

 31 rejoicing in his whole world
       and delighting in mankind.

 32 "Now then, my sons, listen to me;
 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
 35 For whoever finds me finds life
       and receives favor from the LORD.

Where can Wisdom be found?

Proverbs 8:1-31; Job 28

I love proverbs!

All kinds of proverbs…

Chinese proverbs…

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

“In a broken nest there are few whole eggs.”

Arab proverbs…

“Sunshine all the time makes a desert.”

“The whisper of a pretty girl can be heard further

than the roar of a lion.’

African proverbs…

“Ashes fly back into the face of him who throws them.”

“Before shooting, one must aim.”

“Confiding a secret to an unworthy person

is like carrying grain in a bag with a hole.”

“If you refuse to be made straight when you are green,

you will not be made straight when you are dry.”

“If your mouth turns into a knife,

it will cut off your lips.”

“When elephants fight the grass get hurt.”

Spanish proverbs…

“Tomorrow is the busiest day of the year.”

“Where God has his church

the Devil will have his chapel.”

Hebrew proverbs…

“Who seeks more than he needs

hinders himself from enjoying what he has.”

Mennonite proverbs…

“The man who claims to be the boss in his own home

will lie about other things as well.”

"I will charge you nothing

but the promise that you will help

the next man you find in trouble."

One proverb of Amish/Mennonite origen

carries a message that is particularly strong

in German tradition,

namely that it is sinful to waste food even if it is in abundance. “Take all you want, eat all you take.”

There are so many good proverbs that we use on a daily basis.

These are little gems of wisdom

       based on common sense and the life experiences of people.


When I was a young man

       and I was trying to figure out what to do with my life

I often prayed for wisdom.

I read the book of Proverbs

more than any other book.

Maybe it was because the poetic language of the Proverbs

       that appealed to me as a teenager,

       or just because I had no idea what to do with my life,

       and I needed someone to give me some sound advice.

In Proverbs Wisdom is presented to us

       as a lovely friend

       who seeks to save the young man

       from an unexamined and wasted life.

Wisdom is played off against foolishness,

       and both are presented as young women

       who use their charm to seduce the young

and inexperience man.

At first sight we discover that there is a competition going on here

       that battles for the moral development of a young person.

Surely the writer has in mind the critical formative teenage years,

       where the young person has to make many choices,

       where the conscience of a person is formed,

       and where decision are made

that will set the direction of a person’s life.

Wisdom is portrayed in the scriptures

       as God’s supreme favorite

       from the beginning of Creation.

She was present when God stood at the edge of nothing

and spoke the world into being.

She was God’s helper when the foundations of the earth were laid.

And yet, wisdom is a very illusive character.

She will not be dominated and owned by anyone

       through force or coersion.

Wisdom cannot be controlled.

Wisdom has to be loved and cherished,

       so that she will return her love to her lover.

We live in a world that leaves very few stones unturned.

With the advances in technology and science

       there is very little that we have not figured out yet.

We can send people to the moon…

       and I read recently that scientists are on target

       to send the first humans to the red planet Mars by 2023 AD.

Scientist explore the deepest seas and the highest mountains.

They manipulate the fundamental elements of the genetic code

       to produce a new species of tomatoes or potatoes

       that is more resistant to deseases.

That’s mind boggling!

As we look at all that,

       we have to admit that there are branches of science

       that literally flirt with foolishness.      

In all this, Wisdom is calling to us,

       to warn us from the deception

of the adulteress called foolishness.

She invites us ever so gently

       to discover the footprints of wisdom

       and to seek her with all our heart

       in the fear of the Lord.

“The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom.”

The Proverbs of King Salomo are wise sayings,

       that invite us to embrace what is good and novel

       and to avoid what is stupid and what leads to a dead end.

The writer, who is portrayed as a wise and caring father,

       gives wise instruction to his son

       that he can use to have a successful and a blessed life.   

The ultimate goal of the Proverbs is to give wisdom

       to the one who will consider her benefits.

The wise person will think through

       her human condition and predicament

       and choose with wise discernment

between the countless choises

       which are offered in her daily life.

Wisdom makes the conscience of a person sharp,

       so that he will consider the consequences

       of his actions for his own life and society.

But, who is this misterious lady called wisdom,

       that entices the young man

       to fall in love with her?

The Bible tells us that Wisdom was God’s supreme favorite

       from the moment of Creation.

And she had her pleasure with mankind from the beginning.

Her goal has always been to give Wisdom and Understanding

       to God-fearing men and women,

       so that they could live in joy and peace and justice

       with each other.

Wisdom is like a road-sign

       that helps to stay on the right course

the one who trusts her advise.

Proverbs emphasises that the person who has seen and experienced

       the benefits of wisdom

       will always stay close to her

       and walk in the ways of wisdom.

“Train up a child in the way he should go,

       and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Having recognized the ways of God

       in the actions of wisdom

       the lover of wisdom

       will always find practical ways to apply it.

The Hebrew understanding of wisdom

speaks of a profoundly spiritual discovery of God’s character

       that leads to self-control and self-mastery.

In that sense wisdom serves a very practical purpose

       in daily life.

When the greeks  talked about wisdom,

       they were thinking about all kinds of

       philosophical speculations and ideas.

But for the Hebrews in the Old Testament

       Wisdom had to do with the recognition and understanding

       of moral and spiritual truth

       that led to good deeds.

In the Hebrew scriptures Wisdom is portrayed as a person.  

The Hebrews liked to see movement,

       even with inanimate objects like rocks and trees.

Take for instance Isaiah 55:12,

       “You will go out with joy

       and be led forth with in peace;

the mountains and the hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Mountains and hills, trees and fields,

       and yes also wisdom,

       are clothed with human characteristics.

They go out with joy,

       they are led forth in peace,

       they burst into song,

they clapp their hands,

and she (wisdom) invites you to fall in love with her.

The Hebrews took ideas and principles that are hard to describe

       and they made them tangible and understandable.

Wisdom, this all-encompassing life-principle

       that has its origin in God,

       and is God’s own favorite companion and best friend

       is accessible to anyone as a free gift.

All we have to do is just to follow her to her favorite place…

       to trust her and fall in love with her,

to become intimate with her

and to stay with her

forsaking all other “would be lovers”

that seek to draw us away from her

and instead lead to foolishness and stupidity.

But where does Wisdom come from?

Where can Wisdom be found?

In Job chapter 28, the man of God in the Old Testament

       tried to figure it out…

1 "There is a mine for silver
       and a place where gold is refined.

 2 Iron is taken from the earth,
       and copper is smelted from ore.

 3 Man puts an end to the darkness;
       he searches the farthest recesses
       for ore in the blackest darkness.

We are back where we started…

       Job looked at the technological advances of his time,

       and he realized that this is

where the people were looking for happiness.

He says further,

 9 Man's hand assaults the flinty rock
       and lays bare the roots of the mountains.

 10 He tunnels through the rock;
       his eyes see all its treasures.

 11 He searches the sources of the rivers
       and brings hidden things to light.


       These must have been some pretty big achievements

       at that time.

And then he drops the bombshell:

       Yea, all this stuff is good…

 12 "But where can wisdom be found?
       Where does understanding dwell?

 13 Man does not comprehend its worth;
 15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
       nor can its price be weighed in silver.

 16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
       with precious onyx or sapphires.

 17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
       nor can it be had for jewels of gold.

 18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
       the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.

 19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
       it cannot be bought with pure gold.

 20 "Where then does wisdom come from?
       Where does understanding dwell?

 21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
       concealed even from the birds of the air.

 23 God understands the way to it
       and he alone knows where it dwells,

 24 for he views the ends of the earth
       and sees everything under the heavens.

 25 When he established the force of the wind
       and measured out the waters,

 26 when he made a decree for the rain
       and a path for the thunderstorm,

 27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
       he confirmed it and tested it.

 28 And he said to man,
       'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
       and to shun evil is understanding.' "


 23 God understands the way to it
       and he alone knows where it dwells,

It is through God, who has created us in His image,

       that we find satisfaction and fulfillment for our lives.

God’s supreme favorite is calling to us.

She speaks to us in a soft voice:

       'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
       and to shun evil is understanding.' "

Wisdom invites us into an intimate relationship

       with the one has had her by His side

       from the moment of Creation on.

My friends,

my brothers and sisters,

my sons and daughters,

If you are confused about events in your life,

       or decisions that lie before you,

       and if you don’t know what to do,


Listen to the invitation of the Proverbs,

       and make wisdom your best friend.

Just like the young and inexperienced man

in the book of Proverbs

       we are often tempted by the magical charm

       of the seducer…

We often look for happiness and success

       in places that are not fit for God’s people.

We are human…

       and we are stupid…

       so easily led astray by foolishness…

The invitation before us today is

       and to seek Wisdom with all our heart

to get to know her like no other

to embrace her

       to fall in love with her

       and to follow where she will lead us.

That is the way to God… the way to Life

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