Proverbs 8: Blessed Are Those Who Listen to Me
August 8, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Occasionally, people give the impression that wisdom is something only attainable to a select few. It is hidden. You cannot see it. You cannot find it. Wisdom can be said to be something esoteric, or belonging only to the clever, or the highly privileged.
But according to this passage of the Bible, verses 1-11, wisdom “calls out,” wisdom “raises her voice” (8:1). Wisdom is personified as crying out in the most visible and commonly trafficked places of the city: at the highest point along the way, where the paths meet (the crossroads), beside the city gate. The same is still true today. If you want to learn about God and his wisdom, then in many countries in the Western world, all you have to do is go and find a Bible teaching church. You may have to drive. But you can find one. And the same is true for all places today that have access to the Internet: you can search for good Bible teaching and wise instruction from almost anywhere on the planet. There are no excuses not to grow in our biblical understanding and our spiritual and personal wisdom! In other words, wisdom is not hiding but is eminently visible and accessible—to those who really want to be wise.
But because we must therefore desire wisdom, this passage goes on to encourage us to “listen” (8:6), and “choose” (8:10) instruction rather than gold or silver. Would you make a conscious choice today to choose to grow in wisdom? To grow in your understanding of the Bible? To grow in your insight into the things of God? To see the world around you from a truly wise perspective, that is from God’s perspective?
Verses 12-21 then extol the virtues of wisdom in order to motivate us to want to be wise. “I have insight, I have power” (8:14). “By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just” (8:15). Again, we are urged to seek wisdom: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (8:17). What good fruit comes to those who are wise! “Riches and honor,” but not the kind of materialistic riches that we tend to think of, for “my fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.” The sort of wealth that comes with wisdom is the wisdom to be generous. To give—or, as Jesus taught, it is more blessed to give than receive.
Verses 22-31 then go up a level and extol wisdom not based upon its functional value but on its eternal value. These verses are profound and have caused much discussion down through the years. Who was “at the very beginning” (8:23)? Who was “constantly at his side” (8:30)? From one point of view, these verses tell us that the reason why wisdom is so valuable in the world is because wisdom is how the world was made! When you use wisdom, you use the very stuff that caused the universe to exist, and to exist with joy (“rejoicing always in his presence,” verse 30). But from a New Testament point of view, these words seem to speak not just of wisdom, but of Wisdom; not just of the word, but of The Word, the Logos.
Verses 32-36 give a final call to listen to wisdom, “Blessed are those who listen to me” (8:34)!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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