“Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: ‘To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man.” (Proverbs 8:1-4)
Proverbs gives us a picture of godly wisdom in anthropomorphic language. Wisdom raises her voice, takes her stand at crossroads, cries aloud to men, speaking noble things—only what is right (1:20; 8:2, 3, 6). She proclaims truth and righteousness (8:7). She offers instruction better than silver, knowledge better than gold, and wisdom that is better than jewels (8:7, 20; 3:14). She was possessed by God in the beginning of his work, at the beginning of the earth, in the deep, before creation, and was beside God, his delight daily, always rejoicing, rejoicing in men.” (8:22-24)
In Proverbs 8 “Wisdom is personified as a great lady, which helps illustrate the central message of Proverbs: the origin, existence, and purpose of true wisdom are properly framed in relationship with the covenant Lord, who is also the Maker of heaven and earth. As a result, the realm of wisdom encompasses every aspect of life in every corner of creation.” 1 We are not to take this personification of wisdom as a picture of God, since God always describes Himself with male terminology. In addition, wisdom is described as being “beside him, like a master workman…daily his delight” (8:30). Wisdom was possessed by God, being the first work of God (8:22). “She” was brought forth before there were springs or mountains, or fields (8:22-26). Proverbs 8 continues,
“When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man” (8:27-31).
This characterization of wisdom reminds us that Jesus, the Word made flesh, “was in the beginning with God.” Do you seek Jesus, the giver of wisdom, the “who” of wisdom, or only what he can do for you to make your life easier? Do you seek help only to make your life more effective? Or are you seeking the deep truths of God in the Bible, to transform your heart, and your life?
- ESV Study Bible, Introduction to Proverbs, The ESV Study Bible, 2008, Crossway Bibles