Listen to Eternal Wisdom – Proverbs 8:22-36

Proverbs 8:22-36

Point #1: Wisdom’s Prestige (v.22-31):

There are three aspects of Wisdom’s prestige that we need to explore, her:

  • A: Preexistence with YHWH
  • B: Eye-Witness account during Creation
  • C: Rejoicing

 

Pre-Existence with YHWH

Within the first aspect of Wisdom’s prestige notice all she proclaims from verses 23-26:

From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth,

She exists prior to creation; before water, prior to the earth, before depths and heights or matter itself there was Wisdom; established, rooted, and manifested fully. She is prior to:  all within our physical existence, all we can visualize, or even know of naturally; whether mountains, hills, plants, trees, dust, animals, or man trying to even conceive of wisdom! This Wisdom is prior to time and earth…do you run to this understanding when you think of Wisdom?

So is Wisdom just this nebulous thought cloud, ideas floating around prior to creation? Where did she start? What was she doing before creation? Verse 22; “YHWH (the LORD), the covenant keeping God of Israel possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old”. We know this is Wisdom speaking because it’s part of a continued discourse from verse 12. English Standard Version may read created instead of possessed, but the original Hebrew is best translated as possessed because it refers to someone or something already existing that is obtained. So this is not just a thought floating in space, but Wisdom is bound under possession by YHWH; it is His Wisdom, with Him prior to time and creation and has continued on since. There was never a day or time in which YHWH existed and Wisdom didn’t, and there was never a day in which Wisdom existed outside of YHWH’s possession. Wisdom is wholly dependent upon YHWH, and yet He elevates her to an esteemed and privileged position.

 

Eye-Witness Account

The second aspect was her eye-witness account and participation of creation. Proverbs 3:19 speaks to how YHWH founded the earth by His Wisdom. Wisdom was the material used. Every inch, crevice, and molecule of the earth, is drenched in YHWH’s Wisdom. Verses 27-29 of chapter 8 give similar testimony as Wisdom gives us the Creation account. Notice the main purpose is not the detail of the creation itself, but Wisdom’s eye-witness account of creation. Wisdom was there as the privileged one YHWH established the heavens with and in front of. Wisdom was there watching as YHWH set boundaries for water establishing His rule over His creation. Wisdom was there to bear witness as YHWH brings the sky to fruition from nothing. There is no “he said she said”, no telephone game, no translation error, Wisdom was there!!! Watching, participating as a master workman as verse 30a and Pr. 3:19 tells us God founded the earth with His wisdom. Wisdom received the prestigious position to take place in the Creation. This is more than just building a tower, some monument, or some 5th grade science project. This was YHWH taking absolutely NOTHING, and then using His Wisdom as the material to bring all life into existence. Wisdom is the reason we are here today and can listen to the Word of God, enjoy family and friends, can be redeemed, or do anything. This Wisdom was a partaker in YHWH’s first and foundational creation.

 

Rejoicing

This leads to the third aspect of Wisdom’s prestige; her rejoicing stems and comes from Wisdom being delight. At the end of verse 30; His is not in the original language so the verse literally reads Wisdom is delight. They go hand in hand and are inseparable. For YHWH to possess Wisdom means He possessed delight, and for YHWH to use Wisdom throughout creation, means that creation now has Wisdom and delight laid throughout its’ foundation!

Springing from Wisdom and her being delight was rejoicing because of who YHWH is and all that He created. We see in verses 30-31 she was rejoicing in YHWH first and most, and also in creation; which she calls His earth to show Him the proper reverence, glory, and ownership He is due. Wisdom loves all of YHWH and all that comes from Him without question. This rejoicing and delight includes the chief end of creation, mankind! Throughout the chapter Wisdom has been calling men (verses 4, 6, 8, 10, and even back to chapter 1:20) that we must LISTEN TO HER! The delight is shown in how she doesn’t have delight in mankind but is the delight in mankind! Verse 31, the word having is not there and Wisdom is stating that she is the delight; it is her as the delight; within, among, and for mankind! We’ll look at this more later on. What’s interesting is that Wisdom is stating this while mankind is in a broken relationship with God. Wisdom is speaking to her prestigious position and intimate nature with YHWH while mankind is rebellious towards YHWH continually (verses 4-5) and naïve to all she states! She has been shouting from the streets and gates explaining who she is, and with her target set at the hearts of mankind. So we see her change from the prestige of I am Wisdom to NOW LISTEN, which is our second point; her plea.

Point #2: Wisdom’s Plea (v. 32a, 33):

Wisdom’s Plea is straight to the point and no questions asked! Beginning of verse 32; NOW, LISTEN TO ME. And then again in verse 33, “heed instruction, be wise, and don’t neglect it!” These are four implicit commands: listen to her, heed her instruction, be wise, and don’t neglect this. In case we miss Wisdom’s urgency let me share two other pleas she proclaims within Proverbs.

Chapter 1:20-25:

Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof,

Again earlier in Chapter 8:1-4

Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates, at the opening to the city, at the entrance of the doors, she cries out: To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.

Is there any question that Wisdom takes seriously what she must proclaim, and that mankind MUST LISTEN? She doesn’t hide or try to go unnoticed but boldly shouts loudly and publicly at the entrance and gates of the city for mankind to listen up and stop being naïve! This plea resounds from Wisdom that existed prior to Creation, who is possessed by YHWH, participated in Creation, is the essence of delight, delights in YHWH and creation, and is the delight of mankind; and what does she have to say with urgency for those that listen to her? This leads us to our third point, her promise.

Comment #3: Wisdom’s Promise (v. 32b, 34-36):

Start in verses 32 and 34. Blessed is the result of the man who listens and keeps Wisdom’s ways. There is a two fold process to listening to wisdom where the individual can not just hear Wisdom, agree, and delight, but must now conform to the ways of Wisdom. This one has a certain eagerness about them (v. 34). They are described as watching and waiting by Wisdom gates and doorpost! The person listening to Wisdom does not watch or wait for Wisdom where they are currently at, but instead goes to where Wisdom is…this is the conformity to which an individual must come to love when listening to Wisdom. Automatic blessing and delight flow from Wisdom as obedience to her do as well. Never is there one without the other.

Wisdom gives a further description of the manner in which the one is blessed and the depth of her promise (v. 35); he who finds Wisdom finds life and favor from YHWH. Wisdom grants life for men and brings favor from YHWH for those that listen and obey. To know Wisdom then ends in knowing YHWH, so the life and favor that are granted are not finite but infinite as they are measured by the one who you have the relationship with! There is negative side within this promise though (v. 36); those that don’t respond to Wisdom actually sin and injure themselves. They will not taste life, but only death, and those that sin against Wisdom actually hate her and truly love death, they are depicted as suicidal! But Wisdom loves the things of YHWH and hates all that YHWH hates as she states previously (v. 13). To pursue the route of death is meaning a spiritual death not physical. We see this because the individuals who sin against Wisdom do so multiple times and continually love death; this is not a one time deal. It is an on going longing for sin, hatred of Wisdom, and death.

This condition, this longing for sin and hatred of Wisdom is one that we all have. If you are reading or thinking that you have Wisdom, my friend do not be fooled or mislead, you are the one Wisdom is calling naïve! But this promise can be fulfilled if you listen to Wisdom. How you may ask, we see fully unveiled in 1 Corinthians 1:24 and 2:2-8. God explains that Jesus Christ is the wisdom and power of God revealed to mankind. This is the message God has been shouting since eternity past. Eternal Wisdom is personified fully in the person of Jesus Christ and all that Wisdom is; Jesus Christ possesses her as God in the flesh. The life that Jesus Christ grants by becoming the sin/wrath bearer for all who would come to faith and believe in Him as both Lord and Savior while being crucified is what fulfills this promise. Wisdom’s promise is bound within Jesus Christ and He is the fulfillment and manifestation of YHWH securing it for His people. This is why Wisdom is mankind’s delight, why we must listen to eternal wisdom, why she is the source life. Listening to Wisdom is coming to intimately know the one who possesses her, YHWH, Jesus Christ! So remember Wisdoms prestige, plea, and promise so that we must listen to her!

Grace and Peace

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