About Proverbs 8
Much of Proverbs is written as a collection of wise tidbits. There are chapters that focus on wisdom for youth, wisdom for women, wisdom for all. There are chapters that provide a series of short profoundly wise statements. In each of these we hear about wisdom. Proverbs 8 is different. Unlike many other chapters of this unique book, this chapter personifies Wisdom. Wisdom itself speaks with distinct personality. It beckons the reader to listen carefully. As I read this chapter it spoke to me as though its true name was Holy Spirit.
Pr 8:1-3 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: Wisdom is personified. Wisdom itself speaks.
Pr 8:4 “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. Everyone, listen…
Pr 8:5 O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. We are merely human. No matter how smart we think we are, we aren’t the source of Wisdom, but if we are prudent, if we use sense, we can hear Wisdom.
Pr 8:6-9 Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Wisdom only has good things to offer. We are assured it has nothing bad to give us. If you accept Wisdom you will understand and you will gain knowledge. Knowledge alone is hollow, but with Wisdom our knowledge yields understanding
Pr 8:10-11 Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Wisdom is worth more than any worldly wealth.
Pr 8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. Wisdom is not alone. Those who find Wisdom grow in knowledge, but not alone. With Wisdom we learn discretion and prudence. This all sounds good, but what makes these so important together? As we learn more about who Wisdom really is we can begin to see what is meant by knowledge, prudence and discretion. Knowledge is knowledge of the Lord God. If we are wise we will learn about YHWH and our Lord Jesus Christ. With prudence we will discover the meaning of what is written in our scriptures and understand them as Wisdom speaks to us. With discretion we will take what we’ve learned and we will understand how to apply it, when and where. These are the tools with which we can discern Truth. One great thing about the relationship we develop with our Lord Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit is that the relationship is a living growing thing. As we draw near Him, He draws near us. As we listen more, He speaks more. As we obey more, we become closer in our walk with Him. After all, Jesus himself said if love him we will obey. How can we obey without Wisdom, and how else can Wisdom speak to our heart without it being the Holy Spirit given by the Lord Jesus himself to help us?
Pr 8:13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Wisdom has enemies. The first sin, Eve’s disobedience, was the fruit of her pride. Her pride was the fruit of perverted speech by the serpent. When I think of personified Wisdom really being the Holy Spirit, I think of Eph 6:12 which says: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Pr 8:13 makes it clear Wisdom (Holy Spirit) does in fact have the capacity to hate. If we belong to Jesus and the Holy Spirit abides with us, we are obligated to hate evil. We are not to seek temptation, but we are to face evil and wrestle against it. We are given the ultimate victory. Evil’s fruit is sin and sin ends in death, but through our fear of the Lord we overcome sin and we have life eternal.
Pr 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Jesus perhaps drew from this passage when he said, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” (Mt 7:7). John says something similar in Jn 14:13-14 then, in context with this bold promise to give what we ask he promises to provide the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:15-17). John goes on to explain the very purpose and function of the Holy Spirit and perhaps better than anything else explains why I make the assertion that the person Wisdom of Pr 8 is in fact the Holy Spirit of our Lord. Jn 14:26 quotes Jesus who says of the Holy Spirit: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The gift of this help is surely one of the greatest acts of love by our Lord short of suffering crucifixion in our stead.
Pr 8:18-21 Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. This passage brings to mind first the New Covenant promise Jeremiah wrote about (Jer 31:33-34). The very Holy Spirit itself is the ink and pen of the Law written on our hearts and it is our Helper who teaches us to tell our neighbors to know the Lord and ultimately justify us unto mercy. Besides the Holy Spirit being present now and the treasure of eternal life to look forward to, our promise is alive and active and bearing fruit. This is the Fruit of the Spirit Paul described in his letter to the Galatians: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” (Gal 5:22-23a).
The Good News of Pr 8
Pr 8:35-36 For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” This passage brings all before it to a final and absolute conclusion. Life or death. The Holy Spirit is promised to believers in Jesus Christ (Mk 1:8, Ac 2:8). Jesus said he and the Father were one (Jn 10:30). Jesus explained he was directed by the Father to lay down his life and he chose to obey and he also said he was given authority to pick his own life up again, meaning his resurrection (Jn 10:17-18). Jesus did this because of love (Jn 3:16) because God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Because of this love our sins will be forgotten (Jer 31:34) and we have assurance of eternal life when we submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ and love him through trust and obedience (1 Jn 5:3). There is an alternative, one we all too often shy from speaking of, but we can choose death. By rejecting Jesus, by refusing to accept Jesus and the promised Holy Spirit, we prove we hate him and love death. This isn’t because he refuses to accept us, but because we refuse him (Jn 3:18). And so we come back the question at hand: life or death. Accept or reject. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the time to chose. I cannot choose for you. I cannot forgive your sins. You alone must choose whom you will serve – light or dark. It is okay to be afraid. Its okay not to understand it completely – that’s why its called faith. He already loves us. All we need do is return the love (Dt 6:5). So which is it: life or death?