Proverbially Speaking / Chapter 4

We open with a setting in this 4th chapter of Proverbs, depicting a wise father admonishing his sons regarding the life-enhancing value of hearing, respecting, and honoring Wisdom [instruction and understanding]. Envision them sitting in a lovely palatial garden at the feet of the magnificent king. With attentive looks on the children’s faces, and an urgent but loving tone in their father’s voice, he gazes intently into their eyes; he communicates his heart to them…

Just as our Heavenly Father does with us – if and when we are willing to surrender our willful hearts and minds to Him.

Can you picture yourself receiving instruction at His feet? A stream of dancing water gurgles in the background as a soft wind blows. Angelic music is heard as we’re softly serenaded into a soothing, healing, receptive state. Perhaps such a view can transport us into God’s own heart as well, His desire for us to know Wisdom, and His will for us to experience infinite blessing, peace, abundance, joy, and grace.

After all, Jesus reveals [John 10:10] that He came to restore us to abundant life, to reveal His Way of Wisdom so that manifold abundance characterizes our reality.

Apparently this is important enough, that the four opening chapters of Proverbs reiterate the many positive outcomes of Wisdom, as well as warnings about the darkness and destruction following when She is not sought, consulted, or cherished.

Let’s moved back in time to Exodus 20, when God’s first “summary” of primary Wisdom – the Ten Commandments – was given as Moses came down from Mount Sinai. This was shortly after the Israelites were set free from slavery in Egypt.

They had already been through some decisive battles. There were disputes arising among the people in their new situation of freedom. Commandments were given so that people would know what was expected of them [personal responsibility and self monitoring], and as a basis by which disputes were settled and decisions made. [See Exodus 18:17-11 through 19:25].

Thus we see appropriate and primary Wisdom being imparted when a new situation of freedom from enslavement is entered by those called out of Egypt.

This points, in type, to what the new Christian experiences as he takes his first steps into new freedom in Jesus Christ. The Red Sea has parted. He leaves enslavement and enters new and strange territory – with a new set of both blessings and challenges.

There is grateful yearning to learn to walk in this new life. Enthusiasm is high. We’ve beheld and experienced miracles of deliverance and healing! We easily sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary of Bethany, hear and read His word, and yearn for the Holy Spirit to show us how to apply this Wisdom to our life.

We may think we have “arrived”. Yet this is only the beginning phase of our figurative “wilderness wandering”.

Once the “honeymoon” has passed, there are intense years marked by wondering, struggle, learning, doubt, fear, faith, battling, failing, succeeding, rejoicing… The work within us is initiated and refined during this time, as we encounter the path and the challenges outside us. We are made ready, – in the manner of an old set of lyrics that concludes the familiar Christmas carol “Away in a manger” – “and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.”

There is something we are being “fit” or prepared for, readied to receive. This is the reason for wilderness trials and wanderings – after Egypt and before the Promised Land. We are made ready by Wisdom to cross over into the land of milk and honey!

Leaving Exodus we now visit the last reiteration of the Commandments and Covenants in Deuteronomy, which means “Repetition of the Law”. Primary Wisdom is once more repeated by Moses in the plains of Moab just before his death. They were moving on, but Wisdom must go with them! The “children” needed to be reminded of that, just as they readied themselves to move into their inheritance.

Israel was embarking upon another transition, “crossing over” the River Jordan to enter Canaan. They had acquired the Wisdom that made them fit to leave Sinai and enter the Land of Milk and Honey, the land they were promised.

Entering in held more and greater challenges than ever, but also blessing beyond their wildest dreams! Here relationship with Wisdom would deepen and mature, if they continued to hear and heed Her.

Moving forward to the present time, we look around us and wonder how to interpret the times and events unfolding. We turn not to our finite, limited mind for these answers, but surrender to the infinite, unlimited Wisdom-Mind of God!

Wisdom runs to meet us! Will we run to her, or run the other way – because we regard ourselves as too sophisticated for the directives of that old fashioned Book with its outdated stories, mores, and tales irrelevant to such enlightened people?

Could these times be a transitional step for all of Humankind? Have we been prepared for the new blessings and challenges which await us? Certainly there are contentious giants in the land. We must understand the Wisdom strategies necessary to face them.

Wisdom is denied to no one who asks. Yet She must be received without wavering or doubt. [See James 1:2-8]. Whoever perpetually receives Her is Divinely prepared for what is here now, and whatever awaits us in the future. There will be plenty of challenges ahead to render us perfect, complete, whole, lacking in nothing.

It seems, however, that what’s needed now is to revisit the basics – beginning with those of us who claim Name of the Lord – in order to renew, remind, and refresh us about who we are and to Whom we belong.

[Please visit 1 Chronicles 7:14 for further contemplations.]

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