We could call Proverbs 8 In Praise Of Wisdom. There are no direct references or warnings, as in previous chapters, about the Black Magic Woman lurking everywhere, as she stalks the naive, unsuspecting, and all who shun Wisdom. Instead this entire chapter is devoted to the gracious and life enhancing characteristics of Lady Wisdom, where she may be found now, and where she has been since the beginning!
She calls out, “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired do not compare to it.” (verses 10,11)
What the world needs now may be “love, sweet love”, but what it really needs equally as much is to love wisdom. She continues (verse 17,18): “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honor are with me; yes, durable riches and righteousness.”
“Durable” riches mean the riches that endure perpetually, not the fleeting and temporary. Jesus takes it to a deeper level, advising “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Where is the love of Wisdom in today’s world? I recently heard from a young woman I know. She lives in an area where there are lovely, well groomed parks and playgrounds.
Apparently during a recent visit, there were some children playing nearby who were making a mess by throwing pieces of landscaping materials and acting in a very rude, disorderly, and disruptive fashion. The real issue was that the demolition derby’s dad was just standing there smiling as if it delighted him that they had no discipline and that they were aggravating everyone else in the park. He made no effort to correct them.
This young woman raises her children with respect for God, others, private and public property, nature and the like. She is a Christian mom raising her young children to respect the simple differences between acceptable and unacceptable attitudes and behaviors. Her children do not act like the others did. Although younger, they wondered why these older children did not understand appropriate behavior and were allowed to get away with such things.
Sadly this is not an unusual scenario these days. Yet it’s easy to see that when children are not learning from parents by example, teaching, and discipline combined – to “lay up heavenly treasures”, but are instead taught to seek only this world’s material goods and more money than the next guy, they will not learn respect. They will regard everything and everyone else as mere resources to use and to get what they want, which they think will make them happy. Sadly this has become a more and more popular social modus operandi, as each generation becomes more materialistic.
And then we wonder why the nation is swirling the drain.
The emphasis is self. Self satisfaction, self seeking, basically self worship. Ego reigns in the cult of self. Where does this go after awhile, with this “if it feels good, do it” mentality – when the higher immutable Law is that you reap what you sow?
Let’s look at that. If you seek only your own success, pleasure, and what make you feel good – regardless of others – and have no consideration or respect for anyone or anything else, eventually you will attract into your life people who are also self absorbed, careless, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. People and situations will materialize in your life that are hurtful and destructive. You may wonder why it’s happening to you.
You may have all the material success plans and money making strategies in the world, but if you’re a jerk, eventually all you’ll have around you is other opportunistic, self-absorbed jerks!
As for this idea that sinful behaviors done privately won’t hurt anyone else, it always amazes me how many people who believe that also claim “We are all one”. They don’t realize that if you are one with everyone else, then whatever you’re doing is being done to everyone else as well. Better rethink that one. You can’t have it both ways!
When Wisdom is sought as the only lasting treasure, She teaches you how to avoid these subtly deceptive ideas. However, She requires a faithful heart and single mind!
I suspect that a good many people – drunk with the pursuit of self, wealth, and the temporary pleasures of this world – may have to learn the truth the hard way. If you’re a taker, a predator, a scavenger, or an opportunist, you will learn eventually that like attracts like. Hell’s population will be characterized by people who will still try to outfox one another as they “look out for number one”. Certainly earthly prisons are full of such individuals.
If the dad in the foregoing example treasured Wisdom and genuine Love, his children would not be acting like little demons, nor would he stand there with a smirk on his face allowing them to get away with it – acting as if it gave him pleasure that they were tearing up the park and upsetting others! Might this man’s parents also be among those who failed at stepping up to the plate of being wise elders for him?
No, this kind of foolishness is not cute. It is the seed of bratty behavior and bullying in early life which, barring divine intervention, yields something far worse in later years.
The phrase “those that seek me early shall find me” is a very telling one. Why would someone desire Wisdom early in childhood? He or she would see it as a living dynamic he respects and looks up to in a parent or elder who exemplifies it, for Wisdom is something both caught and taught.