1Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? 2On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; 3beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out: 4″To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live.
22“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. 23Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth — 26when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. 27When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 29when 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, 30then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 31rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.”
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said?
- Why is this happening/being said?
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it?
- What does it mean?
- What does it mean for us?
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Reflection: The book of Proverbs is clear in its teaching: there are two paths by which to travel in life. There is the pathway of God, built upon his wisdom and sustained by a holy reverent commitment to his ways. There is the the pathway of foolishness, a road that leads to destruction and misery. In our Scripture this week, wisdom is personified as a woman crying out to God’s people to read her presence in the “book” of creation. “Respond in faithfulness to the one who created you and knows you, the one who is high and lifted up above all creation and yet who condescends to us to care for us,” she cries. Lady Wisdom is a foreshadowing of Christ, the Word who, “like a master worker,” brought all things to being in the divine act of creation. We are to listen to Wisdom – to the Word, to Christ – because Wisdom was present from the beginning and is the foundation upon which the world is established. If Wisdom were absent from the creation, creation would crumble. Just as the hills, the waters, and the heavens (and all that fill them!) listen to Lady Wisdom and live, let us find our life this week and always in the Word of God. Look around you this week and see God’s majesty reflected in the good world with which he has surrounded you. All that you see is sustained by God’s Word and Wisdom.
Prayer Focus: We read in Genesis 3 that the first human sin was the sin of deciding for one’s self what is good and what is evil. God, in his wisdom, created us to know goodness. However, the man and woman felt that knowledge of both goodness and evil was desirable. They did not have the wisdom to discern between goodness and evil. In our world, it can be difficult to know what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, what it is beneficial and what is detrimental. This is why we seek out God’s wisdom. For God has created us and the entire cosmos. Therefore, God knows what is truly good for us and for his creation. It is up to God to deal with evil; it is for us to know the goodness of God. Pray this week for wisdom, asking God to give you the ability to discern what is of God and what is not of God. Pray that God will give you the courage and the strength to overcome evil by living in the goodness of God. Trust God to care for you. Remember that God is ruler over heaven and earth. He will handle evil; it is not your job. Your responsibilities are to love God and neighbor, pray, seek God’s wisdom, and do what God requires of you.
Meditation Focus: How do you know what is truly good? God has set his ways before us so that we might experience the depth of his creative work within us and delight in him in the way in which he delights in us. There are so many things that we cannot control, so many infirmities and injustices that befall us apart from personal choice. Yet think of all that we do choose that is not good – things that destroy instead of create; things that diminish life instead of promote life; and things that are self-serving and not kingdom-serving. As you meditate, ask God to search you through the Holy Spirit. Allow God to reveal to you those ways, attitudes, and expressions of character that do not reflect the creative, glorifying goodness of God. Imagine God working within you like a surgeon, removing those obstacles to his goodness. Then imagine God literally placing that which, according to his wisdom, is good. Then ask God to sew you up with grace. Let his goodness flow into you daily. May the wisdom of God change you into a renewed reflection of his image.
Journaling Focus: Have you ever gone against the wisdom of God in making a decision? Of course you have! We all have chosen our own wisdom over God’s wisdom at one time or another. Write about that decision. What convinced you to “go your own way?” What did choosing your own way look like? What were the results? How would God have chosen wisely (and differently!) for you in that situation? How did God bring healing and grace in the aftermath? How did that experience change the way in which you make decisions. How might you connect with God’s wisdom in the future in order that you might be led in God’s good ways? Remember that we are now in the season of Pentecost and we are more keenly aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence with us always. Allow for the Holy Spirit to write the wisdom of God upon your heart and mind so that in all decisions you might choose the goodness of God.
Breath Prayer: Father, grant me (us) wisdom.