“Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: ‘How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.'”
Proverbs 1:20-23 (NLT)
How is it that Wisdom calls to us, and in some cases calls to us blatantly, and yet we still miss it? According to Proverbs 1:20-21, Wisdom is right there, in the center of it all, calling to us, but sometimes we still don’t hear or respect it, and as a result we make poor decisions.
To answer this question, first, we must understand some characteristics of godly wisdom.
- begins with the fear of the LORD (Proverbs 1:7).
- is truth (Proverbs 8:7).
- leads us to knowledge and discernment (Proverbs 8:12).
- protects us (Proverbs 2:12).
- brings peace (James 3:17-18).
- is revealed through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12).
- is foolishness to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The woman Wisdom, as personified in Proverbs, is like the Lord calling to us directly. God wants his people to come back to him despite all the earthly wisdom and temptations with which his people are bombarded and enticed. In Proverbs 1:20-23, there is an element of desperation exhibited in Wisdom’s call for people to listen to her. She’s right there in front of them, yet they are blinded to, or they outright deny, her. This theme runs throughout the entire Bible (consider the Israelites in the desert with Moses in the Old Testament and the Jewish people who denied Jesus in the New Testament). It is also at the forefront of our current society – when we measure the values and “cultural norms” that are promoted today, we find they fall quite short of what the Bible teaches. But, thankfully, we are encouraged by the promise in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, and he thus continues to call out to his people to come back to him.
So how is it, that more times than not, people decry Wisdom as foolishness? Consider what kinds of wisdom cry out to you on a daily basis in your life. Do you seek solutions to your problems through TV talk shows, self-help books, or songs on the radio? Or do you seek them through prayer and reading God’s word? To find the Wisdom that protects, brings peace and is in line with truth, we must know God. This divine wisdom is the mystery of Christ to which Paul refers in Ephesians 3:4-5.
To hear Wisdom, we must let go of our self-sufficiency and recognize our need for God. When we understand that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, and place our trust in Christ as our Savior, we immediately begin gaining Wisdom. The only absolute truth in this world is God’s word, and as Christians, we should test everything against the truths we find in the Bible. When we align our lives with God’s Wisdom, we will indeed live in peace (Proverbs 1:33).
Look for, and listen to, Wisdom’s call and live out the counsel she gives, so that you will indeed have the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).