1 Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice? 2 On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man.
5 O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
6 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
7 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
9 They are all straight to him who understands,
and right to those who find knowledge.
10 Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
Compare Wisdom to the Forbidden Woman. Both go out into the public places (8:2-3, 7:12); both speak out (8:1, 7:11); both make offers to men (8:4-11, 7:14-20). Now contrast the two women. Whereas the Forbidden Woman entices the simple to commit sin and join her in wickedness, Wisdom offers what is noble, true, and righteous (7:18-20, 8:5-8). The Forbidden Woman views the simple and foolish as prey; Wisdom views them as those needing help (7:21-23, 8:4-5). The Forbidden Woman entraps men; Wisdom makes their way straight (7:22-23, 8:9). The Forbidden Woman’s enticements lead to destruction; Wisdom’s gifts lead to possessions greater than physical riches (8:10-11, 7:21-27).
It seems an easy choice to make, and, yet, more choose the Forbidden Woman than Wisdom. Why? Verse 9 suggests the reason. To choose Wisdom, one must already have some understanding as to what is wise and good; one must be a seeker of knowledge. Most people are seekers of easy pleasure, of what satisfies the ego. Thus, what Wisdom regards as crooked, most people regard as straight paths to their pleasure. What Wisdom regards as wickedness, fools regard as releasing restraints.
The heart must already be prepared to receive Wisdom. All the more then pray for that work which belongs to the Holy Spirit – to prepare the heart to receive the Wisdom of the Gospel. Pray for the Spirit to awaken them from the dead, giving them ears to hear, and turning their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh that will be convicted and will turn to the truth of the Gospel. Pray for your neighbors to have their ears and minds open to her. Pray for yourself, as well, for you also are dependent upon the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to open your ears and minds.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org