Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? 2 At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 beside the gate leading into the city, at the entrance, she cries aloud: 4 “To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. 5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it. 6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. 7 My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. 8 All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. 9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech. 14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. 15 By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; 16 by me princes govern, and nobles– all who rule on earth. 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. 18 With me are riches and honour, enduring wealth and prosperity. 19 My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, 21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full. (Prov. 8:1-21 NIV)
In this chapter the Teacher speaks, and then the personification of wisdom takes over the speech in v12.
Lady wisdom speaks after a foolish invitation to live outside the way of the Lord has been offered to the youth in ch 7. Lady wisdom comes again to the public square and calls out to any who will listen. She raises her voice, standing on the heights so that she can be heard. She stands at the crossroads where paths meet. She stands at the city gates. Lady wisdom stands in the open, unlike woman folly who lurks in the shadows and uses her words to bring people down to death and the grave.
She cries out to the people, to the whole of mankind. It is reminiscent of Noah, warning of judgement to come, and of the prophets who called to the people to repent. The urgency of the call arises from the realisation of the dangers of being entrapped in life by folly.
Woman folly targeted the simple and the foolish, and so does Lady wisdom. She appeals especially to the simple so that they can find prudence and the foolish so that they can find wisdom and set their hearts upon it.
This is not a passive message where one can just take it or leave it, there is only learning or ignoring, gaining or losing.
V6 appeals for people to listen. The Teacher has trustworthy things to say, he speaks what is right. As we speak out, we need to speak truth and that which is right. There should be an honour and integrity to the way we reason. We cannot devise deceitful arguments or misrepresent the views of others. Wisdom is honourable and transparent. Her mouth speaks truth, and is not distracted into just winning arguments. She detests falsehood and wicked arguments. The words are just, including nothing perverse or crooked.
The words of wisdom are instantly recognised by those who have discernment and knowledge. Wisdom is despised by fools. When the wisdom of scripture is pointed out to people they become angry and they find arguments to oppose the wisdom of scripture. They refuse to listen because the wisdom of scripture condemns their lifestyle, and they don’t just want to live their lifestyle, they want everyone to approve it. Wisdom cries out, but her voice is shouted down.
Wisdom is to be sought and treasured more than silver, gold or precious stones. There is nothing to compare with the value of wisdom.
The Teacher now addresses us speaking of wisdom in the first person. Wisdom has prudence, knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil. People today are so brutally cruel to each other. There are cruel governments who abuse their power. There are drug gangs in this country who murder young men and women of the streets. People torture other people and abuse and kill. People live without the fear of the Lord. They behave how they like, but God will surely bring all to account.
Wisdom rejects evil, pride and arrogance – all of the things most evident in those who do not live in the fear of the Lord.
Wisdom has insight, sound judgement and power. The possession of wisdom empowers people to make decisions. Many governments have ruled wisely because they have loved wisdom. In common grace God gives wisdom to governments to help them make good decisions.
Wisdom loves those who love her. When people love wisdom and they are making wise decisions this makes life better for those around them. Citizens love it when they are ruled by wise and honourable rulers. When wisdom prevails, there is a better standard of life for everyone. The way of wisdom is the wise way to live.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom that You have given us to live by. Help us to listen with a desire to learn. Help us to guard our hearts and the footsteps that we take along our journey in life. Help us always to speak truth, to possess sound judgement and to make the best decisions that will bring glory to Your holy name, because we ask this in our Savour’s name. Amen.