“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; 23 I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. 24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water; 25 before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, 26 before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth. 27 I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, 28 when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, 29 when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. 30 Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. 32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. 34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For those who find me find life and receive favour from the LORD. 36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:22-36 NIV)
This is best known of the speeches in the book of Proverbs. Wisdom has antiquity, it was there at the beginning of creation. It can offer an insight into how the world functions because it saw how the world was made. The translation of these verses is difficult and the debate around exactly what is meant is hotly contested. There is a danger that we delve into the detail and miss the major point that the Teacher is making. It is probably best not to take these verses as a description of the pre-incarnate Christ. Though what is said here is developed in the NT to help describe Christ:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Jn. 1:1-3 NIV)
but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:24 NIV)
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God– that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Cor. 1:30 NIV)
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:3 NIV)
The main point to grasp as we make our way through the verse is that because wisdom is ancient it deserves to be listened to. This is not some new fad that the Teacher is setting before, it is the wisdom that existed before the world began. How essential it is for us to listen and embrace God’s wisdom if we desire to live in God’s world the way we were supposed to live.
Wisdom predates the days of creation. When we look at creation we see the great wisdom that went into the design of God’s creation. We must remember that this is a fallen creation we are observing, and we do that with a fallen mind. Yet we can still see the amazing wisdom of God in every detail. The point is, why would we want to ignore God’s wisdom, why would we even dream of using our own wisdom? Even if we have lived a long life, how could anything we acquire equip us better than God’s wisdom. Yet, sadly that is the choice that we often make.
Because wisdom was there when the earth was created, it has knowledge. Wisdom celebrates creation. We too should rejoice in the beauty of creation. When wisdom saw creation and humanity, she rejoiced. What a joy it must have been to have seen unfallen creation and humanity.
To find wisdom is to find life and have the favour of God upon your life. To fail to find wisdom is to bring harm upon oneself and to find death.
Lord God we follow our own ways to our detriment. We carry on without prayer. Help us to understand that there is no wisdom to compare with Your wisdom. Enable us to choose the way of wisdom, so that Your favour and blessing will be upon our lives because we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.