Proverbs 8:22-36

Today’s reading from Proverbs covers chapter 8:22-36.

Remember when a telephone was a big piece of plastic that hung on the wall in your kitchen? Remember when you had to spin the dial clockwise for each digit to call a number and, if you made a mistake, had to hang up and start over?

Who wouldn’t take a cellphone over that? Even a flip phone was far superior to that. The flip phone can store your phonebook and dial them all with just a few button presses. Compare that old kitchen phone to a smartphone and there’s no contest at all.

New technologies are better than old ones but not everything that is new is best. Here in Proverbs 8:22-36, wisdom speaks as if she is a woman. The key fact that she stresses about herself is that she’s really old. She was the first thing God created (v. 22) so she is older than any material thing that exists. With great eloquence Solomon painted a picture of how old wisdom is. Like gravity or the laws of physics or matter, wisdom is a foundational idea, an ancient principle that makes everything else possible. It is true that we humans have only recently discovered things like the laws of physics, but though the ideas are new to us, the principles are ancient because they are foundational.

So it is with wisdom except that wisdom isn’t prized as a great discovery, it is despised as being old and out of date. That’s how our culture treats true wisdom–God’s wisdom–because people in our culture want to lead an immoral life and wisdom directs you to fear God and lead a moral life according to his commands. At the end of our passage today, however, verses 35-36 promise great benefits for wisdom and penalties for folly–wisdom’s opposite.

Wisdom is old but it is not obsolete; it is foundational to a successful life. Remember that wisdom begins with fearing God, so building your life on a foundation of wisdom starts with welcoming God’s revelation and living obediently to what it says. As sinners we can’t do this naturally but the saving grace of Christ enables us to learn how to obey.

Are you resisting some command of God? Are you questioning some principle of his word or some tenet of the Christian faith? Do you wonder if the Bible isn’t obsolete because it is so old? Wisdom brags about being old because it is a foundational principle to all of life. So seek wisdom in your life by learning God’s word and–most importantly–obeying what you learn in God’s word. Wisdom won’t let you down, so build your life on it. It is a dependable foundation, the only one worth founding your life on.

Proverbs 8:1-21

Today’s reading from Proverbs is Proverbs 8:1-21.

I don’t have a devotional for you today, exactly, just some questions for you to think about and, if you choose, discuss in the comments below or on Facebook.

  1. Solomon speaks of wisdom as a woman in this section and he seems to emphasize that wisdom is out there in public trying to get as much attention from people as she can (vv. 1-4). In what real life ways does wisdom speak and try to get our attention? What source or sources of wisdom do you think Solomon is thinking of when he tells us that wisdom is readily available to anyone and everyone?

  2. If wisdom is always trying to get everyone’s attention, why are so few people truly wise?

  3. What does a wise person look like according this passage? In other words, what character qualities indicate that you have met a truly wise person?

  4. What are the benefits of wisdom that Solomon praises in this section, especially in verses 11, 18-21? How do the character qualities you listed in question # 3 above produce the benefits Solomon described here in a person’s life.

  5. If you wanted to become wiser, what is one physical action or change you should make in your life based on these verses?