This week I started reading Proverbs, the words of wisdom passed down to us by King Solomon, wisdom which was granted to him by God. In the New Living Translation the heading at the beginning of Proverbs 8 is “Wisdom Calls for a Hearing.” In this chapter, Wisdom stands on the hilltops and at the crossroads calling out for all to listen.
4 I call to you, to all of you!
I raise my voice to all people.
5 You simple people, use good judgment.
You foolish people, show some understanding.
6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
7 for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
8 My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge.
It seems in our world today no one listens to wisdom, though it is available to all who seek it. Verse 9 says that if we have knowledge, wisdom will be clear and plain to us. But so often people gain human knowledge and believe that alone is enough. They don’t consider whether ideas and advise are wholesome, truthful, and right. Deception and devious motives abound.
Just the morning on the news I saw a story about how diet frozen dinners often had more calories than the box indicated. A seemingly plausible reason was given, but the essence of the company representative’s comment was that it didn’t matter if the nutrition information was wrong.
Another story highlighted potential misinformation provided by BP regarding the Gulf oil disaster. It seems BP executives knew they were cutting corners on safety before the leak started and didn’t do anything to avoid the risk. Many Gulf-area residents have been financially damaged because of this disaster, but it is taking government action to force BP to see the wisdom of setting up a fund to pay them for the damage done.
Yesterday I read a blog about human trafficking that brought me to tears. Evil people use deception to lure young women and children into slavery for the sex trade. Often the lure is through a fake job offer, other times it is through preying on the poverty of parents in poor countries. These evil people despise wisdom and do not listen to her voice.
Even in our daily lives most of us cannot avoid having to deal with lies and deception. The world puts more emphasis on winning or succeeding at any cost than it does on truth and justice born of wisdom. People use knowledge to gain riches at the expense of others or the environment or our children’s futures.
In her call for a hearing, Wisdom goes on to say:
18 I have riches and honor,
as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold,
my wages better than sterling silver!
20 I walk in righteousness,
in paths of justice.
21 Those who love me inherit wealth.
I will fill their treasuries.
The wealth that Wisdom promises is far better than all the money, all the gold, all the jewels, and all the oil in the entire earth. It is treasure that is stored up in Heaven, but it is also the treasure of peace and joy in your heart. It is the treasure of a mind that is content and satisfied with the gifts God has seen fit to grant us. It is the treasure of a heart free from always striving for more, then when more is attained, striving yet again.
Will you give Wisdom a hearing? Will you heed her call? Will you enjoy the treasure of peace, hope, love, and salvation? The alternative is to listen to Folly. This is what she has to say in Proverbs 9 as she calls for a hearing, too:
13 The woman named Folly is brash.
She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
14 She sits in her doorway
on the heights overlooking the city.
15 She calls out to men going by
who are minding their own business.
16 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17 “Stolen water is refreshing;
food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there.
Her guests are in the depths of the grave.
It seems to me many in the world have chosen to listen to Folly. They mistakenly believe that stolen water is refreshing and food eaten in secret is sweet. But I choose Wisdom for her ways are just and good, and she is a gift from God. How about you?