My thoughts (Keith Phillips):
I’m convinced that the editor of Be Still and Know assigned this scripture passage to me because I am perceived as a sagacious father-figure.* “Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.”
So, what does this father of the Proverbs have to say to his children? “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (verse 7a; AV). He urges his children to seek and get this principal thing, personified as one of God’s feminine aspects: “Get wisdom; . . . Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you” (verses 5a and 6).
What a remarkable suggestion, especially for a culture which prizes wealth, status, friends, good looks, experiences, talent, stuff, family, even intelligence, more than it prizes wisdom. I’m not sure many in the Capitol or the Statehouse, or in the bars or the break rooms, or even in many of our churches would recognize wisdom if it came up behind them and bit them.
I’m convinced that Wisdom is near when we have a particular attitude in our relationship with the Divine. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I’ve never liked that word fear, which suggests being afraid of God; and it’s not what the Hebrew means. I prefer reverence or awe, closer to the Hebrew. The point is that I approach God humbly, ready to receive just what God has for me and ready to do just what God wills for me. Then, Wisdom will come.
But Wisdom frequently isn’t going to be what you’re expecting. I love the Proverbs precisely because they often are contradictory or counter-intuitive. The Proverbs provide an opportunity to unlearn everything we thought we knew. Most of the time our God is too small. We insist that God and God’s ways make sense to us. We ask, “Why?,” believing that there has got to be a reason. The Wisdom literature of the First Testament blasts that belief. God works in God’s own way, God’s wonders to behold.
The beginning of wisdom is in a humble relationship with an awesome and loving God, seeking all that God has for you, being willing to trust God with your totality, and striving to please God by following the unique path that God has for each of you, my children.
Thought for today: You may be smart; but unless you’re continuously seeking God’s Wisdom, you’re not very wise. Get God’s Wisdom.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.
* Editor’s note: Um, yeah, sure, that’s it.