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Wisdom addresses the everyday problems of daily living. What are those challenges for you, today? Bring them with you as you come to pray and read, for God’s compassionate love is concerned for our mundane existence, as well as the big questions.


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Bible passage Proverbs 8:1–21


Proverbs 8

Wisdom's Call
 1 Does not wisdom call out?
       Does not understanding raise her voice?

 2 On the heights along the way,
       where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

 3 beside the gates leading into the city,
       at the entrances, she cries aloud:

 4 "To you, O men, I call out;
       I raise my voice to all mankind.

 5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
       you who are foolish, gain understanding.

 6 Listen, for I have worthy 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 faultless to those who have 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 behavior and perverse speech.

 14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
       I have understanding and power.

 15 By me kings reign
       and rulers make laws that are just;

 16 by me princes govern,
       and all nobles who rule on earth.

 17 I love those who love me,
       and those who seek me find me.

 18 With me are riches and honor,
       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 wealth on those who love me
       and making their treasuries full.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Explore the Bible


Wisdom for all
The trajectory of chapter 8 will reach the heights of power and wonder, especially in tomorrow’s second half, but it begins right in the middle of everyday life, in the market place, where people gather to chat about the things that concern them, both personal and communal (v 3).

Proverbs might be addressed to a future king, but its gifts are available to everyone, even the simplest of subjects (v 5), so we are all included. Two gifts in particular are commended to ordinary folk like you and me – prudence and intelligence.

Praising prudence
Prudence is something we are most likely to hear about from finance ministers or bank managers (indeed, one of the longest established UK insurance firms is called The Prudential). It is the virtue of being ‘streetwise’, having a grip on matters so that you can exercise self-control. It is one of the most important of the Christian virtues, and extends to much else besides handling your money.

Accompanied by understanding, you have the tools to negotiate the twists and turns of life, and remain in control of yourself and your own journey, guided by the Spirit.


Respond


Bring to prayer today the events that trouble you, and seek prudence.

Paul Goodliff


Deeper Bible study


‘I would love to live / Like a river flows / Carried by the surprise / Of its own unfolding.’1 Lord give me the joy of living in the present moment.

Lady Wisdom raises her voice to offer life at the crossroads and at the city gates, in the hurly-burly, the hustle and bustle of everyday life; and she calls to the callow, the simpletons, the dolts, not to an elite of scholars. There is an implicit contrast with the seductress of chapter 7 whose words and works belong to darkness and lead to death (compare Proverbs 7:9,18,27; 8:36). Chapter 8 has seven roughly equal sections; we focus today on the first four: verses 1–5, 6–11, 12–16 and 17–21. If I was the one issuing the invitation to Lady Wisdom, for what task, issue or problem would I most seek her invaluable advice and help? The NIV phrase ‘trustworthy things’ in verse 6a probably means either ‘excellent things’ or ‘candid things’. If Lady Wisdom was to speak with complete candour to me as I am, where would her candour strike me hardest?

In today’s reading I encounter many opposites. I trawl through these polarities (vs 7b,13,17), perhaps writing them out – the most absolute one is ‘love-hate’. CS Lewis writes, of the wrestle between Ransom and the Un-man, ‘Then an experience that perhaps no good man can ever have in our world came over him – a torrent of perfectly unmixed and lawful hatred’2. Can I imagine having such a response to evil? Finally, I notice how wide is Lady Wisdom’s call. Proverbs is not offering Jewish national wisdom. Lady Wisdom’s call is to ‘all humanity’ (v 4), to ‘all who rule on earth’ (v 16). I thank God that he speaks every person’s language, that there is no community so remote or depraved or singular as to be beneath or beyond his invitation.

Howard Peskett

 

1 John O’Donohue, ‘Fluent’, source unknown
2 CS Lewis, Voyage to Venus, Pan Books, 1968, p142


Background: Wisdom as biblical character


In praise of wisdom

This wonderful hymn praises wisdom as a noble divine characteristic. There is a tension between wisdom as a self-existing entity and wisdom as a personification of one of God’s attributes.

In comparison with other places in Scripture where wisdom is personified (eg Proverbs 3:19,20; 8:22–31; see in the Apocrypha, Sirach 1:1–10), it can be seen that the stress here is that God alone knows wisdom and determines its essence, using it in his creation of the world (vs 23,24). So it is clear that wisdom has no existence independent of God.

Truths about wisdom

The poem is divided by a refrain (vs 12,20). The first section of the poem indicates that human research has not discovered wisdom (vs 1–11), the second that human wealth cannot purchase genuine wisdom (vs 13-19), and the third that God alone has wisdom, and it his gift (vs 21–27).

The poem ends with a statement of the motto of the wisdom movement in Israel (see 1:1,8; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Ecclesisastes 12:13).

Andrew Clark

Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Job 33,34

Luke 24
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Wisdom is calling


Lord, I think I know better…
I think I know better than you,
I know I know better than others.
I’m an individual in an individualistic world –
who knows better than me?
But wisdom is calling…
Everywhere I go, wisdom is calling:
At home, wisdom is calling,
At work, wisdom is calling,
At play, wisdom is calling.

Wisdom calls, ‘Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
Counsel and sound judgement are mine:
I have insight, I have power.
I love those who love me,
And those who seek me find me.

Oh Lord, I’m not sure I want to listen to wisdom’s voice.
What if I’m wrong?
What if someone does know better than me?
What does that say about me?
Yet inside, there is such a deep longing
To place my whole life into another’s hands,
To know there is someone bigger and stronger than me.
To find someone who knows what to do when my wisdom runs out.

So help me wait
Help me listen.
I long to hear that voice, even if I’m scared of what it might say.
Wisdom, speak.
Show me that you know better than me.
Amen.

Richard England

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Song: Your words are life
Composer: Noel Richard and Tim Sherrington
Copyright: Copyright © 2008 Thank you Music
Buy this and other great worship songs here

Knowing you
Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 02 August 2017

    Thank you Stephanie. Loved your mum's wisdom Rosemary. Enyobi, thank you, and Barbara. I appreciate all your comments very much.

  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 02 August 2017

    Ankhe, I have added your family to my list of those we are praying salvation for. May you be strengthened to be faithful in this lonely witness. In March we prayed for your mum and you daughter. How are they now?

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    What thought provoking and challenging notes to ponder today. Thank you Paul, Howard, Andrew and amen to your prayer Richard.

  • Darren Gardner | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    A great song called "Wisdom" by Iona that people may like... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF_WHz0T72Y

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    Wisdom:- 'Those who search will surely find me.....' Thankyou Father God for the assurance that when we accept Your love and eternal forgiveness we may trust in You and in our heavenly relationship. We know that in searching we will discover Your will for us and we may joyfully know that 'all will be well.' Amen.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    My greatest challenge each day is to keep God at the forefront of my mind and constantly remember Jesus is my priority.

  • Roger Hall | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    A few days ago, I made the statement that the best way to encounter wisdom would be to read your Bible and pray every day. I then started to look and see what chains of cross references could be found and looked at a Thompson Cross reference system. Not simple. However, while I maintain that the Bible, read every day is a strong sort of way to receive and grow in knowledge, understanding, there is great value in having the Wisdom concentrated as we find in this study. By no means will I put it aside. On the other hand, verse 2 " On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand." I remember one reference: Jeremiah 6: 16: “Stand at the Cross Roads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” I live in a part of the world where there are ancient paths, drove roads, roman roads, holy trails, and to me, the ancient paths represent the way of the Bible, and forget anything which cannot be found in scripture.

  • Tim Berry | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    Joyce Meyer says, "Take a praise pause". Stop from what you are doing at points during the day and just praise God. Nothing pleases Him more.

  • Derek Forster | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, And order all things, far and nigh; To us the path of knowledge show, And cause us in her ways to go.

  • Carol Stockman | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    Lord I ask for your strength and wisdom when the path gets even more difficult. I would seek prayer for Monday when I have to have follow up tests after a routine scan.

  • Ruth Lewis | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    CAROL, I am praying with you that all goes well with the follow up test on Monday. TIM, Thank you for quoting Joyce Meyer. I am so very Blessed by All of the comments. What a Blessing you all are to me!!! Wishing everyone a Pleasant Thursday, filled with the Joy of our Lord, who gives us the strength we need to complete our task for the day!!!

  • Shona McLennan | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    Praying with you, Carol.

  • David Chipchase | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    Carol, I will gladly pray for you. Please let us know how the follow-up tests go.

  • David Chipchase | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    The quote from C S Lewis in "Deeper"; "‘Then an experience that perhaps no good man can ever have in our world came over him – a torrent of perfectly unmixed and lawful hatred." To me, hatred is the big no-no of NT teaching. I can't perceive a "lawful hatred" scenario. Could I please have an elucidation of this concept? Thank you.

  • Jeff Fair | Thursday, 03 August 2017

    David - the phrase that came into my mind was 'God hates sin but loves the sinner'. Much of the challenge this week is about how we respond to the difficult situations. God's spirit enables us to overcome or shows us how to flee. But too often we try in our own power and end up accepting a sin because we love the sinner, so that our white becomes slightly grey.

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