Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
I love that wisdom is a Woman.
It’s an interesting characterization of the beliefs of the time that poetically something that was a greatly to be desired possession, yet unpossessible would be personified by a woman.
The reality is the same for folly.
Also represented as a woman in the proverbs; also desirable and something which we seek after.
Wisdom and folly are the polarized halves of our choices.
The suggestion from the texts in proverbs is that we search out both wisdom or folly in our life, but the former is only found by holding to the sound teaching of those who have come before us. Folly will be found as we search on our own.
This seems like a strong warning for our culture of “listen to your heart” and “trust yourself” when that may actually be the path of destruction. We have so many teachers. Yet, true wisdom is the best. In Psalm 111:10 it says,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
Age and Wisdom
It’s interesting to be in my 30s.
I remember my teens when I felt that I knew enough of life to know my own mind.
I remember my 20s when I forged a way for myself in the direction wisdom pointed, in my own great esteem of myself. The best lessons of my own weaknesses were learned in this time of risk taking.
Now that I’m 30 not a lot has changed, but some has. I feel the weight of how little I still know. I know the depth of risk I take in making decisions based on the limited information I have gathered in my short years on this earth. Yet, I also see the beauty of the working of the Lord in those things that I don’t have the wisdom to actually be deciding for myself (and now others).
I have a clearer picture every year of what wisdom is and look forward to year 65 of going after wisdom.
I also can see why scripture says grey hair is a crown. A sign of the years you have learned.
The Woman: Wisdom
I have to admit that wisdom being a woman doesn’t do for me what it would have done for the young man Solomon would have been talking to. Or what it did for him as David related it to him. But I can understand what it is to be a desired woman, and what it would look like to be wisdom sought out. So, I will continue to pursue her for my years to come, and will learn to love her as the lovely mystery she is.
Oh, and read a lot more proverbs.