Lady Wisdom’s Unheeded Call

I’ve been reading a bit lately about a subject I don’t hear much about these days–wisdom. My hunch is that we don’t like this idea of wisdom because it seems to suggest that there are ideas of how to live well that are already “out there”–that might have a certain “fixed” quality about them that aren’t subject to our own “make it up as we go” kind of life. It seems to me these days that our preferred method of gaining wisdom, if we care about this at all, is learning from our mistakes. And I have a hunch that many of us do learn this way (I have) and yet it seems that this way is fraught with lots of pain for not only ourselves, but that it leads to inflicting pain on those around us. And sometimes, we don’t live to profit from the lessons–we are merely an object lesson for others. Is there a better way?

Hear my son

One of the books I’ve been reading recently is Hear, My Son by Daniel J. Estes, which looks at the first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs. One of the interesting truths that it has reminded me of is the notion that there is a certain wisdom and order that has been woven into the fabric of creation.

“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,and the clouds let drop the dew.” (Proverbs 3:19-20, NIV)

Wisdom tells us that despite how “empowering” it was for Thelma and Louise to drive over a cliff into the Grand Canyon, that this all would end very badly.

Thelma and Louise

It is often times not nearly as dramatic. The laziness that fails to clean out a gutter leads to overflows that damage walls and structures. Water has to go somewhere! The neglect of sleep and the abuse of my body lead to illness and other physical problems. Pulling nutrients out of the earth without replacing them depletes soils and makes good land useless until replenished.

A teacher observed to me once that we not so much break God’s laws as break ourselves against them. And as I think about it, I’m struck that such “wisdom” may be the Creator’s gracious means to save us a good deal of pain in life, rather than a mean-spirited attempt to take all the fun out of life.

I think where this is really hard for me is my own self-will. I want to live life in the words of Frank Sinatra, “my way”. Even though Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8 makes a compelling case, it is often my own self-willed notion that I know better that closes my ear to her voice, even though her pleas come with promises of blessing:

“Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 8:34:35, NIV).

The last word in this quote is the hardest for me, even though I believe in God and have followed Christ for many years. While I don’t mind someone watching over and helping me when I’m sick, or needy, or in trouble, the truth is most of the time, I don’t want God’s help or even to admit that my life is being lived before someone who can be called “Lord.” Yet Proverbs suggests that this is the most profound wisdom of all, foundational to everything else:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV)

Some fears are healthy. Proverbs says that the recognition that my life is lived for God is actually a healthy fear. I think how that works for me is that it leads me to cry for God’s help to live wisely before him in all the nooks, crannies, and crevices of my life. Everything matters, and God would spare us unneeded pain–there is plenty of pain without that which we bring on ourselves. If there is a choice between living well and making life hard–do I really want the latter? Better to listen for the voice of Lady Wisdom…

5 thoughts on “Lady Wisdom’s Unheeded Call

  1. Guilty as charged, living the life much more akin to Frank Sinatra’s song than God’s Word and Wisdom. I remember reading an article recently stating that we really don’t learn from our mistakes, that most learning occurs after victory. Hence, following Wisdom’s advice makes much sense… if only we would.

  2. Pingback: Wisdom not hard to find nor hiding in remote places | From guestwriters

  3. Dear Bob, thank you for coming along the “guestwriters” (http://fromguestwriters.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/wisdom-not-hard-to-find-nor-hiding-in-remote-places/) and asking me to give a comment hear.

    I do believe that when god created everything, He provided man with enough wisdom. God also gave man the task to take care of the world and to name things. To be able to do that he did need to have enough wisdom. Man could also recognise the certain wisdom and order that has been woven into the fabric of creation. But by doubting the right of God to know everything and to be in charge of everything, man got to know “good” and “bad” but also lost a lot of the innocent thoughts and shame and fear entered in his life-world.

    Man at first only broke God Laws, but then started loosing faith in “man” itself and by doing so doubt became more part of his life and insecurity made him less aware of certain things and less able to take in knowledge. His time of living reduced and more and more impurities entered his life, making him more and more imperfect.

    In history we can see that man his life shortened but also that they started doing more absurdities. They also wanted to be more dependent on others and on other things so that they lost a lot of capabilities. Some populations kept on training for a long time their special gifts like tracking (or tracing), recognising how the weather would be, etc.. Today most lean onto modern gadgets which have taken over of mind.

    Would we not all live our own way? How much do we want to rely on others? How much knowledge de we want to accept from others? How many people do not think they know better?

    the majority of the population distanced themselves from their Maker and are not willing to listen to His advice which makes that a lot of knowledge necessary to have a good living is not given to them.

    Christians should come to recognise the many blessings which come already to them in this lifetime, because they are willing to listen to the Words of God. In them there is so much knowledge or wisdom that we even can not cope with it all. Though if we are wiling to study the Bible regularly and regularly spend time to that Word of God, we shall receive more and more necessary knowledge to make a better life for ourselves.

    Following Christ should enhance following his will and giving ourselves totally in the hands of his Father, like Christ himself has given himself totally to his Father, not doing his own will (the will of Jesus/Jeshua), but doing the Will of God (the Only One God Jehovah). this God can not be bribed by offers, money or an amount of repeated words in prayers. God knwos our heart, and knows what is best for us. We can ask Him for things, but we best let Him know that we would not mind to have it “His Way”, instead of “our way”.

    By following the Wisdom of God and by adhering to His Will we shall be able to bear the pain the world brings over us, and we shall be able to grow and to get more wisdom ourselves. And in the love of Christ we should be pleased we can receive such wisdom and share it with others so that we can help each other to grow, in the name of Jesus Christ.

  4. Sorry Bob, the thanks were also for you, but it was not you who asked me to give an additional comment and the link to my article, on ‘his site’. I do hope you do not mind that I added the link and extra comment on your site?

    – That are the things of disturbed or absent minded professors and perhaps age?! –

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