Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Lady Wisdom

She pity the fool

Proverbs 1:20-22

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.

21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:

22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.

Proverbs 8:1-4

1 Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?

She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.

She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:

“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.

 

If you have raised–or are currently raising–young people then you can realize the importance and usefulness of the book of Proverbs. Even if you are not yet blessed with those smaller, more electronically adept versions of yourself and your spouse, you were a young person yourself in years past and the value of the book is not lost on you.

Proverbs as an instruction manual for young believers is part of the design of the book (Proverbs 1:2). The author Solomon–through the power of the Holy Spirit–has made use of the gift of Wisdom given to him by God in I Kings 3 by providing this guide to life for use by parents and in the academies of ancient Israel. 

He has placed in your hands one of the most remarkable books of the Bible. It is not only the wealth of the wisdom of a king but also a compilation of other ancient wisdom–all under one cover and there for the taking for young believers. 

And boy, do they need it. 

The problem with being a young person today is that adults simply cannot tell them anything. Face it, as an adult you are boring, out of style and  hopelessly “uncool.” Anything you say and do appears to them like the unintelligible grunts of a lumbering dinosaur. 

As a parent, when I attempt share a nugget of personal wisdom with my teenaged sons, I somehow appear to be lecturing them–or “monologuing” like a Bond villain revealing his nefarious plans:


Bond: “So, do you expect me to talk?”
Dadfinger: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to take out the trash.”

I finally understand why Charlie Brown’s teacher sounds that way. “Sure, kids, roll your eyes now, but ONE DAY you will thank me,” I say, as they suddenly find a wad of lint on their sleeve more fascinating that the buzzing sound my voice is making in their ears.

There is a quote that is often attributed to humorist Mark Twain:

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. - Mark Twain

Kids. You cannot teach them anything.

Well, God, Solomon, and the Holy Spirit have other plans.

Enter, Lady Wisdom–one of the most fascinating characters in all of scripture:

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.

21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city–Proverbs 1:20-21a

Solomon, in his wisdom, understands how the mind of a young person–particularly a young man–works. Proverbs 1:8-19, and again in chapter 8, he shares the words of a father giving instructions to his son and now he puts a face on his words of wisdom. A beautiful face.

He knows that a young man smitten with a young lady will think of nothing but her. You know this to be true in your own experience. Even a quiet, shy boy can become smitten–for it is not only the bold and loud who fall in love. As the poet said:


“I don't believe in magic," 
the young boy said. 
The old man smiled, 
"You will when you see her.” ― Atticus

A young man in love can be driven to distraction by a girl–and even by the mere thought of the possibility that a girl likes him. This infatuation knows no social or economic boundary:

I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, - and the stars through his soul.–Victor Hugo

Lady Wisdom is more than just a clever way to get students to pay attention in class–she is the voice of the wisdom of the Lord. This is also not restricted to young men alone. 

Lady Wisdom finds her kinship with other women of the Bible: Esther, the wise queen. Ruth, the faithful daughter-in-law and wife. Deborah, Judge of Israel. Mary, chosen of God–whom when she learned the wonderful news that the would bear God’s son sang her humble and beautiful magnificat: “My soul doth magnify the Lord…”

Wisdom is meant for men and women, boys and girls. As Lady Wisdom is prized as a young man’s desire, so too should a young lady seek to be her all respects.  

What is the message of Lady Wisdom? We see in verse 20 that she takes a prominent place and calls aloud “outside,” in the “open squares” and the “public concourses.” This means that the wisdom of the Lord is not hidden or some mysterious key of knowledge that requires elaborate skill or great effort to know. God makes His word plain for all to hear–and thanks to modern technology, available in any form or media.

Why does she cry out? If you have taught young people or can recall your own childhood, then you know that the availability of knowledge and wisdom does not meant that it will be readily learned.

As a Christian parent do you find it difficult to encourage your children to read the Bible, to pray or even to participate in worship? All parents can go through degrees of this and sometimes you may feel frantic in your efforts. 

My own sons have bibles, devotionals, videos, comic books and a very active church youth group.  Yet, my wife and I continually remind them to read and study God’s word on their own–and sometimes dynamite is needed to get them out of bed for church on Sunday morning. 

This is why parents are tempted to “shop” for churches to find one that has the best youth group or an active youth program–no matter if the theology or preaching may be unsound. Likewise, church leaders are burdened to make drastic changes to cater to younger generations or to attract young families–even at the expense of tradition or other generations of the faithful. 

The reality is that there is no trick, no special program, and no gimmick required. Proverbs shows you that the wisdom of the word of God alone is sufficient and available for the taking. 

And so Lady Wisdom cries out, for there is no excuse in any generation for people of any age not to heed her call. Her message is basic and crosses all generational lines. Though meant for the education of young men–a message from fathers to sons, and mothers to daughters–the wisdom of God through Proverbs is for all ages:

22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.–Proverbs 1:22

She is calling out to “simple ones.” The Hebrew is פְּתָיִם֮ (petayim) meaning “naive.” These are the easily influenced–like young people. It is amazing that a creature so stubborn and intransigent as a teenager asked to do a chore he does not wish to do can be willingly be led by the nose by the latest social trend. 

When you are simple, you are prone to bend and sway in the philosophical breeze. This, says Lady Wisdom, is because you love it. One reason you most often struggle with particular sins or problems in life is that deep down you may not want to see them conquered. 

Lady Wisdom calls out to “scorners” (also translated “scoffers”) who enjoy the power of their mockery. You know what it is like to experience social pressure to like or dislike someone or some thing simply because your friends share these opinions. Young people can be susceptible to this–and so can adults. 

Today the “seat of scoffers” described in Psalm 1 is often a digital seat of online comment and conversation. Politics, opinion, habits and behavior can be dictated by online “likes,” “retweets,” and viral posts. 

Finally, Lady Wisdom challenges the “fool,” those who do not wish to learn at all–who think they have no need for God’s wisdom. Their fate is destruction–along with all those whom they lead astray:

32  For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them–Proverbs 1:32

It can be a challenge to convince a young believer that the way of the world is foolish, especially when so many of their friends and influencers can pull them in the opposite direction. The Rev. Al Martin knows the stakes:

I would far rather be thought a fool by someone who has never considered the powers of the world to come. I would far rather be thought demented by someone who’s never felt the pains of spiritual realities, than to be thought a nice prim and proper preacher.–Al Martin

This is the wisdom found in Michael Card’s “God’s Own Fool:”

When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong –Michael Card “God’s Own Fool”

Herein lies the key to leading young believers–and all believers–to heed the call of Lady Wisdom: for her call is the call of Christ. For it is Jesus who is the true personification of wisdom:

30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption–I Corinthians 1:30

 As a believer, how you live matters to the young people under your care. What sins do you struggle with? Are you honest about them or do you seek to hide your failings or pretend that you have no problems? “Do as I say, not as I do,” may be a popular joke in parenting but it is not holy living. 

Your children will see and know how to live and function as believers in this world as they see you in your walk with Christ. More importantly, walk with your children in their young faith. 

This may mean asking tough questions or even hearing answers you do not like. You must lift them up in prayer–and pray with them when you can. Repent of your sins openly, and call on them to repent of theirs. You may not always be “successful” in getting them to follow–but like Christ with His wayward disciples, you pray for God’s grace and patience along the way. 

So pursue Lady Wisdom on your own, and call your children to follow. Seek her wisdom with the passion of a young man in love. Of course, the classic Elvis Presley ballad captures this well:


…Wise men say
Only fools, only fools rush in
Oh, but I, but I, I can't help falling in love with you

Do not be the fool that Lady Wisdom warns against destruction, but be a fool for Christ– other generations depend on it. 

 

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The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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