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You're Gonna Need a Bigger Jesus

Wisdom as the Firstborn of Creation

Proverbs 8:22-26

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old. 

23 I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.

24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth; 

26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.


The book of Proverbs is filled with practical wisdom and knowledge, and it is easy to understand its use as an ancient textbook to teach young people. However, some passages are so wonderful that you can see the greatest mysteries of the universe unroll before your eyes. Here, in chapter 8, Solomon reveals Christ in all of His glory, from creation and the very foundations of the earth. 

The first nine chapters of Proverbs are the prologue of wisdom–the writings of Solomon himself as he lays out the wisdom of God that he has personally asked for and received. In chapter 8 he has re-introduced Lady Wisdom, the personification of the righteousness to which God calls His children. 

Lady Wisdom and her counterpart, Dame Folly (who is given voice once again in chapter 7), are not equals. Dame Folly’s destructive message may be her foil, but she does not poss the same power and authority. 

Unlike the message of eastern religions, or popular culture, you do not live in a world where good and evil struggle as equal opposites for power. This is not “Star Wars” where “balance” can be achieved, but a temporal world where heaven touches earth, and an eternal, holy God has walked its roads–and whose power over evil knows no end. 

Here in the middle of chapter 8, something remarkable happens. Wisdom has extolled her virtues and eternal appeal, and now she makes an astounding statement:

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.–Proverbs 8:22

Here is a passage that reveals wisdom’s origins directly from God from before the beginnings of time–before His work of creation. Commentator Bruce Waltke explains that the Hebrew קָ֭נָנִי (qanani) means “to possess” but here means “to beget.” Wisdom comes "organically from God’s essential being,” as he also states. Thus wisdom is given to those whom He loves. 

But this also points directly to the One who is the “wisdom of God,” the Firstborn of Creation: Jesus (Colossians 1:15). This passage not only reveals the origin if wisdom–it is a confirmation of the presence of Jesus at the very foundations of the universe. Solomon is revealing what others throughout scripture have confirmed. 

In the beginning was The Word… The beautiful poetry of the Incarnation in John 1:1-14 is a proclamation of Jesus, the Word of God in the beginning. The author of Hebrews–quite possibly Jesus’s own brother James–leads off his description of the “perfect high priest” as the One who was equal in power and glory with God and higher then men or angels:  

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.–Hebrews 1:1-4

The “various ways” that God spoke to His people over the ages included by His own voice, in dreams, visions, and prophets. He spoke through angels, signs–and even Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:21-38)! God’s message was perfection in the person of His Son.

The Son was not only born in a manger, grew up as a carpenter and became a rabbi, He has been present with His Father from all eternity, taking part in creation: 

10 And: 

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

11  They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;

12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.”–Hebrews 1:10-12

Hebrews here echoes wisdom’s claims as she continues in the next four verses:

23 I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.

24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;

26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.–Proverbs 8:22-26

 Jesus, God’s wisdom, is present from before the beginning. Images like “depths,” “mountains,” and “primal dust,” tell of His timelessness–His own authority over all of creation. Jesus not only demonstrates His power over creation by His miraculous works, He is the One who makes the “demons quake” (James 2:19).

The Apostle Paul tells the young, growing early church of this creation authority of Jesus: 

24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.–I Corinthians 1:24

And again later in the same letter:

yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.– I Corinthians 8:6 

All of this means that if Gods wisdom is Jesus, then you must understand the gospel in order to be wise. In your life you continually seek to do what is right, to live wisely. You know that this is more than simply knowing all of the facts, or gaining enough skills to move the levers of power in this world. Something more is needed. More than any degree, network connections, or hard-earned skills, you need the message of the cross and the presence of Jesus to truly guide you through.

In an essay on the Trinity, American Puritan preacher and revivalist Jonathan Edwards fixates on this aspect of Jesus, and the special place Proverbs 8 has in showing it:

Christ is called 'the wisdom of God.' If we are taught in the Scripture that Christ is the same with God's wisdom or knowledge, then it teaches us that He is the same with God's perfect and eternal idea. They are the same as we have already observed and I suppose none will deny. But Christ is said to be the wisdom of God (I Corinthians 1:24, Luke 11:49, compare with Matthew 23:34); and how much doth Christ speak in Proverbs under the name of Wisdom especially in the 8th chapter.". -Jonathan Edwards, “An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity” 

What does all of this mean for you? Does it stretch your imagination to think of Jesus, not just as a baby in a manger, but also authoring the world into which He is born? A mother, created by her own child? It’s a breathtaking mystery! You are not alone in being utterly fascinated by this. Puritan minister John Owen writes:

One thing is meant…by these expressions — Christ’s eternal and absolute immutable existence.…To emphasize God’s eternal nature in contrast with the world’s frailty and all of its creation, it is said that his years will never end. The world comes to an end but there is no end to Christ’s existence.–John Owen

God, in His eternal nature–Jesus, as eternal Son–is so much greater than anything in this world, any hardship…as well as any joy. What does this do for your concept of Him in your life? Is your view of Jesus big enough in your life? 

There is a humorous seen in the movie Jaws where the monster shark is finally revealed in all its terrifying size and threatening glory. Chief Brody is astonished at this realization, and in a state of shock declares to Quint, the captain, “you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Do you need a bigger Jesus in your life? Is your understanding of Him, your image of His power, big enough to address the problems in your life? Is your Jesus big enough to truly take care of you, to entrust all of your cares and worries to? Or is He somehow limited in your eyes? You love Jesus–but not quite enough to trust Him to give him the fear you have for your children. Jesus is great, and has done all those wonderful things in the Bible–but He is just not capable of helping you with your job, your marriage, your hopes?

What about when bad things do happen? Do you even blame Jesus for the troubles you experience? This is easy to do, given that life seems to only toss trouble your way. 

There is a scene in Shakespeare’s Henry V where the king dons a cloak and walks through the night encampment of his troops. He sits at a fire among several soldiers, who are unaware that their sovereign is present among them. They grumble and complain about the pending battle and one man, Michael Williams, lays the blame of any bloodshed at the feet of the king:

But if the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make… I am afeard there are few die well that die in battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the King that led them to it.... (Henry V, Act IV Scene 1)

Henry responds, of course, in a rebuke that earns William’s challenge to a duel of honor. They refrain until after the battle’s outcome, to settle the score then. Of course, the next day’s battle (Agincourt) is a tremendous victory–and Williams sees his king has not led him astray.

Do you see your King in this way? Jesus, the Lord of creation, has come to this camp and walks in your life. Do you limit His power to forgive, restore, and preserve you? He is creator of all things, for all eternity–and He is worthy of your faith and trust.   

I will leave you with Michael Card’s The Final Word, for Jesus is God’s final Word to you, who would die to make you His:

And so the light became alive
And manna became man
Eternity stepped into time
So we could understand

He spoke the incarnation and then so was born the Son
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one
Spoke flesh and blood, so He could bleed and make a way divine
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.–Michael Card, “The Final Word"



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:

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

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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