Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Proverbs 1-9|
Ch.8 & 9
Chapter: Proverbs 8
Passage: Proverbs 8:1-13
A. Find out :
1. What does Solomon start by saying about wisdom? v.1-3
2. To whom does he envisage wisdom speaking? v.4,5
3. What does wisdom say about what she speaks? v.6-8
4. Who receives them, so what should we do? v.9-11
5. What are the friends of wisdom? v.12
6. What are the enemies of wisdom? v.13
In this chapter Solomon personifies wisdom, even as he did earlier (1:20-33). He envisages wisdom calling out at different key places in life – at times of great experiences (on the heights), at places of decision (where paths meet), at the places of authority (the gates of the city where the rulers sat). It challenges those who are simple and foolish to learn and to change. It declares it's own integrity – wisdom is true (v.7), just (v.8) and right (v.9), so we should seek it more than riches.
Then he imagines wisdom identifying those with whom it is friends (v.12) – prudence (wise, insightful awareness that discerns coming evil and shies away from it), knowledge (awareness of the facts or truth), discretion (wise discernment in decision making, like prudence that shies away from evil).
Opposite these are the enemies of wisdom (v.13) – pride (that foolish elevating of self), arrogance (that proud stance that opposes others), evil behaviour (all kinds of wrong acts), and perverse speech (words that are deceptive, untruthful, that twist and distort).
When you study these two groups of words, how can any person in their right mind decry the first group and extol the second group? How can anyone not seek for wisdom and its friends and flee from the second unholy group? Reread these words, meditate upon them and make decisions in your life based on them!
Chapter: Proverbs 8
Passage: Proverbs 8:14-36
A. Find out :
1. Who make use of wisdom? v.15,16
2. What does wisdom claim are fruits of knowing it? v.17-21
3. When was “wisdom” brought into being? v.22-26
4. Where was he? v.27-29
5. What was wisdom doing? v.30,31
6. So who is blessed, and why? v.32-36
We have taken this large passage as one because it gives such a breadth which needs seeing in one sweep. First, wisdom claims to be used by those in a position of authority (v.14-16). They need wisdom!
Second, wisdom claims to be benign, one who brings all good things to those who follow him. There is a clear claim that riches come with wisdom (v.18,21). Solomon had proved that truth.
Third, he claims to have existed, in fact come into being, before all other things were created (v.22-26). In other words, wisdom personified claims to have been there at the very beginning with God before anything else came into being. This is similar to John 1:1-3, the Word who was from the beginning, being with God but actually being God. This speaks of Jesus, the Son who always has been.
Fourth, he explains how he was there with the Father at the beginning when He was bringing all things into being (v.27-29). He claims to have been part of that process (v.30). Jesus was working with the Father to bring the world into being.
Finally, wisdom declares that blessed is the man who listens to him, and all who reject him will bring harm and death to themselves. Perhaps this is obvious but those who listen to Jesus and follow him will be blessed with all good things, for he alone is the bringer of all good things.
Chapter: Proverbs 9
Passage: Proverbs 9:1-12
A. Find out :
1. How does Solomon now envisage wisdom and doing what? v.1-6
2. What does he say will happen if you correct a mocker? v.7,8a
3. With whom and how does he contrast this? v.8b,9
4. What again does he declare is the beginning of wisdom? v.10
5. What does he say will be the fruit of knowing wisdom? v.11
6. How does he contrast wisdom and mockery? v.12
In chapter 8, in verses 1-11 wisdom is portrayed as ‘she' calling to the world to listen. In verses 12-21 she is impersonal, saying what she is like and what she does. In v.22-31 wisdom speaks from the ‘I' perspective as the one who was with God creating the world, and in v.32-36 wisdom impersonally calls for us to listen.
Now in 9:1-6 Solomon portrays wisdom as a woman again, but now as one who has established her home and now invites the simple in heart to come, eat, drink and learn. In these various ways he uses different forms of personification to express truths about wisdom, while at the same time bringing amazing revelation about Creation.
As an extension of his thoughts about wisdom, Solomon then uses the ‘mocker' to contrast with wisdom. A mocker is someone who not only doesn't believe in God but derides others for so doing. Solomon declares that a healthy respect for God is the beginning of wisdom (v.10) but a mocker or wicked person is far from this. If you try to correct a mocker they only get more set in their way. It is a heart condition! They will abuse you! The wise, on the other hand, learn from reproof and will appreciate your correction. The wise will be rewarded by wisdom and will find long life. Wisdom is found by the person who puts God first and seeks after good. The mocker rejects God and rejects good.
Chapter: Proverbs 9
Passage: Proverbs 9:13-18
A. Find out :
1. How does Solomon now portray folly & what is she like? v.13
2. Where does he envisage her? v.14
3. What is she doing? v. 15
4. Who is she enticing? v.16
5. How does she entice? v.17
6. But what is the reality? v.18
Folly means stupidity. Solomon, having portrayed wisdom as a woman, he now does the same with stupidity (v.13). He says stupidity is loud and noisy, unrestrained and ignorant. So, let's be clear about this: a stupid man or woman tends to show these signs – they tend to be loud, all over the place and unknowing. Stupidity likes to gather similar minded people (v.14,15). Stupidity says be simple and straight forward; don't be an intellectual, a thinker (v.16). Stupidity makes a virtue out of a vice.
But Solomon is quite clear about people who listen to this sort of stupidity, they lack judgement (v.16), they are unable to discern between truth and lies, between wisdom and stupidity.
Because of this such people are vulnerable to temptation (v.17) to the call that says, “Let's do what these pious people say we shouldn't, it's fun!” There is excitement in doing the forbidden, that's how many fall prey to illicit sexual relationships, because of the buzz they get from it. But it is total deception for the outcome is death (v.18). The further you go into the way of stupidity, the further you move towards and into death – spiritual and soon physical.
It is significant that as Solomon comes to the end of these nine chapters about wisdom and right living, he ends it with such a strong warning against stupidity. Stupidity is the opposite of wisdom and it will entice the unthinking and lead to death. That is the warning!
RECAP - "Wisdom Personified" - Proverbs 8 & 9
In this final group of 4 studies we have seen Solomon speaking of :
In these two chapters Solomon uses personification to paint further pictures about wisdom. Wisdom, he says, is like a woman who we encounter all over the place in life, calling to us to listen to her. Her words are true and are of immense value. Wisdom keeps the company of prudence, knowledge and discretion and is used by wise rulers. When we attend to wisdom we find an abundance of richness in life. Wisdom, after all, existed with the Father before he made the word, and worked with Him in creating the world. Wisdom is in fact, the expression of the Son to us. We would therefore do well to listen to him.
Wisdom is also pictured as a woman who calls us to eat of her goodness. She is contrasted with the mocker and with folly who are abusive and deceptive. There is n doubt about it; if we take seriously the pictures that Solomon paints for us, we know who it is we should follow!
1. Wisdom calls us to learn in every aspect of life.
2. Wisdom is of immense value.
3. Wisdom is needed by leaders
4. Wisdom is Jesus expressed.
5. Wisdom invites us to eat of her and learn.
6. A mocker is to be avoided as is a man or woman of folly.
Ask the Lord to teach you to be wise. recognise where you need help in life and ask the Lord for His wisdom (James 1:5).
In these studies we have seen:
1. "Introduction & Warning" Proverbs 1
2. "Conditions / Benefits of Wisdom" Proverbs 2
3. "More Benefits of Wisdom" Proverbs 3
4. "The Supremacy of Wisdom" Proverbs 4
5. "Expanded Warnings" Proverbs 5-7
6. "Wisdom Personified" Proverbs 8 & 9
As we come to the end of this set of studies, the following may be some of the particular facets of Solomon's teaching of which we might wish to take particular note:
The Call of a Father
Like a good teacher, Solomon relies heavily on repetition. A number of times we find him calling to his son(s) to listen to his instruction (1:8, 3:1, 4;1,10,20, 5:1,7, 6:20 , 7:1,24, 8:32 ). He comes as an anxious father exhorting us to take notice of what he is saying. There is an urgency in his concern and his calls, and if the wisest man in all the earth felt this, we ought to listen!
Rightly relating to God
Similarly we find a number of times he links wisdom with the ‘fear of the Lord', that awesome respect of God (1:7, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13, 9:10). The Lord is seen as the giver of wisdom (2:6) and wisdom is seen as rightly relating to God (3:3-12,26,33), and there is the reminder that the Lord sees all we do ( 6:21 ). Wisdom was also at the heart of the Creation (3:19,20, 8;27-31). Wisdom therefore is a right working out of our relationship with the Lord, as we receive from Him, and is vital to it. For us it is the “knowing how to live” dimension of that relationship. We need to follow it.
The Temptation of the Sensual
Solomon is very much aware of the lure of the desire for sensual pleasure, (more often illicit sensual desire) and so quite a large part of these chapters is given over to warnings against falling into adultery which is folly. If we learn wisdom and build it into our lives, it will help us stand against such folly, especially in such days where Western society has abandoned all sensibility. Here is vital teaching to be heeded.
The Benefits of Wisdom
Seeking and responding to wisdom is at the heart of these chapters and again and again Solomon has given us many reasons why we need to do this. Some of them are negative but many of them are positive. In fact, in the light of all his teaching, we might suggest that one has to be stupid not to seek out wisdom!
Wisdom acts as a protection (2:11-), will bring long life & prosperity (3:1,2-, 8:18 -21, 9:11), security (3:23 -26), will keep you from temptation (5:5:1-3), will act as guidance (6:22), and will help leaders lead (8:15,16). Run through this list of benefits again and then consider: dare we live our lives without the wisdom that comes from the Lord? No!
If you have the time, sit down some time and read out loud straight through these first 9 chapters of this book. As you do so, you will sense afresh the impact of the teaching of this man who received this gift of wisdom from God, and then sense again the awe of God who has designed and made us to live in particular ways, and you will want to seek out those ways more carefully as a result. In such a way He will be glorified and you will be blessed.