Today we start chapter 8 of Proverbs. This chapter is all about the “Excellence of Wisdom.” It goes over the attributes of wisdom and the things that result from following Godly wisdom. There are many principles in this chapter that, if followed, will bring prosperity in body, soul and spirit, and it even speaks of the possibility of getting “wealth” as well. This is a totally uplifting chapter with only the final verse again stressing the warning of NOT following wisdom.
Proverbs 8: 1 - 3 (NKJV)
Proverbs 8: 1 - 3 (NKJV)
And understanding lift up her voice?
2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
Chapter 8 again portrays wisdom as a woman calling out to those who would listen to her. As we saw in chapter 7, foolishness was portrayed as an adulterous woman who leads into the “lusts of the flesh” and this contrasts with those verses.
Verses 1 and 2 portray the call of “Wisdom” as a call to an abundant life of God’s blessings. It is a call that God wants all of His people to listen to and follow. It is there… out in the open… in obvious places… loudly proclaiming itself to any that would open their hearts to God’s call upon their lives.
Verse 3 continues with this idea and is also based on the Jewish customs of the day where the older men would gather by the gates and in public places to discuss important matters. The young person that wanted to gain knowledge and understanding would be free to go to these places and sit and listen, or be taught, about important issues of life, area news, etc. from men that had lived long lives and gained knowledge and wisdom through those lives.
By the time they reached this age, especially in those days, only the wiser men would still be around to be at these discussions. The ones that hadn’t learned wisdom, would have died, been incarcerated, or wouldn’t be interested in speaking in a group such as this.
I think that having respect for older people that have lived much of their lives and come to a place of peace and comfort through following God was God’s original plan for young people to learn. The book of Timothy in the New Testament covers some of these areas. If we take the time to learn from older people that have lived through “youth’s mistakes,” learned from them, then went to God and found Him to be a forgiver of those sins and a lover of their souls, then we can avoid many of the pitfalls that they have gone through.
In previous chapters and verses, we have seen that God’s plan was that parents started their children out young, teaching them at home to have respect for their elders, and guiding them to wise, interesting people of God. A young person that is taught that kind of love and respect from a young age, will tend to gravitate toward wise, older people throughout their lives. That would be what God would want for us as parents of very young children. Once they hit adolescence, it is much harder for them to talk to their own parents, but if they have been taught properly, through this principle, then they will gravitate toward other older people that they have grown to trust.
If we are older, now, ourselves, then we need to take the time to sit with younger people and share, WHEN THEY ask for advice or want to talk. Wisdom can’t be pushed on another, but it can be shared. These men, which sat at the gates, were available. They didn’t go out seeking and chasing down young people to preach at them.