Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favour from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death. Proverbs 8.34-36.
Who is the speaker of these words in this morning’s reading? She is Wisdom. “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence …” (Proverbs 8.12). They sound like two sisters, don’t they, but it is in fact only Wisdom whom scripture personifies. And the personification is startlingly extensive. Wisdom says: “When God established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. (Proverbs 8.27-31).
Who could this Wisdom be? It’s not a difficult question, is it? Is not Wisdom the same one of whom John said: “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1.3) and of whom Paul said: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1.15-17)? Is not the Wisdom who appears in Proverbs none other than the Lord Jesus Christ? Indeed he is, for Paul actually refers to him as “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1.24).
So how lovely and how moving to look back to the beginning of Proverbs 8 in the light of that. “Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand” (Proverbs 8.1-2). The picture is one of a lonely, solitary figure, largely unheeded, crying out to those who persist in going in the wrong direction, calling on them to choose the pathway of salvation — a lonely, solitary figure that, for me, can be no other than Jesus … Christ crucified. Calvary is the real cross-roads … the place of choice and decision. The Cross is “the heights besides the way;” and it is from that cross that the bleeding, dying, rejected Wisdom of God still calls … still offers “life” and “favour from the LORD.”
“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors …”