Going Deeper 6-11-19

The first reading for Trinity Sunday...
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31   Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?   On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out: "To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live. ... The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth— when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world's first bits of soil.  When he 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 worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.

This reading, depicting Wisdom as a woman calling out "to all that live", follows right after a similar description of a counter-voice also calling out to all, only with an invitation to foolishness.  Both voices are clear and alluring.  But one leads to chaos and destruction, the other to a flourishing life.

This is a consistent theme throughout the book of Proverbs, part of the "Wisdom Literature" section of the Old Testament.  Both Widsom and Foolishness are personified, and both call out to all to with invitations to follow them.  The wise person obviously and intentionally seeks to follow and live according to the ways of wisdom.  The fool follows foolishness to his own destruction.

Makes sense.  But we have a two-fold problem.  First, because of our broken nature, we are too weak to follow in the ways of wisdom... at least if left to our own devices.  This leaves us in need of two vital gifts-- grace and the Holy Spirit.  Grace covers our sinful foolishness, and the Holy Spirit calls and strengthens us in our pursuit of wisdom.

The second problem (which is tied closely to the first) is that there continue to be conflicting voices calling out to us, compelling and alluring voices.  Conflicting and confusing voices.  How do we know which voice is wisdom?  Again we need help, and again the help we need and receive is the Holy Spirit.  And the Spirit points us to-- and connects us with-- the true personification of wisdom:  Jesus the Christ.

In response to grace, and in the strength of the Spirit, we seek to hear and follow Jesus, and to live our lives according to the example He set.  God does not force us to listen or to follow.  But the truth is, the more we live according to the ways of Jesus, the happier and more fulfilling our lives will become.  This is the way of wisdom.  Listen, and live life to the fullest!!

With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."