Season After Pentecost (Proper 19[24]) – The Old Testament Passage: The Voice of Wisdom

Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20 – 22)

“Wisdom” – that is, true wisdom and not the book knowledge that suffices in the minds of many – is not sweet and nice. It is hard and unyielding. It holds up a mirror to the folly of this world and shows it the consequences of unwise and foolish actions. No one, that is no one! (Not even me!) No one is immune to committing acts of folly and being reprimanded by wisdom!

“Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.” (Verses 23 – 27)

Now let me hasten to say several things. First, the writer(s) of the book(s) of Proverbs did not know about panic/anxiety attacks. Those severe attacks do not come because of lack of wisdom and folly. They come for other sources, and it is those types of “demon” attacks that Jesus healed. And it is actually wisdom with her gentle words that calms those attacks – not with discipline, education, and reproof but with comfort and consolation. Wisdom says you are not alone, and that these shades and shadows will pass. It is those who have been shown the correct way but consciously take the wrong way that wisdom holds up to ridicule.

Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices.” (Verses 28 – 31)

The date that this post appears is the date seventeen years ago that the folly of many was rained down on the innocent. For several years I have not given credence and notice to this anniversary. I have wanted desperately for it to become just another day in autumn. We do no service to those who suffered and died by pointing out the faults and shortcomings of others. Nor do we honor them by parading out military might and political ideologies.

“For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.” (Verses 32 – 33)

I would pray, beloved reader, that you would be wise. That gentleness and the concern for others would inform you of what is best to do. And that the example of our Lord God Jesus Christ would instruct you in all situations. May you be wise, beloved reader, and may shalom be your watch word. Selah!

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