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The Call of Wisdom
Proverbs 1:20-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the public squares she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she utters her sayings:
Solomon makes known just how dangerous it is to listen to the temptations of Satan, how dangerous it is not to listen to the Word of God, which we should never neglect.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street. The wisdom of God is infinite. (Eph. 3:10) God has spoken to us through his Word of God, and in every word, we find counsel. Humans were blessed by God with human understanding, which is an aspect of wisdom. Understanding (בִּין bin; בּוּנָה Bunah) is the ability to see how the parts or aspects of something are connected to one another. One who understands can see the big picture (the entire matter) and not just the isolated facts. (Prov. 2:5; 9:10; 18:15) Wisdom: (חָכְמָה chokmah; σοφία sophia) is sound judgment, based on knowledge and understanding. It is the balanced application of that knowledge to answer difficulties, achieve objectives, sidestep or ward off dangers, and help others accomplish the same. The wise person is often contrasted with the foolishness or stupid person. Wisdom can understand and then act wisely and so have skill in living, adhering to the standards set out in the Word of God. Wisdom belongs to the person who has accumulated knowledge or intellect or enlightenment. It is the balanced application of that knowledge to answer difficulties, achieve objectives, sidestep, or ward off dangers, not to mention helping others to accomplish the same. The wise person is often contrasted with the foolishness or stupid person. – Deut. 4:6; 1Ki 5:9; Deut. 32:6; Prov. 11:29; Eccles. 6:8; Col. 1:28; 4:5.
God has given us the powers and faculties of reason and the Christian conscience, Job 38:36. It is through these that he speaks to us and reasons with us. God gave us a mind, the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, the ability to think and feel, the faculty of consciousness and thought. The common phrase in the Bible, “whosoever has ears to hear may hear,” means that all humans are welcome to take advantage of the Word of God and to heed its counsel. God is desirous to be heard and regarded, so he has blessed his humans with the opportunity of being his official messengers bringing good news.
In ancient Israel, you can hear ‘wisdom calling out urgently in the streets, raising her voice in the squares.’ Then, the older men of Israel were the ones looked to for their wise counsel and the just decision-making skills, and these were passed on at the city gates. Wisdom confronts learners by moving into the most public areas of the city, the city gates, and noisy streets, addressing those who pass by. Personified wisdom is figuratively referred to by a feminine personal pronoun, “she.” wisdom, in this context, “calls out to,” to get the attention of people, takes on the role of a teacher instructing in such public places as the city gate, the streets, and the public square, which establishes the importance of what she has to say. She cries aloud, raises her voice (“gives her voice” and “makes her voice heard”) so that everyone can hear her. Unlike the scholars of her day, she does not stay in the quiet halls to utter her sayings. When one fails in life for lack of wisdom, they cannot ever claim that wisdom is inaccessible. She does not wait for students to come to her. She takes the initiative to offer her message to all.
“The entrance of the city gates” was where legal and other important public matters were handled; this “is [also where] she utters her sayings.” The message that wisdom has to offer is a matter of life and death, which is why it is taken publicly so that all have an opportunity to hear whether they heed it or not. In this judgment message, she is trying to make those who pass by wake up to the times so that anyone who hears her will hopefully realize the seriousness of what they are up against. However, in the end, she focuses her attention on those who are receptive to the message and willing to listen. (1:33) Today, we have 66 smaller books that had been written by forty-plus men over 1,600 years, becoming one book once they were all brought together, which has been handed down to us as the Word of God. Today, we are obligated to be the wise ones to the world of humankind, who is alienated from God. Jesus commands us to ‘go and make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe everything Jesus commanded us.’ – Matthew 28:19-20.