“Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you” (Proverbs 1:23).
The first step from foolishness to wisdom is to turn. Repentance is a turn. We should note the relationship between wisdom and reproof. There can be no learning, no instruction, without reproof. Indeed, “reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).
Wisdom is not merely a matter of the intellect; it is first a matter of the spirit. Before the words of wisdom can be received, the heart must be prepared by the Spirit of God.
My upcoming book tentatively titled The Holy Spirit: An Apostolic View of Pneumatology, has been edited. It should be published well before the 2020 general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International.
It took me about six months to write the book, which will contain about 180 pages. It was my goal to address every verse in the entire Bible that refers in any way to the Holy Spirit. The material below is a brief excerpt from the references to the Spirit in the Book of Proverbs.
The term my spirit appears once in the Book of Proverbs, the third book in the Writings. The proverbial spokesperson is wisdom, who “calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares . . . she speaks her words: ‘How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you’ ” (Proverbs 1:20–23, NKJV).
The promise to “pour out my spirit” is not unique here. The same language is used in Joel 2:28–29, the fulfillment of which is recorded in Acts 2:17–18. We may be tempted to dismiss any thought of a connection between Proverbs, Joel and Acts, but we should keep in mind that the Spirit of wisdom with which Joshua was filled is an attribute of the Spirit of the Lord. (See Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9; Isaiah 11:2.) Further, wisdom’s statement “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes” (Proverbs 1:26, NKJV) calls to mind the words of the messianic text of Psalm 2:4-5: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure” (NKJV).
To some, wisdom may seem an optional virtue. But the wisdom seen here in Proverbs is a reference to the Spirit of the Lord, spurned at risk by those who “hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:29, NKJV).
This opening reference to wisdom in Proverbs helps us explore the significance of wisdom’s involvement in creation, as found in Proverbs 8:22–31. When we think of the Spirit of wisdom as we read this text, new insights emerge. For example,
The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth . . . . When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman (Proverbs 8:22–23, 27–30, NKJV).
Looking again at Genesis 1:2, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (NKJV), the Book of Proverbs seems to offer a proverbial, expanded description of the events summarized in the second verse of Scripture. Wisdom was involved in creation because wisdom is an attribute of the Spirit of God.
With a backward glance, the singular reference to the pouring out of the Spirit in the Book of Proverbs links this book with the events of creation. With a forward look, it connects the Book of Proverbs with the events of Pentecost.
(c) 2020 by Daniel L. Segraves