Wisdom 18

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, And your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me” (Proverbs 1:24-28).

Wisdom has made every effort to attract the attention of people. But many place no value on her counsel; they refuse to accept her reproof. Because they have rejected her and the principles she would have taught them, she is powerless to help them in their time of trouble.

Wisdom’s laughter and mocking at the calamity of those who reject her is not the expression of a perverse desire to utter the final, cosmic, “I told you so.” It is, rather, a way of saying that those who reject wisdom will remember her voice; they will recall her invitation, an invitation that if accepted would have spared them from desolation, destruction, distress, and anguish. The wisdom they rejected will mock them. The people who reject wisdom will discover — when they finally decide they need it — that it is too late.

It is not that wisdom obtains perverse pleasure from watching her enemies suffer; it is simply because wisdom cannot be obtained in a moment of time. It cannot be grabbed on the run. It comes as the result of a committed, diligent, faithful, lifelong pursuit.

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Wisdom 17 [and a brief excerpt from my upcoming volume on the Holy Spirit].

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.

Summary

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

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Daily Wisdom 15

Wisdom crieth without; She uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: In the city she uttereth her words, saying” (Proverbs 1:20-21).

Two women are pictured in Proverbs: wisdom and folly. Wisdom does not play hard to get. Even in the streets, where common people jostle, her voice is heard. She is not available only beneath the high-vaulted ceilings of research libraries or in the conclave of scholars. She is available for all.

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Wisdom 16

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22).

Wisdom asks, “Why stay where you are? Why not grow? Why not learn? Do you plan for the rest of your life to be an aimless repeat of what has gone before? Why not change?”

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Daily Wisdom 14

“So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; Which taketh away the life of the owners thereof” (Proverbs 1:19).

There is nothing inherently evil about money. But there is something desperately wrong with greed. The person who is motivated by greed will find that it exacts its pound of flesh. Greed’s currency is the life of the person who practices it.

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches (Proverbs 13:7).

Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: But he that gathereth by labour shall increase (Proverbs 13:11).

Labour not to be rich: Cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away as an eagle toward heaven (Proverbs 23:4-5).

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (I Timothy 6:7-10).

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Daily Wisdom 13

For their feet run to evil, And make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; They lurk privily for their own lives” (Proverbs 1:16-18).

Sinners condemn themselves by their sins; they bring judgment upon themselves by their own actions. This will certainly be evident at the last judgment, and it is often apparent in this life. Even a bird knows to avoid a net spread while it watches, but sinners do not seem to realize their own actions will condemn them.

The wisdom of the Golden Rule is evident in that people frequently are the recipients of the same kind of treatment they give others.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12).

The person who digs a pit for his enemy will fall in it himself

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: And he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him (Proverbs 26:27).

The story of Mordecai and Haman is a classic example. Haman was hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.

Not only is it unwise to initiate evil; it is also foolish to repay evil with evil.

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not (Romans 12:14).

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

It is a simple matter to know how to treat others: we should ask: “How do I want to be treated?”

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Daily Wisdom 12

My son, walk not thou in the way with them; Refrain thy foot from their path” (Proverbs 1:15).

In words reminiscent of Psalm 1:1, Solomon warns his son not to participate with sinners in their sin. We should not even set our foot on the wrong path they are taking. If we do, we run the risk of being guilty by association. There is also the danger that familiarity will result  in a relaxed attitude toward destructive behavior.

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A good idea for use when socially distanced.

I applaud the churches and individuals who are finding ways to spread the gospel and to continue ministry even when we are unable to meet together in person. Our home church, The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, is one of them. Pastor Mitchell Bland continues to deliver inspiring and helpful Bible studies and sermons and to stay in touch with us by means of today’s technology. Susan and I worship and pray at home with our pastor and those who are helping him produce online services.

Today I received an email from WP Beginner, a company that produces helpful publications for those who are beginning bloggers. The email included the following statements. I have not checked them thoroughly for historical accuracy, but they may open our minds to additional things we can do to minister to people we may never meet in person.

In 1665 when Cambridge University closed for a year because of the Great Plague of London, a young scholar named Isaac Newton was sent home.

While at home, he discovered Calculus and refined the ideas that later became his theory of gravity.

In 1606, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, King Lear, and Anthony and Cleopatra while quarantined at home.

If you are interested in writing or communicating in some other way, I encourage you to consider blogging. You can do it free. I use Word Press, and I do pay a fee for advanced service like avoiding advertising. But I also post videos of classes I have taught, readings that can be used as devotionals, and even videos playing the piano while Susan, my wife, serves as the videographer!

Think about the ways you could reach out with the good news of the gospel!

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Daily Wisdom 11

If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, Let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; And whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, We shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; Let us all have one purse” (Proverbs 1:11-14).

The mob spirit is dangerous. People often do things as part of a larger group they would never do individually. The underlying humanistic philosophy is that the majority determines what is right and wrong. But this is determined only by God. Whether one person or all people oppose Him, God is still true and the opposition is lying.

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2).

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).

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