In the Book of Proverbs, before Chapter 8, the writer has been trying to tell us how wonderfully practical is God’s gift of wisdom.
The application of wisdom brings abundant life and happiness and joy. Wisdom gives peace of mind via confidence in God’s ways. Wisdom imparted by parents’ lifestyle and actions, not mere words, to their children binds them together.
Wisdom practiced as God intends is a source of life, health and personal integrity. Such wisdom sincerely believed is a safeguard against violating any of God’s commandments, such as adultery.
Proverbs 8 lifts up still another value of wisdom practiced: Wisdom serves as a “binding force” and a living bond linking the Creator to the creation, especially to us humans. God has not left us to wonder what life is all about; he has given us instructions and guidelines via the Bible.
All elected and appointed officials need to recall what God said: “By me, kings reign.” All officials, elected and appointed, need God’s gift of wisdom to govern and to plan wisely, to do justice and to maintain the environmental and peaceful conditions throughout the land which in turn permit all people to have the chance for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“So help me God” is often said by officials when they are sworn into office. These words of wisdom have important implications that such officials dare not ignore.
We have only to look back to the Nixon and Reagan administrations to see what can happen when elected officials and their appointees fail to submit their plans and legislations to God’s internal audit. The false assumption that God put them into office to do what they jolly well please has no validity.
Occasional attendance at worship services does not approach what’s implied when we say, “So help me God.” We need and deserve elected and appointed officials at all levels of government who daily call on God for wisdom to make the right decisions and to avoid taking courses of action that are unethical, illegal or immoral or that in any other way bring disgrace and discredit to our city, county, state or country.
Proverbs has two short beatitudes that relate to the theme of wisdom linking Creator to creation: “Happy are those who keep wisdom’s ways” and “Happy are those who listen to wisdom, watching daily at wisdom’s gate and waiting beside wisdom’s doors.”
God longs for us to know how to derive the most of life. The emphasis is on keeping watch daily and waiting, all of which implies a sincere and disciplined eagerness to receive God’s wisdom.
The method most available and most easily used is the reading of the Bible on a daily basis and praying for insight to understand what we read.
The writer of the Book of Proverbs concludes that all who hate wisdom love death more than life.
These people are more committed to death and dying issues than they are to the discovery of life in all its fullness. May God’s Holy Spirit help us to see the wisdom in choosing life, not death.
THE REV. GENE NORRIS IS A PRESBYTERIAN PASTOR IN AUGUSTA.