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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It is easy as a pastor to fall in love with particular New Testament passages. So many of them are dear to the believer’s heart that it is difficult to choose a favorite. Which is more precious? The birth narrative? The miracles? The resurrection? The entire New Testament is to the believer a love note written from God to his beloved. But what about the Old Testament? Do we dare have personal favorites concerning these books? It seems that the events of the Old Testament (creation, Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah) are more the subjects of intense debates rather than personal reflection and devotion.
I must say that my all-time favorite Old Testament passage is found in a most peculiar place: Proverbs chapter 8. I was first turned on to this passage in the fall of 2005 when I began to study the book of Proverbs more closely. I have found that this passage is an excellent connection of New Testament spirituality with Old Testament style. This is no Pentecost, nor is it a resurrection account. Rather, this is a hymn to the Wisdom of God. Central to the theme of the chapter is that Wisdom is the prerequisite to God’s creation. Before mountains or rivers, people or animals, the principles of Wisdom were established.
Though this is not the first place one should turn in witnessing to others, (it probably wouldn’t make a good sermon, either!) for the mature Christian I think this passage has much to teach. Primarily, though, it is the lesson of purpose in life that we should learn. The world is indeed orderly and operates with certainty and efficiency. We contribute nothing to gravity or magnetism, and yet they work perfectly! We, as people, are the actors on this grand stage of ordered life. We are the beneficiaries of the wisest establishment ever. This is not a chance happening; we are here for a reason.
What is that reason? Well, primarily it is to glorify God through our free acts and decisions. However, on the more minute level, we are to choose wisdom to determine our part in the grand scheme of God. Since Wisdom is the language that this reality has been written in, it is crucial that we, as the crown jewel of this creation, should attain wisdom and live as wise men and women. May that be how we are described in days to come – as a people who are wise.

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