“Can I give you some advice?”
I don’t know how you feel when you hear someone say those words to you? I will often jump to thinking that they are upset at something I’ve done or haven’t done.
Offering advice can be a dangerous pass time in a world where the most important opinion seems to be your own.
I am of the age now that when I am speaking to a younger person and sharing my ‘wisdom’ I have to be very careful in the choice of words I use. I don’t ever want to be the guy that used to make my eyes glaze over as they told me how they did things back ‘in their day.’ The reality is that I’m absolutely sure that I am that guy from time to time…
Wisdom is more than just advice, it is more than just sharing amusing anecdotes of how a person got to be who they are or where they are. Wisdom is more than knowledge that we have to recall when the need arises. Wisdom has depth, it has intrinsic connection, it forms identity and enables relationship.
We will begin, starting this Sunday, a 5 week series on Wisdom Literature in the bible. We will be focusing on the book of Proverbs but there is a whole genre of biblical writing that has been identified in the Bible as Wisdom Literature. Of course Proverbs is on the top of the list, but some Psalms, the book of Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Job are also well known as belonging to the Wisdom genre. Also in the Apocrypha (those in books you find in some bibles in between the Old Testament and the New Testament which while not ‘canonical scripture’ have been identified as being helpful) you find the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach which are both identified as Wisdom Literature.
Interestingly, ’Wisdom’, like ‘Spirit’, is sometimes referred to in the feminine in the original Hebrew. Regardless of the genderfication, Wisdom in scripture, is always part of who God is and it is always something we should seek to be. Last week in my sermon I did say that God is love, but God is so much more. One of the ‘so much more’ is… wisdom.
If wisdom is an aspect of who God is, then we should seek after it, we should try and learn from scripture the reasons why the people of Israel identified these writings as both wisdom and part of God’s character which God’s people are called to embody.
What if God was the one to say to you: “Can I give you some advice?”
How would you feel then?
Well the good thing is that God has done that, it is all through scripture and it especially present in Wisdom Literature. I pray that I might grow into a person who one day people look at as being wise. The only way I know how to do that in a successful, authentic and long lasting way is to find that wisdom in the character of God and do my best to make it alive in me.
How wise are you feeling today?