A man spent years working in a factory as a mechanic. He was the best in the organization to ever turn a wrench. When he retired, they had a tough time replacing his years of experience. They found guys todo the job and managed to get by. One day, they came across a problem that they thought was unsolvable. They had to call up their retired mechanic for knowledge. After looking over the machine, he marked an “x” with chalk on the part needing repair.
The next day the machine was fixed and they received a bill from the old man. It was a $5,000 bill for 1 minute of work. The factory refused to pay until it was itemized. The next day they received an itemized bill that read:
—$1 chalk mark
—$4,999 knowing where to put it!
The old man had a practical knowledge of the machine which led him to success in his trade. In the study of Proverbs, practicality has been the driving force. Proverbs is all about living life well. The purpose of the book is for attaining wisdom (1.1-2). As noted in the previous 2 posts, Wisdom takes on personhood in chapter 8. The discussion has been about finding the identity of this Wisdom character. To recap, Wisdom:
- A person (Proverbs 8.12)
- According to Proverbs 8.22-26, Wisdom was acquired from God, installed from eternity, and in a intimate relationship with Him.
- According to Proverbs 27-29, Wisdom was with God during creation.
- Wisdom is the master Craftsman of creation. He is the hands that would do the building. (30)
- By seeking and finding Wisdom, we get life and acceptance to the Lord. (35)
Standing at the decision point of the identity of Wisdom, the Gospel writer John is a key witness. He begins his book in this way:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John uses “Word” as a title for Jesus in this passage. With that being said, look through the list of attributes the John gives the Word:
- He was there in the beginning.
- He was with God.
- He was God.
- Through him all things were made.
- Life was in him.
If attention is turned back to Proverbs, the connection is easily made. The first statement, that of personhood, is implied by John attributing a name to Word, so consider the second statement: “Wisdom was acquired from God, installed from eternity, and in a intimate relationship with Him.” John 1 certainly affirms that statement. The Word “was” and “with” God “in the beginning”. (1.1) Genesis 1.1 would add that God “spoke” into existence the cosmos. He gave the directive for creation. Elsewhere, John would add that he doesn’t follow his own will, but differs to the will of the Father (John 5.30; 6.38; 8.28).
The third statement from Proverbs, “Wisdom was with God during creation” is clearly defended by John 1.1 so warrants no further discussion.
The fourth, “Wisdom is the master Craftsman of creation. He is the hands that would do the building” is attested too in verse 3 of John 1: “Through Him all things where made.” As discussed earlier Jesus was there at creation. I like to think of it this way. God the Father was the General Contractor. The Holy Spirit hovering over the waters was the creativity and designer, but Jesus the Son was responsible for putting the “x” down. He was the one hammering nails, pouring the concrete, building the univers with the night of his muscle and the sweat of his brow. He was the master craftsman. You think it was a coincidence that before his three year ministry that he spent 20 as a carpenter. It’s hard to find the same kind and amount of experience in a pile resumes. Jesus was not only the word being spoken to create, he was the ability and skill, the heavy lifting to do it.
Statement Five: “By seeking and finding Wisdom, we get life and acceptance to the Lord”. John tells the story of a paralyzed man at a pool. He had been there for 38 years wanting to get into the pool and be healed. Jesus heals him and then warns him of worse things to come should sin reign in his life. (John 5.14) Then Jesus changes the topic to “eternal life” in his next discussion about this ordea. Jesus says: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life…” (John 5.24) Jesus makes it clear: just because you’re walking around doesn’t mean your living. For Matthew, Mark, and Luke, eternal life is living forever in Heaven; but for John eternal life happens now! Whoever hears and believes HAS eternal life. It is not a quantity of life but a quality of life. It’s not forever life but a for real life! Proverbs makes it clear: if you attain wisdom you will have life. Proverbs is about living the best kind of life as that life is only attained through Wisdom.
Jesus came into this world and got his hands dirty. Jesus was sent into our world because that is where God’s knowledge took action; that is Wisdom!
If Proverbs really is all about practicality and living the best life, then the Wisdom Character must be Jesus. Solomon the author of Proverbs makes it clear that we Cain attain every thing else, wealth , fame, fortune, but if we miss Jesus, if we fail to gain Jesus, then we miss the point! Jesus really is the only way to live the life that Proverbs lays out as wise and Godly. It is as if he was reading 1 Corinthians 1.30: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”