For a complete list of blog posts in the Journey Through The Word series, please click here.
Where Am I?
Wisdom is the next book after the Song of Songs, and is followed by the book of Sirach.
Wisdom. Solomon calls her more precious than rubies, more desirable than gold (Proverbs 3). The source of wisdom is the Lord and in the fear of God, we set ourselves on the path towards gaining God’s understanding to help us make good life decisions and avoid evil.
But what is the ‘fear of the Lord’? My Bible footnotes* define it as a “reverential fear and respect for God on account of His sovereignty, goodness and justice toward men. This is the foundation of religion.” I’d like to think that this means that God is willing to impart of Himself divine guidance to anyone who wholeheartedly pursues Him.
In its nineteen chapters, the book of Wisdom speaks in the voice of Solomon but it was authored long after the Bablyonian exile, written a century or so before the birth of Christ. In that respect, the book feels like a continuation of the book of Proverbs, using some of the same literalistic styles (Wisdom personified and her virtues), and Hebrew verse, and in the latter half of the book (Chapter 11 onwards), a detailing of the providential acts of God that led to the freedom of the Israelites from the yoke of slavery under Egyptian rule.
At first, I didn’t see the point of including this in the Bible as the repetition of themes from other books made it feel unnecessary. As I went further along, there were a few passages that resonated with me and were completely novel to my experience. As I bought an inexpensive, secondhand Bible for this purpose, I began underlining passages.
“For fear is nought but the surrender of the helps that come from reason; and the more one’s expectation is of itself uncertain, the more one makes of not knowing the cause that brings on torment.” (Wisdom 17:12-13)
Wow. This is amazingly true and I probably need to inscribe this somewhere where I will see it daily. Anxiety is a constant battle for me and the source of it is that niggling fear of the unknown that is a constant source of grief, both in my life, and in those affected by my moody disposition. Less than a week after reading this passage for the first time, I encountered a situation that would have destroyed my entire day, poisoned with anxiety. Quoting that verse, I prayed instead and the Holy Spirit broke into my fearstruck reveries as the voice of Reason, calming my anxious heart. Time passed, and that Voice proved to be true and my fears, unfounded. God is merciful!
While this was the only passage that struck me as worth sharing from the entire nineteen chapters, I am a firm believer that each reading of the Bible, at different stages of your life, will bring something new and impactful. There are always new treasures to unearth.
Looking ahead to the rest of the readings, I am hopeful some of the other books will have more quotables to share. Meantime, do you have any favorite quotes from the book of Wisdom? How have they impacted your life. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
*The Bible version I am studying is the New American Bible, Fireside Personal Study Edition, (2006-2007 edition) by Fireside Catholic Publishing. Some of my paraphrases are based on the NIV and NASB versions which I grew up with.