Death through the Proverbs

By Cindy Koch

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the market she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy street she cries out; at the entrance to the city gates she speaks; How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? (Proverbs 1:20-22)

Men, women, and children everywhere ignore her call. As long as she has breath, Wisdom will speak loudly and boldly, but those who have ears still cannot hear. Those who have eyes still cannot see. Wisdom speaks in proverbs, parables and riddles. And the simple continue to wander right past her words of life. 

Yet, men, women, and children strive to follow the transcendent wisdom of Proverbs. Don’t be lazy, everything in moderation, avoid the foolish, keep quiet. But they still don’t hear and they cannot see that this is not the path to life.

My son if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments…then you will understand the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2:1, 5)

So, it’s as simple as following Lady Wisdom’s advice, right? Use her practical insights every day. This is what the Bible studies demand. This is how the real Christians walk the talk. Mirror every move of the Proverbs 31 woman and you’re on the right path. Our proverb mentors lead us to “consider some practical changes in our thinking and behavior that we may need to make to develop biblical beauty goals”. And they teach that this is Wisdom.

So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death. (Proverbs 2:16-18)

They go on to tell us about salvation from death and taunting evil. Stay away from the foolish path and you will have life. Even now, this forbidden woman lies to our prideful heart. While we carefully watch our steps on this path, she tells us, “You will surely not die; Come be like God knowing good and evil by doing these simple proverbs.” But this adulteress has forgotten the covenant of her God. She leads the simple ones down a dark path, and they don’t even know they are walking to death.

 “No one is righteous. No, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:11, 18)

God says you can’t do this. Our experience shows we can’t walk this path. We question these words of wisdom. We struggle to understand what is right and true. We shamefully fail at every piece of advice. We break every commandment in thought word and deed. We are caught in the simple’s vicious cycle to understand freedom from God rather than the fear of the Lord.

Our futile way of righteousness is the walk of a fool. Moral sayings, empty actions, incomplete goodness—this is the foundation that shifts and slides beneath your feet. Those who love other gods could easily travel beside you in this journey to death. And you still can’t hear the call of Wisdom.

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since, through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. (Romans 3:20-22)

And our righteousness is put to death through Proverbs. Every illusion of walking down the right path reveals our sin. Every vision of doing these good words finds us drowning in our own righteousness. We rightly fear that our God will not accept our work. We are fittingly terrified that we have been on the dark path the whole time. But just now we heard that something else, something totally other than a proverb, brings us life. Someone that the Law and the Prophets and the Proverbs bear witness to.

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his  delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. (Proverbs 8:22 – 31)

Wisdom is the master workman, begotten of the Father of Creation. Wisdom was with God in the beginning. Wisdom is Christ. This Wisdom was born into our practical everyday world and literally walked as the perfect proverbial son. He is the only one that is truly righteous. He treasures every command of the Father and receives every word. Completely, totally, fully Christ is the Wisdom of God and the righteous Son.

“And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 8:32-35)

How do we find wisdom? How do we grab hold of her to obtain life and favor from the Lord? Wisdom is both Eternal Teacher and God-made-flesh Student. Wisdom is both spoken Word and completed once and for all Action. The story of Wisdom has nothing to do with your faithful walk, Proverbs is fulfilled completely in Christ.

We simply hear that we are blessed sons. Because of Christ the Son, we have been counted as righteous because He kept the way. Christ’s favor restored our ears so that we can hear Wisdom. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection recreated our eyes so that we can see Wisdom. We fear, love, and trust the Lord because we now remember who we really are; this is the beginning of knowledge. And we have been given life, through Christ alone, in Proverbs.