Proverbs 8:1-5

Proverbs 8:1-5 "Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart."
Elma NY Christian Church
The first nine chapters of the Book of Proverbs are very different than the remainder of the book.  While the remaining twenty-two chapters are full of proverbs that aren’t often directly connected to each other, the first nine chapters are full of truths that are very dependent on each other.  While chapters 10-31 contain a large collection of short truths, chapters 1-9 contain a small collection of longer truths.  Chapters 1-9 are essentially life lessons focusing on a few key issues pertaining the early stages of life while chapters 10-31 are tidbits of truth that address everything else in life.  Adolescence and early adulthood are critical years in every life.  The decisions we make during this time of life typically set the course for the rest of our life.  Poor decisions at this time of life can easily suck success out of the rest of our life.  Sound decisions at this time of life however, can set us on a path towards serious success and true happiness.  Given the ramifications of our decisions during this time of life, there is no greater time in life to find wisdom.  It is for this reason that Solomon so passionately proposes wisdom to his son through detailed life lessons in chapters 1-9.  Chapter eight is a continuation of this paternal proposition.  Chapter eight continues the conversation of chapter seven that dealt with the dangers of being a “young man void of understanding,” and how such a man will become an easy victim to the evil people of this world.

Having just described the “strange woman” in great detail in the previous chapter, Solomon is drawing Rehoboam’s attention to the OTHER WOMAN, who is WISDOM.  This other woman is everything the “strange woman” is not.  In this chapter, Solomon will contrast her to the “strange woman” in every way – from approach to behavior to motive to outcome.  He immediately contrasts the approach of this other woman with the “strange woman’s” approach.  While the “strange woman” made herself known to men only under the cover of darkness, Wisdom makes herself known to all men in the light of day.  While the “strange woman” made herself known to men only on a particular street corner, Wisdom makes herself known to all men in all places.  Wisdom speaks to men at the top of high places, on highways and byways, at the city gates and at the doors within the city.  Wisdom isn’t selective on where she speaks or to whom she speaks.  Wisdom isn’t afraid of being seen or of being identified as was the “strange woman.”  Wisdom isn’t hard to find.  Wisdom isn’t hard to hear.  Wisdom isn’t hard to get.

In chapter seven, the “strange woman” eventually took the young man’s purity by her VOICE.  Proverbs 7:21, “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”  It was that fact that prompted Solomon’s opening words, “Doth not wisdom CRY? and understanding put forth her VOICE?”  The “strange woman’s” voice wasn’t the only voice in the young man’s life.  The “strange woman’s” voice wasn’t the only voice in the city and on the streets.  Why did he only get captivated by her voice and not by wisdom’s voice?  Why did he only seem to hear the evil woman’s voice and not the other woman’s voice?  Both the “strange woman” and Wisdom were vying for this young man’s attention. Why did he choose the “strange woman?”  

Although Wisdom was more present in the young man’s life than was the “strange woman,” he chose the wrong woman.  Although Wisdom was more audible in the young man’s life than was the “strange woman,” he chose the wrong woman.  The wording of the wise king infers that he didn’t hear the other woman, despite her speaking loudly.  The wording of the wise father suggests that the young man didn’t even see the other woman, despite her being everywhere in his life.  The opening verse of chapter eight implies that the young fool’s demise began well before he met the adulteress on the street corner.  Before this man opened up his ears to her flattering lips, he closed his ears to Wisdom’s invitation.  Before this man opened up his eyes to her seductive attire, he closed his eyes to Wisdom’s presence.  Before this man opened up his heart to her provocative suggestions, he closed his heart to Wisdom’s sound counsel.

By asking, “doth not Wisdom cry?” and by pointing out Wisdom’s ever-presence in the lives of the “sons of men” immediately after telling the tragic story of this “young man void of understanding,” Solomon is exposing the source of our problems.  We see what we want to see.  We hear what we want to hear.  We go where we want to go. We do what we want to do.  We believe what we want to believe.  We feel what we want to feel.  This is Humanity 101.  Although Wisdom was visible everywhere the young man went, he didn’t see her.  Although Wisdom was audible everywhere the young man went, he didn’t hear her.  He wanted to see a sensual woman.  He wanted to investigate, learn and experiment sexuality with a sensual woman.  He wanted to experience the fantasies of romance and passion.  He was far more interested in a “strange woman” than he was in the other woman.  He rarely, if ever thought about Wisdom where he constantly thought about a “strange woman.”  We see what we want to see because we see what we think about.  We hear what we want to hear because we hear what we think about.      

Again, this is Humanity 101.  Men typically don’t NOTICE fashion or décor as much as women notice these things because men don’t THINK about them like women do.  Children typically don’t SEE safety hazards like parents do because children don’t THINK about them like parents do.  Both men and women have “Selective Hearing” based on gender tendencies and it has nothing to do with hearing – it has everything to do with mindset.  We hear what we want to hear and we see what we want to see.  We go where we want to go and we spend time with whom we want to spend time with.  On many levels, our hearts are more influential in what we hear than are our ears.  In many ways, our hearts are more influential in what we see than are our eyes.  This is why the Jewish Rulers did not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah when He came.  Despite obvious and unexplainable miracles, they saw what they wanted to see.  Despite the undeniable fulfillment of Scripture in many aspects of His birth, life and death, they saw what they wanted to see.  Despite the pure and powerful words of Christ, they heard what they wanted to hear.  As a result, they made a colossal mistake in rejecting the Son of God.

Solomon is doing more than teaching his children to choose Wisdom over Foolishness.  He is doing much more than teaching his kids to choose Purity over Sin.  In these verses, our Heavenly Father is doing more than instructing us to choose Right over Wrong.  These verses teach us that there are competing voices vying for our spiritual ears and that we need to hear God’s voice by having a desire to hear God’s voice.  We need to hear Wisdom’s voice by having a desire to hear Wisdom’s voice.  Despite God speaking to us often, if we don’t want to hear from Him, we won’t hear His voice.  Despite Wisdom speaking to us all throughout life, if we don’t want to hear from Her, we won’t hear Her voice.

It's not God’s responsibility to open our ears.  It is only His responsibility to speak to us in a way and in a place and in a way that we can hear Him.  Solomon makes it clear that He is doing just that by having Wisdom speak to us “in the top of high places” and “by the way in the places of the paths” (vs. 2).  Solomon makes it known that Wisdom “CRIETH” everywhere we go – “at the gates, at the entry of the city” and “at the coming in at the doors” (vs. 3). If we don’t hear the voice of God, it’s simply and sadly because we don’t want to.  If we don’t hear Wisdom’s voice, it’s simply and sadly because we want to hear someone else’s voice.  

If we are to spiritually succeed in life, we need to acknowledge the influence our heart has on what we see and on what we hear in life.  We like to blame everyone for our mistakes and yet, if we were honest with ourselves, most of our mistakes are the result of us not hearing or seeing the obvious.  I am reminded of this fact when I was cashing out some grocery items at Wegmans the other day.  Before paying, I needed to enter my shoppers club number but was having a hard time doing so with the touch screen.  After tapping the screen multiple times and tapping harder each consecutive time, the cashier firmly told me that I needed to use the attached stylus pen.  While immediately criticizing her in my mind for her lack of kindness over what I thought was the store’s problem for not communicating that annoying fact, I looked down on the touchscreen one more time.  What did I see printed on a label in capital bold letters?  “USE THE STYLUS ON THE TOUCHSCREEN.”  Glad that I didn’t say what I was thinking, I repented of my silent criticism and made a joke to the cashier about how we all ignore the obvious.  Why did I not see the obvious directions that would’ve saved me time and frustration?  Because I saw what I wanted to see.  I saw what my mindset directed me to see.  I was MINDED to hurry through the line to get home and eat dinner.  I was MINDED with HASTE, which limited my vision and made a simple transaction more difficult.  I can reasonably suspect that the cashier was impatient with me because everyone going through the line all day probably does the same thing and also fail to see the obvious.  Why don’t they see the obvious?  Because they’re minded with the same haste as I was.

If we’re going to receive Wisdom, we have to hear Wisdom’s invitation.  If we’re going to hear Wisdom’s cry, we have to first listen for her cry.  That all starts with a DESIRE for Wisdom.  The young man in chapter seven went where his heart took him.  Despite the cries from Wisdom, he heard what he was listening for – a seductive woman.  Despite the appearances of Wisdom, he saw what he was looking for – a sensual woman.  God is ever-present in your life.  Wisdom is ever-present in your life.  Are you looking for Wisdom?  Are you listening for Wisdom? If not, you’re looking and listening for something.  Whatever that is, you’ll eventually find it but when you do, you’ll find it WITHOUT WISDOM.  The consequences could be deadly and life-altering, especially for those who are in their Adolescent and Young Adult years.
 
Open your SPIRITUAL EYES and EARS to the Other Woman.  You do that by opening your HEART to the Other Woman.

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