Since my wife became pregnant with our second child, I have taken the time to reflect on my adult life. Much of the focus has been on career decisions I’ve made. Some of these decisions were good ones, many seemed good at the time, but later proved to be foolish. This led me to feel regret and embarrassment (with some guilt mixed in).
So, I decided to learn about wisdom. More than this, I decided to become wise. At first, I thought this would be some great Herculean effort. Then I realized that the Book of Proverbs is relatively short and was written by Solomon (a very wise man). Reading something short on wisdom would allow me to meditate on the writings more deeply.
It wasn’t long before I encountered some sexual metaphors in Solomon’s writings. Specifically, the term “adulteress” finds its way into the early chapters of this work.
I contemplated possible meanings of this term. Was it sin, violence, sexual immorality, or some combination of these? The more I ran into the term, the more I just had to know what its true meaning was. So, I sat on this concept. As my homiletics professor once said, I let it “brew”.
Then it came to me. The adulteress is foolishness (or folly). Applying this to my own experience, I found that my career choices could be compared to an adulterous relationship. The shortcuts, the avoidances, the stubbornness were behaviors of a cheater. I cheated on wisdom.
If something was to hard, I ran. If it was too threatening, I quit. If it required too much of me, I walked away. Sometimes, these were the right decisions. If one is unqualified for a job and can’t accomplish the goals set forth, then a different job might be a better fit. At other times, the fear of a difficult (not impossible) circumstance reveal who we really are … who I really am … a fool.
Like Abram and Sarai, I disbelieve when God provides the opening. Like Jacob, I attempt to self-preserve in the face of danger. Like the Hebrews, I cry out, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt just to die out here in the desert?” (paraphrase). And, like Naaman, I say, “The water is a murky sewer. Couldn’t I be washed in my own bathtub???”
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Prov. 14:12 and 16:25)
Pride, self-preservation, disbelief, short-sightedness are all symptoms of the disease of sin. All these foolish attributes are found in the sinfulness we have inherited from Adam. And, if we are honest with ourselves, these continue to be our fruit even after being placed into Christ.
In fact, we may even feel a greater guilt and regret when we think of how many foolish things we’ve done as Christians … AS CHRISTIANS! I mean, aren’t we supposed to be different? Change? Better?
This, though, is a cruel joke played on us by that master fool, the devil (don’t forget his bride, our sinful hearts). We are better off disregarding the guilt statements in the above paragraph completely. Even better, extinguish the wicked fires of guilt and foolishness by the Wisdom from God. Colossians tells us that Jesus is Wisdom. He isn’t just a wise man, or a good teacher. Christ Jesus is the embodiment of Wisdom. Where did Solomon get counsel? Who was “with God” at the creation? None other than the second person of the Trinity.
And God’s wisdom is very different from ours. Instead of trying to keep on the straight and narrow, God’s law tells us that we have been off the path since our conception. His Wisdom tells us that our foolish lives have been made dignified, royal and wise because Christ Jesus has sanctified us. His Wisdom tells us that the disorder caused by human destruction in this world is beginning to be reversed through Jesus.
Jesus is the Wisdom from God who has begun His Kingdom at his anointing. He will continue to re-order things until there is a new heavens and a new earth.
And for us, the fools who believe in such a fairy tale, we will be given the right to rule over angels. Because the cross of his death was also the death of our foolishness. His resurrection has become the heart of wisdom for us. Now and forever. Amen.