by Caroline Hiler
The lectionary from today comes from Wisdom of Solomon (Wis). Wisdom of Solomon is part of the apocryphal books, written by a Jew in Alexandria, Egypt sometime between 200 BCE to 50 BC. This book teaches that wisdom should be valued above all else, just as Solomon knew to prefer it (Wis 7:7-14), because attaining wisdom means friendship with God (7:14). Wisdom’s nature is: “intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle” (Wis 7:22-23). Wisdom is also a “reflection of the eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working God, and an image of his goodness” (Wis 7:26).
Wisdom of Solomon also traces how God’s people have been saved by wisdom from Adam to Moses (Wis 10:1-14). It seems obvious then why early Church writers like Origen and Augustine, who did a similar reading of the Old Testament but with Jesus, would use Wisdom of Solomon to talk about Jesus as the ‘Wisdom’. They often found the ‘Word’ synonymous with ‘Wisdom.’ Following 1 Corinthians 24b, “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” and John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
Now to our reading for today:
Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-20
6:12 Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.
6:13 She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
6:14 One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate.
6:15 To fix one's thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,
6:16 because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought.
6:17 The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her,
6:18 and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,
6:19 and immortality brings one near to God;
6:20 so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.
I will offer an interpretation of our passage in a style like the early Church writers.
Jesus, Wisdom incarnate tells us, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you (Matt 7:7). He desires to make Himself known to us, and He promises us that if you hear his voice and open the door, He will come in and dine with you, spend time with you, His beloved (Rev 3:20). If you love Him, you will desire to keep His instructions: love each other as He has loved you (John 15:12). This makes you a friend of God (John 15:15). Following this command brings Jesus’ Kingdom to earth, a place where He reigns in love. A Kingdom marked with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).
Jesus, as Wisdom, created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, and holds all things together. He is before all things, and all things have been created through Him and for Him (Col 1:16-17). He is the image of the invisible God, and traces of Him are found throughout all creation making known God’s invisible qualities (Rom 1:20), and God’s Wisdom.
Take for example, the power of God displayed in the ocean. Uncontainable, strong, alluringly beautiful, not completely known.
Or the way it is tidal. Moving in and out, every day, consistent. As sure as the tide rises and falls, God’s unfailing love and mercy continue every day (Lam 3:22-23). The water seeps itself to the corners of the creeks, just as the Holy Spirit empowers the limbs of our bodies to reach out in love.
Then how the animals have learned the ocean’s ways. The mother alligator knows to lay her nest in the summer when the waters are warm, and will protect her hatchlings at all cost. As God is our place of safety, God’s faithful promises are our armor and protection (Psalm 91:1-4).
I encourage you to look at creation today and see the wisdom it teaches you about God, and then put those truths into action. Join Jesus in creating His Kingdom on earth.
I will end with this example Martin Luther King gives us (Antidotes for Fear: Faith):
"The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens." Man is not a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering, but a child of God created "a little lower than the angels." Above the manyness of time stands the one eternal God, with wisdom to guide us, strength to protect us, and love to keep us. His boundless love supports and contains us as a mighty ocean contains and supports the tiny drops of every wave. With a surging fullness he is forever moving toward us, seeking to fill the little creeks and bays of our lives with unlimited resources. This is religion's everlasting diapason, its eternal answer to the enigma of existence. Any man who finds this cosmic sustenance can walk the highways of life without the fatigue of pessimism and the weight of morbid fears.
Herein lies the answer to the neurotic fear of death that plagues so many of our lives. Let us face the fear that the atomic bomb has aroused with the faith that we can never travel beyond the arms of the Divine.”
Caroline Hiler is a Master’s of Divinity student at Duke University. She has received a B.A. in Biblical Studies, and plans to pursue ordination.
About this Blog
This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.