“Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: ‘To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man….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.'” (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-23)
The writer of Proverbs takes poetic license to personify Wisdom as a woman. We must be wary of viewing this passage as if wisdom were a real being as some have done. Some cults and sects and even some mainline churches have labeled wisdom as the goddess Sophia. This is blatant idolatry and utter foolishness because such a view does not interpret the scripture as it ought to be understood, as poetry that teaches theological truth. Wisdom here is an attribute of God, part of His essential nature, not a separate entity.
Wisdom as defined by God’s word is not like what we humans call wisdom, i.e. the ability to make profitable or advantageous choices. It is clear that divine wisdom is focused on the Lord God and leads human beings to faith, to follow and obey Him. Such obedience is the essence of true worship. Wisdom teaches us to honor the Lord alone in all we do. Wisdom is not given just to a chosen or elite few, but offered to all mankind so that all may see that the Lord is the Creator of all that is and the giver and sustainer of life. Wisdom proclaims the benefits of prudence, discretion, discernment, humility, honesty, and temperance and the way to implement them. Wisdom tells us we are weak and sinful people who need the grace and help of God.
Wisdom teaches righteousness. It is the basis for the counsel and sound judgment that those who govern should possess but often do not. God used wisdom at creation when He set the limits and boundaries for the things He created. This would include the limits and boundaries for human beings. All the laws that govern the physical universe are determined by Him. All those things we claim as “human rights” are instituted by God. An understanding of God’s sovereignty over man and all creation should enable earthly rulers to make just laws that protect people from violence and harm, encourage and reward righteousness, and punish wickedness. We would do well to heed wisdom for since the Lord created all that is He is the one who knows how things work as well as the consequences of selfishness and the blessings of righteousness. He alone knows better than we what will give us satisfaction and fulfillment in life.