Brian D. Dykstra (teacher at Hope Christian School, Walker, MI) - written as a devotional for teachers as well as parents
Proverbs 1:20-23: “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”
Solomon has already instructed his son that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He has also spoken about the enticement of sinners. The final end of the sinners has been made clear to the son.
But what is a father to do? He knows what he wishes most for his son, that is, for the son to live a godly life. The father can give instruction and point out the truth of what he has learned about God both from His Word and from the way in which God has led him in life. However, try though he may with careful spiritual instruction and example of life, he cannot take his son’s dead and sinful heart and make it alive and holy.
But there is a cry which is heard! It is the voice of wisdom. My commentary tells me that the word wisdom is actually plural in the text. Among other voices, Matthew Henry mentions the following as the voices of wisdom: human understanding, divine revelation and Christ Himself. Solomon, as a father, is not left on his own to give instruction to his son. He has all the help he needs, the voice of wisdom.
This help is found everywhere. Fathers are not usually too concerned about the behaviour of their sons while they are at home with them. Home is the place where the instruction has been given. Now what happens when the son leaves the house to go somewhere? Will all that instruction be forgotten?
No, the voice of wisdom will follow the son not only in the home but without as well. Her voice is heard in the streets. In ancient times, there were many activities which took place in the streets. There were markets, workshops and forms of entertainment to be found there. The voice of wisdom would still be heard by the son.
There were also places where large crowds could meet, the concourse. Many of us know of the concern that is felt when teenage children are in large crowds. Still, wisdom would call him.
Many important meetings took place in the openings of the gates. Business meetings were held there and large markets were found there also. Judgments rendered by the city elders were given in the city gates. It was the place to be to keep up on current events. If the son were there as a witness, the voice of wisdom could still be heard.
Wisdom also calls to this son and to us, as we are by nature. She calls the simple ones. The simple do not fear God. They live their lives as though there were no eternal judgment. The consequences of their actions upon their souls do not matter to the simple. They merely wish to enjoy the pleasures which the world has to offer. They love this way of simplicity! Is there any other sphere where men treasure ignorance over knowledge?
The son’s and our sinful natures can manifest themselves in an even stronger way than mere simplicity. Wisdom also raises her voice to the scorners. It is not enough for scorners just to enjoy their sin, they must also mock God and His holy name and mock those who worship Him.
Finally, wisdom addresses the fools. Fools not only indulge their sinful lusts and mock. They will do more than that. They hate knowledge. Oh, they do not hate to learn things. Think of the many learned men, especially in the world of science, who have earned many degrees. Still, they do not confess God to be the creator of all that they have studied. They hate the knowledge of God and His truth so much that they work ceaselessly for evidence to “prove” the clear testimony of God’s Word to be false.
As for the knowledge of salvation, who needs it? They hate that especially. Fools either dismiss the judgment of the law, deny the existence of the Judge or feel that in some way they can save themselves or do not need to be saved from anything. By nature that is what we are.
To such wisdom cries. Wisdom is not on her knees inviting, begging and pleading with sinners while tears stain her beautiful face. This cry is a call, a summons. It is a command. For those elected by God’s grace, the call is irresistible.
We are commanded to turn. We have walked in sin. We are to turn to the way of thankful obedience. God has confronted us with His standard of holiness. He has shown to us the end of sin and how He has delivered us from it in Christ’s cross.
Wisdom will pour out her spirit unto us. It is not something done in response to our asking for it. Rather, we are being notified of what will happen. Where there was the “spirit” of simplicity, scorn and foolishness, there will be the Spirit of a new Master.
God also makes known to us His word. It is not something left for us to discover on our own. We had been blind to the truth of the Bible because of our sinful rebellion but now, by His Spirit of wisdom, we see and hate our sins, and then we can read plainly of our deliverance from sin.
Yes, we still need to instruct our children at home and in the extension of the home, the school. God uses means. Yet we are thankful that the entering of God’s light into dark hearts does not depend upon us using just the right words, catchy words or the latest instructional methods. God irresistibly calls by the voice of His wisdom and His children, the elect, will hear.