International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday March 4, 2012
Purpose: To discover wisdom as both a creation and servant of God
Scripture Text: Proverbs 8:22-36
Proverbs 8:22-36 (NRSV)
(22) The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. (23) Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. (24) When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. (25) Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth— (26) when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world's first bits of soil. (27) When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, (28) when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, (29) when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, (30) then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, (31) rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race. (32) "And now, my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. (33) Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. (34)Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. (35) For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord; (36) but those who miss me injure themselves; all who hate me love death."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
For most of this quarter we will be looking at the Gospel of John, but our first week we will look at a very interesting passage from the Book of Proverbs. This portion of Proverbs has been very controversial through the ages and especially at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. , where our forefathers introduced the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Most of us are very familiar with the first few verses of our bible that talk about the creation story. We are also familiar with the Gospel of John and the first few verses. However this passage from Proverbs gives us a slightly different slant on the creation and the order of that creation. The theologians at Nicaea had to also take this passage into account when they established one of the great doctrines of the Church, the Trinity. Where does “wisdom” fit into the creation story and into the Doctrine of the Trinity?
I think, without being a heretic, that what the best theologians in the world at that time, were trying to do was explain and define God, using Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as a way to do that. But where does some of the greatest attributes we credit to God, come from? Was wisdom created or begotten? What about goodness? And love? Were these created by God or begotten by God? And what is the difference?
In Wesley's notes he says, “Wisdom - It is a great question what this wisdom is. Some understand it of the Divine wisdom; others of the second person in the Godhead: and it cannot be denied that some passages best agree to the former, and others to the latter opinion. Possibly both may be joined together, and the chapter may be understood of Christ considered partly in his personal capacity, and partly in regard of his office, which was to impart the mind and will of God to mankind".
One thing is clear in translation, Wisdom is feminine, and is referred to as “lady wisdom” in the first five verses of this chapter. It appears she (lady wisdom) was involved in every aspect of creation, and existed before there was an earth or sea. She was there at the first, similar to what John’s Gospel says about the Word in 1:1-21 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
One of our, (humans) difficulties is we have to use words to describe what we do not understand. There is an old saying that says, “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Sometimes we need to admit there are things we can not explain, or comprehend. Our faith should be such that we can except those things and glorify our creator by just saying “thank you Lord.”
Our lesson closes with, “Happy is the one who listens to me,”.... “But all who hate me love death.”
Wisdom brings light, but a lack of wisdom brings darkness. Light brings joy and happiness, darkness brings fear and doubt.