The following is a blog post I made in May 2011. It led to assisting a friend of mine in a talk on Proverbs he was to give that week. I love it when God lets us see a glimpse of His handiwork, no matter how small it may seem. 🙂
When I was a little girl, the pastor of our church decided to have a Q&A time between himself and the congregation by having people submit written questions on Sunday morning while the offering plate was passed. He would review them in the afternoon and answer them as best he could during evening service. (Look, I went to a Baptist, be-there-whenever-the-doors-are-open church when I was a kid, okay? It wasn’t too bad. It boosted my social life. And sometimes I even learned something. :p)
I am a very inquisitive being. I also get a thrill out of asking a really good question. So, being just a kid, I thought it would be awesome to have MY question asked by the pastor. I didn’t want to ask any ol’ question. I wanted it to be good. I wanted it to be original and thought-provoking. Even though no one else would know it was my question, I wanted everyone around me to do that “hmmm” thing while the pastor englightened us to a new and wonderful truth. I asked, “Why is wisdom always referred to as a woman in Proverbs?” (Mind you, I’m like…10 years old when I asked this.)
The pastor answered several questions before mine. They were all pretty standard questions about predestination or “hypothetical” confrontational situations. When he got to my question, he hmmm’ed and kind of chuckled. Then he looked up at all of us in the congregation and said, “I have no idea. Okay, next question!”
I was severely disappointed, oddly embarrassed, and more than a little frustrated. Didn’t he think about my question at all that afternoon? Man, was I glad no one but my dad knew that question was from me… And what kind of pastor who has been to seminary and everything can’t answer a question from a 10 year old girl?!
Well, I think after 16 years of still wondering that same question, I’ve finally come up with a theory. It’s not fancy or anything and I could be way off, but here goes. In Proverbs King Solomon tells his son to get wisdom at all costs. He describes Wisdom as a woman calling out to anyone who will listen. He says to go after wisdom, to pursue wisdom. Why is wisdom a woman? Maybe, just maybe, the pursuit of wisdom is best pictured by a man courting a woman he loves. He will do anything and everything it takes to gain that relationship with her. It doesn’t matter how many hoops he’s got to go through, he will push through any obstacle to get to her. The desire for that relationship drives him, motivates him. He uses any means he can think of to gain her favor (by the way, my unmarried lady friends, this whole flowers-every-weekend thing is not going to last if you get married–not being cynical, just realistic) and he implements all his manly tools to accomplish this goal. Forget about sex, I’m talking the staying up late to talk, trying to respect her parents, showing off whatever talents he has to impress her–that kind of stuff. It’s a grand pursuit. And I think that is how we are to pursue wisdom. Do whatever it takes, jump through every hoop and over every obstacle, be motivated every day to strive for wisdom.
By the way, the only way to get it is to ask for it, just like the only way to marrying a man’s daughter used to be to ask the Father first.
So take THAT, preacher from 16 years ago! ~Enlightened Victoria
And then the first comment I got was this:
“Victoria, Victoria, Victoria…
You probably didn’t know this, but my dad is running our annual church retreat this year, and the theme is the book of Proverbs. And you probably didn’t know this, but he asked me to give Sunday’s message at the retreat’s end, and I decided to do it on Lady Wisdom. And you probably didn’t know this, but I’m still working on giving my talk its final form (last minute, I know), and the angle I’m taking with my talk is that obtaining Wisdom isn’t a series of rules to remember so much as it is a relationship, a love affair…
…and I’ve been spending all morning researching how Solomon says to make Wisdom your “sister,” and how “sister” can actually be a term of endearment to one’s fiancee, as we see it in Song of Songs; and how Solomon describes Wisdom as being “worth far more than rubies,” the exact same language King Lemuel’s mother uses of the Virtuous Wife; and I’ve been wondering how to work James 1:5 into the whole thing, where God promises to give wisdom to whomever asks it of him…
No such thing as coincidence.
Your answer is quite awesome. Can I crib off you for that last bit, about asking one’s bride’s Father?”
Of course I agreed. And we marvelled at how Father cares for us.