By R. JOAQUIN WILLIS, D. MIN.
“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?… To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.” Proverbs8:1, 4NIV
Wisdom, one of the seven-fold gifts* of the Holy Spirit, is considered by some scholars as a feminine spirit. Her voice is so soft, often drowned out by our noisy lives. Other times we flat out reject her voice, seduced by the sirens of human desires. Still Lady Wisdom is softly and constantly beckoning us to hear her as God’s voice.
*The Septuagint, Greek version, of the Old Testament, has it: The spirit of the Lord rests upon, (the seven-fold spirits): the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety; by combining these six gifts we are filled with discernment and through the seventh spirit, the fear of God, we can hear, listen and obey.
In Proverbs some good questions are raised: “Do you hear Lady Wisdom when she calls? Can you hear her Insights when she raises her voice? To many the lack of wisdom has taken a stand at First and Main Streets, and at many of the busiest intersections of life. Lady wisdom is missing even in the political square where the traffic is thickest, she shouts, “You—I’m talking to all of you, everyone out here on the streets! Listen, you idiots—learn good sense! You blockheads—shape up!” Proverbs 8:1-4 MSG.
Lady Wisdom is right. It seems today wisdom is absent in the 2016 presidential politics. Both presumptive nominees (Clinton and Trump) despite leading in pledged delegates have extremely high unfavorable poll ratings.
In the end the race may go, not to the best qualified, but rather to the one who shouts the loudest and cast the ugliest insults. It is also very likely, unfortunately, that the victor will be the one willing to spend the most money to become president. Can you hear Lady Wisdom’s voice calling our nation, asking us “Who is it you will choose?”
Mindful of the roles of blacks in history, God once used the female voice, Harriet Tubman, to bring 300 slaves to freedom. Despite the plea of her freed husband John Tubman, to not run away to freedom, but remain happy as his wife and plantation slave, Mrs. Tubman heard wisdom’s call and left him and the plantation behind.
In John 16:13, Jesus refers to “The spirit of truth” as ‘He’ while Lady Wisdom is referred to as female. This is intriguing because it implies we need both (wisdom and truth) to get the complete story. To increase in wisdom and understanding and make the world more complete, healthy, and whole, we need both male and female.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John16:13NIV
There is special wisdom found in the ‘spirit of truth,” which calls us sometimes through a male onto the pathway of righteousness, and onto our own personal pathways in history.
For instance, God used the deep voice of Fredrick Douglass and his abolitionist newspaper The North Star to point the way to freedom for God’s formerly enslaved children. The female voice of wisdom was present in Harriet Tubman and the spirit of truth existed in the male voice of Fredrick Douglass.
Lady Wisdom’s mouth chews, savors and relishes the truth; she can’t stand the taste of evil. When wisdom calls, if we listen for the spirit of truth, the right words will subsequently come from our mouths; and not one syllable we speak will be twisted or skewed.
God’s wisdom is made known by our work, while we are still part of creation. Attempting to use Christ’s words without discernment and understanding can misguide and blind the most intelligent of us to the truth. When we have an understanding heart and the willingness to receive truth in love, we then know wisdom is more valued than silver and gold.
Open minds recognize what is the truth. ‘Truth-ready’ minds see truth at once; prefer discipline over desire and peace over prosperity. Truth-ready minds prefer God-given knowledge over human knowledge. Truth-ready minds know that wisdom is better than wealth because nothing can hold a candle to Lady Wisdom’s gifts.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.