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. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 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, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.
To the Choirmaster: According to the Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Summary – These two passages bring Gods’ sovereignty and creation work sharply into focus. Through God’s almighty word, rooted in His Wisdom, the earth, water, heavens, and seas were brought forth. But the Proverbs passage highlights the source of God’s action in His definite foreknowledge and plan, for creation as Wisdom/Understanding is poetically personified as calling to the “children of man” to listen to her. These “children of man” are described as the “delight” of Wisdom, showing the centrality of humankind to God’s purposes in the world. This theme picks up in the words of Solomon’s father David, where he breaks out in words of praise for the Lord. God’s “majestic” name is in the forefront, He who made the heavens, the moon and the stars. David ponders, with all that creation, why would God even care about the son of man (cf. “children of man”)? And yet, in God’s perfect Wisdom, He placed the earth under the dominion of humans.
Insight – This past Tuesday, a friend of mine from High School died in a construction accident. As I write this, the question that keeps rolling around in my mind is “What possible purpose could God have in taking this man, leaving his pregnant wife with two young sons to raise alone?” This is one of the toughest questions a person can deal with. And yet, God’s Word in Psalms and Proverbs teaches us that God desires man to get wisdom and understanding, which is centered only in knowledge of God Himself. God’s age-old Wisdom ordained that we would come to be, and He delights in us. Out of the mouth of children comes praise for God. Mankind, seemingly one of the smallest and least-consequential creations of God, is given the task of caring for creation. David, rather than asking “why” as he pondered man’s humble estate says, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” The same God who does things backwards from a human perspective–using the weak to shame the strong, coming in human form to Earth, the Hero who died for the Villain, and the One who told us the first shall be last–this very same God knows what He is doing, and has known what He intended to do since before He even started to create the Earth. The Wisdom that led to our existence from nothing is still at work. That eternal plan of God will come to pass, and whether we understand each step of that process or not, we can take comfort in that truth.
Child Catechism: What has God made man lower than? Angels.
Discussion: What are the similarities between Wisdom in Proverbs and Jesus Christ? What could this similarity teach us?
Prayer: Our Holy God, Your wisdom wrought words and brought the whole world into existence. Your ways are so abundantly higher than ours. However, we trust your promises to us and ask for your empowering to walk in obedience to your law, that the mouths of our children and children’s children would abound with praise for your great Name. In the Name of Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.