Wisdom by Brad Eubanks
This sermon was preached on November 8, 2020. You can watch it on the video below. To find out how you can join us live, click "Events & Gatherings" above to learn how.
Today, we have one of my favorite selections of Scripture bar none. Truly. We do. And, it's that reading from the Book of Wisdom.
The book of what you say?!
The Book of Wisdom. Also known as the Wisdom of Solomon. Let’s do what we did last week and turn to that holder of all knowledge, Wikipedia, to learn about wisdom…. So hold onto your seats, we are going to go on a Knowledge Journey!
“The Book of Wisdom, or the Wisdom of Solomon, is a Jewish work written in Greek and most likely composed in Alexandria, Egypt. Generally dated to the mid first century BC, the central theme of the work is "Wisdom" itself, appearing under two principal aspects. In its relation to man, Wisdom is the perfection of knowledge of the righteous as a gift from God showing itself in action. In direct relation to God, Wisdom is with God from all eternity. It is one of the seven wisdom books comprising the Septuagint, the others being Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), Job, and Sirach. It is included in the canon of Deuterocanonical books by the Roman Catholic Church and the anagignoskomena (Gr. ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα, meaning "those which are to be read") of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Most Protestants consider it part of the Apocrypha.
The book is addressed to the rulers of the earth, urging them to love righteousness and seek wisdom; the wicked think that all is chance and that they should enjoy each day, but they are deluded. In the second section Solomon (not explicitly named, but strongly implied) tells of his search for wisdom.
The Wisdom of Solomon can be linked to several forms of ancient literature, both Jewish and non-Jewish, but it belongs with biblical Wisdom books such as the Book of Job, one of only five such books among ancient Jewish literature. In terms of classical genre it has been identified as an encomium and with the Greek genre of the "exhortatory discourse", by which a teacher attempts to persuade others to a certain course of action.”
Thank you, Wikipedia.
Listen to that part again: “The book is addressed to the rulers of the earth, urging them to love righteousness and seek wisdom….”
What a timely piece of scripture to be placed right after the election of a new president, don’t you think? And remember, this is from the Revised Common Lectionary, which came out like 30 years ago, so the timing had nothing to do with our current culture, but I do like to think that maybe, just maybe, it was on the minds of those who created the lectionary.
So, what is Wisdom? I’m thinking maybe we should know that before we attempt a feat such as to seek it out, don’t you think??
Okay, let's go back to Wikipedia..
“Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.”
Huh. Well, that does sound like something great to seek out, doesn’t it? Also, for leaders especially. I truly believe what this world needs is more wise and discerning leaders. And not just political leaders...community leaders, church leaders, business leaders, all leaders!
Although, just taking political leaders… What would our world be like if all of the politicians and government officials loved righteousness and sought out wisdom!? This is what I pray for our incoming President-Elect and Vice-President-Elect, that they will love righteousness and seek wisdom in all that they do.
So, this brings us back to that scripture again. Listen to the words of it. Also, notice that I’m adding in a bit…. The reading continues past what is in the lectionary….
Wisdom is radiant and unfading,
and she is easily discerned by those who love her,
and is found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty,
for she will be found sitting at the gate.
To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding,
and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,
because she goes about seeking those worthy of her,
and she graciously appears to them in their paths,
and meets them in every thought.
The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction,
and concern for instruction is love of her,
and love of her is the keeping of her laws,
and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,
and immortality brings one near to God;
so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.
Wow, this also feels like something that is timely for a college student, does it not?!
See, I think that all of us are seeking wisdom at some level or another. I really do. Even when we do stupid things, in a sense, we are learning as we go...Remember that line in the wikipedia definition of wisdom, “experiential self-knowledge”? Yep, that is a fancy way of saying you know yourself, and a great deal of that knowledge comes from living and making mistakes.
This has been a long week, and I don’t have too much else to preach, but, I do ask...
As you go about your week, I want you to think about what your life would be like if you woke up every morning with the intention to seek out wisdom. Where would you find her?
Since 2013, Brad Eubanks has served as a chaplain on the campus of Northern Arizona University. To learn more and get in contact with them, visit the Leadership page of this website.