By Bishop Gregory Cameron
Sex is still at the front of the thoughts of the writer of the Proverbs in Chapter 7 – a colourful picture of the perils of adultery, expanding on yesterday’s theme, but hinting at the contrast between wise and foolish ways to live. Not surprising then that in Chapters 8 and 9, there is one of the greatest pictures in scripture of wisdom. God’s wisdom in this passage is personified as a feminine virtue alongside God, calling people to maturity and understanding. It’s no wonder that the greatest Church in the Christian Byzantine Empire was dedicated to “Holy Wisdom”. Many people see a hint of Jesus in this passage, or the Holy Spirit, but the key verse is surely Chapter 9, verse 10: this is the road to a full life.
Many of the psalms focus on the enemies that threaten, and if we lived in a country where Christians are persecuted, these passages would come alive for us. Some of the early Christian writers thought that the enemies weren’t real people, but the sins that complicate our lives and let us down. Whichever way you understand the enemies in Psalm 12, the promise is clear, in the teaching of God’s words, there is advice that will give us confidence to face life.
In Ephesians 2, the apostle makes a contrast between the way things were, and the way things are because of God’s actions in Christ. It is a “before” and “after” picture. He speaks to new Christians who used to be outside of God’s promises to his people, far off and without a sense of God’s blessing. Through the actions of God in Jesus however – when Jesus takes up all the brokenness of the world in the sacrifice of the crucifixion – God’s mercy is poured out. In accepting that gift, sin is put to death, and we are raised with Jesus to new life.
Try and sum up the greatest lessons of living that you’ve gained in life – is this a reflection of Holy Wisdom?
What difference does being a Christian make to your life? How do the riches of God’s grace show themselves in your life?
Show me, Lord, the wisdom on which I can base my life. Help me to abandon things which are destructive to my well-being, and in your words and grace, to find nourishment for the future. Amen.
Bishop Gregory Cameron is Bishop of the Diocese of St. Asaph in Wales.