Pro 8:1 Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice!
Pro 8:2 On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.
Pro 8:3 By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
Pro 8:4 “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.
Pro 8:5 You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.
Pro 8:6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right,
Pro 8:7 for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.
Pro 8:8 My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
Pro 8:9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.
Pro 8:10 Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.
Pro 8:11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
Pro 8:12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
Pro 8:13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
Pro 8:14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.
Pro 8:15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.
Pro 8:16 Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
Pro 8:17 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
Pro 8:18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
Pro 8:19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!
Pro 8:20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice.
Pro 8:21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
Pro 8:22 “The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.
Pro 8:23 I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.
Pro 8:24 I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
Pro 8:25 Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born–
Pro 8:26 before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
Pro 8:27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
Pro 8:28 I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth.
Pro 8:29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
Pro 8:30 I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.
Pro 8:31 And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
Pro 8:32 “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
Pro 8:33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
Pro 8:34 Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!
Pro 8:35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.
Pro 8:36 But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
Proverbs takes us into a new form of study. In his unique form of poetry, Solomon used a series of contrasts to teach a number of lessons. This is the only series of prophecies I identified in Proverbs. I’m sure there are more. This study will give you the basic information to identify, mark key words, and find scripture recording their fulfillment.
The first step is to identify key words and highlight them. Key words are those which are the same, similar, or related. The next step in this chapter is to divide the chapter into individual prophecies. This is a new step discussed in this book. Previous books in this series discuss locating fulfillments and parallel chapters in great detail. Finding the parallel chapter to the prophecy in Proverbs 8 is easy once you highlight and identify the key words. Two sets of them, hear and listen along with understand take us right to two possible chapters. Both of them contain the parable of the sower, or farmer based on the translation. In this study we’ll use Mark chapter 4 because the summation brings out a point stressed in Proverbs 8.
Mark 4:23-25 NLTse Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (24) Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. (25) To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
Once we look at and compare the colors highlighted, these two chapters light up along with the many texts we can compare. Proverbs 8 talks about roads leading into a town and crossroads. When we look at the context in Mark 4 it takes a little understanding of the culture to see the connection between crossroads and a lake. Fisherman use what? Boats. Let’s look at the introduction in Mark 4 to see how the author established the theme.
Mark 4:1-3 NLTse Once again Jesus began teaching by the lake shore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. (2) He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: (3) “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed.
Notice how the word boat is repeated? This draws our attention to the key word boat. Also notice the word shore is repeated. Look at the culture of the people Jesus is reaching out to at that moment in time. How do you think fisherman got around? Do you think they walked from town to town on the road or got in their boats to drift or sail to the next town? The shoreline has the same meaning as a crossroad to people in a fishing village. Now we learned the lesson of looking at and comparing key words to see the spiritual meaning. God did this for a reason. Discovering details like this reminds us God’s ways, imagination, and attention to detail is is far greater than ours. This also shows how God’s Spirit prepared each message to be openly received by an individual or group based on where they are in their understanding and how they are capable of receiving that message.
Now think of it. I’m sure you won’t argue prejudice exists all over the world in one form or another. A lot of people look at fishermen as ignorant, or at least not as intelligent as a lot of people these days. Well I’m sure all those people in the fishing village saw how Jesus used the shore line as a symbol of a crossroad long before most people realized it. With God’s Spirit the weak become strong. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
Jesus taught in a boat to teach a number of lessons. There’s no doubt Jesus chose a boat so He would not stand above the people He was teaching. Water has the physical characteristic of remaining level when it is not disturbed by other forces. The lake had to be lower than the land the people were standing on. The land had to raise up higher than the water Jesus was on. So the people were looking down on Jesus. This showed the humble way Jesus taught. Imagine the King of kings and LORD of lords taking a lower position to teach. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. Jesus never had a need to exhibit His power. That wasn’t the reason He came to this world.
This makes you think. Was the shoreline a gentle sloop or steep? The Romans adopted the concept of looking down in the coliseums they built. Rome looked down on the slaves and Christians made to suffer and die for their entertainment pleasure. Was Jesus inserting a clue, another prophecy here? “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God.”
This also makes you think about the time Jesus taught on a mountain. Did Jesus stand at the top and talk down to His listeners or did He stand at the bottom and talk up to them? Did Jesus choose a mountain to have those people stand at the top closer to God? When Moses talked with God, Moses looked up to God who occupied the highest position. In His own humble way, Jesus showed us His role of a servant by taking the lower position when teaching. Jesus didn’t take the position reserved for God and the position reserved for Jesus after He secured redemption for this world.
Jesus chose a humble position to teach. No one had time to prepare the boat with fancy decorations or flowers which would have distracted from the simple symbols Jesus used. Was the water calm? The slightest wave would have made the boat rock. James and his brother John took positions at the front and back of the boat to steady it. Their efforts afforded a degree of success, but did little to offset the effects of the waves on the water. No need to fret, this was part of the lesson Jesus was teaching that day. We see that lesson in the summation.
Mark 4:35-41 NLTse As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” (36) So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). (37) But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. (38) Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (39) When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. (40) Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (41) The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
It took a while but Jesus’ disciples finally saw who controlled the elements. After witnessing the event they still didn’t understand the complete lesson. “The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born– before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family! “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.”
The disciples had a difficult time accepting Jesus as God’s Son, as the Messiah promised in scripture. The disciples and everyone else spent their lives looking for a Messiah to come and wipe out their enemies. It was hard to see Jesus as the Messiah because He didn’t fit the accepted mold. In trying to interpret scripture, the priests and Pharisees created an image to worship an image that wasn’t God at all. They thought it was God, but their earthy desires twisted the plainest prophecy into something they wanted it to say. It’s sad to think, most of the modern day interpretations on future prophecy still follow the same man made rules of interpretation the priests and Pharisees used. No one could see the true interpretation of scripture until after it was fulfilled. “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
When we study about learning the mysteries written in scripture, one story stands out. Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 NLTse). Why did Jesus have to wait until after His resurrection before revealing all the prophecies about Himself? Was it because the disciples wouldn’t listen while He was still alive? Was it because their minds were clouded by commonly accepted misinterpretations on over 300 prophecies about the Messiah? Was it because this is God’s way of revealing the proper interpretation to His prophecies? I think it is the later.
What happens to our faith when we walk around thinking we know the future? What do we need God for when we think we have all the answers? Sure we can point to scripture and say, “we still need Jesus so He can forgive our sins.” But what happens to the relationship part of the equation? Notice what Solomon wrote about wisdom. “Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!” What does it mean to watch daily? I’m sure this is what Jesus was trying to explain when He said: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:33-34 NLTse). Jesus also told us: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.” (Matthew 7:3, 10:19 NLTse). This all points to one thing. Jesus is showing us how important a day to day, minute to minute relationship with God is. If we don’t have it, we’re basically on our own.
Finding knowledge and wisdom is easy for those with a close relationship with Jesus. It’s nothing short of a mystery for those who choose to depend on themselves. It’s a choice each of us has to make. It’s more than a choice, it’s a day to day, minute by minute struggle to put away yourself and learn to trust fully in Jesus.
It’s not a big surprise that the order of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled turned out this way and this book begins with the lesson on the sower. Proverbs 8 pointed out one main feature in Mark chapter 4 – wisdom. I could add another 8-10 pages to look at the spiritual meaning of the symbols in that parable. I could tell you all about the stoney ground and the weeds. I could tell you how scripture provided a concise spiritual definition for each. But what would that accomplish? Real knowledge is the ability to gain experience which produces wisdom. The goal of this book is to introduce you to basic and what the world may term as advanced Bible Study rules and concepts. In other words equip you with the ability to study on your own and taking that knowledge to the next level, teach others how to study on their own.
I know there are a lot of people who use this information for free from my website. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, that’s what it’s there for. I also know book sales are slow to nonexistent when a price is attached to those books, but soars when I offer the books for free. What does that tell me about Christian faith and belief in giving?
The most important part of the tithing system was so priests could see to the needs of the poor, elderly, widows, orphans, and strangers. What do we get when we look at that from a spiritual nature? What about those who are poor in the spiritual nature? Most Christians tithe to support a church. A building most likely made of cement, brick, stone, wood, and steel. What does this do to support the needy? Sure a portion goes to help needy people, but the vast majority is to cover overhead. Was this what God wanted? Does God want us to work 6 days a week to support a building made of brick and wood?
I’ve donated much more in funds to independent ministries I support than I’ve made on book sales. I’ve given hundreds of books away and granted rights for literature evangelists and other private ministries to sell books and keep all the proceeds. They set the price or give them away. Supporting God’s Word and helping to spread the Good News is much more than buying and maintaining a building. I’d hope you’ll pray about this. If you like this book, please take a few minutes to add a review. Think about buying extra copies – maybe your pastor could use one or members of your family. Ebooks are kind of risky, requiring a certain amount of faith and trust in human nature. Since this is a book for Christians, it shouldn’t be a problem expecting people to do what’s right.
Looking back on this study, I’d like to point out another key word, responsibility. Look at Solomon’s prophecy here. It all boils down to responsibility. You can choose to gain knowledge but using it in the proper way is a responsibility. Do you think Solomon acted correctly all the time using the knowledge God gave him to better his home, community, kingdom, not to mention introducing the world to God? What about Jesus’ disciples? They seemed to miss more than they learned and remembered. Jesus repeated a number of lessons because the disciples didn’t pay attention to the first event. A number of times Jesus tried to explain the scriptures about Himself. Each time the disciples had something they thought was more important. We have all this information clearly written out for us. All we need to do is act responsible enough to put it all in order. All it takes is time. The ability to work with others helps. Working together or alone does not neglect your responsibility to listen for God’s commands and preform the duties He gives you.