Read Proverbs 9:1-12.
Skilled living gets its start in Fear-of-God. (MEV)
The Book of Proverbs is the Bible’s quintessential wisdom literature. Along with Job, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon or other wisdom texts, Proverbs identifies essential values and advocates faithful practices for human wholeness. In today’s passage Wisdom (personified as feminine, Sophia) bids we join her sumptuous banquet, its table replete with savory food and drink (cf. Isaiah 25:6-10) — a table Wisdom declares only fools refuse.
Admission to Wisdom’s generous banquet necessitates at least one caveat, however: fear the Lord. Few words better echo the tenor of our times than fear. Prowling and roaring like a lion across this viral wilderness (see 1 Peter 5:8, et al.), fear today is as pandemic as COVID-19 itself.
Wisdom’s form of fear however does not cower in hopeless dread or helpless defeat — roaring lions or not. Instead, Wisdom’s kind of fear is contingent upon humility — genuine humility sprung from an authentic, singular reverence that honors God. Wisdom’s is a reverential fear inspired by a thin place awareness where human smallness meets God’s greatness.
Sound medical science along with public health practices promise to ease COVID-19’s treacherous effects. Well-informed folks especially during a modern pandemic-plague take medical science seriously and practice healthy lifestyles accordingly. That’s smart work. But in addition to that informed, life-saving counsel Christian wisdom adds another vital, acquired skill: reverence toward God. Wise and faithful folk seek God still.
Creative-Sustaining-Redeeming Lord: grant us wisdom; grant us courage. Amen.
Rev. Bruce A. Chapman, D. Min., HR
Presbyterian Collegiate Ministries of North Carolina (PCMofNC)