Brightness Shines Forth

We continue our journey into wisdom literature with a deep dive into the Old Testament book of the Wisdom of Solomon. Biblegateway.com offers this introduction to this unique book:

One of the main lessons of Wisdom of Solomon is that retribution and reward are not necessarily received in the present life but are to be realized in the afterlife of the immortal soul. The Encyclopedia of the Bible says the book teaches that immortality, not material abundance, is the goal of the righteous, and one of the author’s contributions was the inauguration of an “other-worldly” perspective hitherto lacking in Judaism. The author also taught that individual righteousness is requisite for the enjoyment of blessing in the after-life of the soul.

Chapter 7 is probably one of the most exquisite examples of poetry in all of the Old Testament. In this passage, wisdom is again personified as a woman with special qualities. As you read it, try to make a word-picture in your mind. For those of us who are blessed to live on the coast, the images of bright suns, the arrangement of the stars, and the night following day speak directly to where we live.

What images do you see as you read this?

Wisdom of Solomon 7 (Common English Bible)

26 She’s the brightness that shines forth from eternal light. She’s a mirror that flawlessly reflects God’s activity. She’s the perfect image of God’s goodness. 27 She can do anything, since she’s one and undivided. She never changes, and yet she makes everything new. Generation after generation, she enters souls and shapes them into God’s friends and prophets.

There was no concept of the Holy Spirit at the time of this writing. It is easy for New Testament readers to make a connection between wisdom ”entering souls and shaping them into God’s friends and prophets” and the pentecostal power of the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples. Perhaps we can view this as a precursor to what Jesus left behind as he was departing the earth.

28 God doesn’t love anything as much as people who make their home with Wisdom. 29 She’s more splendid than the sun and more wonderful than the arrangement of the stars. She’s even brighter than sunlight, 30 for night follows day, but evil can never overcome Wisdom.

8 She stands strong from one end of the world to the other. She is a marvelous governor over everything in between.

Solomon held wisdom in very high esteem. I think it is important to realize that wisdom in his mind was not so much about gaining knowledge as it was attaining righteousness. That changes things. It invites us to read the scriptures not so much for information, but for transformation.

Where is God calling you to transform your life today? What changes is he asking you to make?

Wisdom never changes, but it has the ability to make everything new. May we seek her, and make our home with her. Evil can never overcome Wisdom….thanks be to God!

Sunrise Seekers by Michelle Robertson

Snap Judgement

In Malcolm Gladwell’s marvelous book Blink, he shares a story of a statue sold to the Getty Museum for ten million dollars. The museum spent fourteen months authenticating the statue. It met every standard of a sixth century BC kourous, a Greek statue of a nude boy standing with his left foot forward and his hands to his side. Less than 200 kouroi exist today, and most are in very poor condition.

The statue went on display and a group of museum experts from around the world were invited to the opening. Suddenly, there was a problem. It didn’t “look right” to some of the guests. An Italian art historian who served on the Getty’s board of trustees, a foremost expert on Greek sculpture, and the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York all agreed that something was “off” with the sculpture.

It was sent to Athens for further authentication, and immediately experts there had the same reaction. George Despinis, the head of the Acropolis Museum in Athens, said that he thought it was a fake because when he first saw it, he felt an “intuitive repulsion.”

Further testing was done…it turned out that the statue was a fake.

Gladwell calls the ability to make a snap judgement “adaptive unconscious.” He points out that our intuitive response to things, and how we come to a conclusion with little information in the first seconds of seeing something, is a gift we have but don’t use. I bet you’ve been in a situation where a truth is finally revealed and your first thought was, “I KNEW something was wrong!” Yet for some reason, you diverted your mind away from seeing the reality in front of you. Adaptive unconscious is a God-given ability that we somehow don’t trust.

As God reminded Job, the gift of insight comes from God alone:

Job 38:35-38 Living Bible (TLB)

36 “Who gives intuition and instinct? 37-38 Who is wise enough to number all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven, when everything is dust and clods?”

And Paul encourages us to seek God’s gift of spiritual knowledge and insight:

Philippians 1 Living Bible (TLB)

9 My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight, 10 for I want you always to see clearly the difference between right and wrong, and to be inwardly clean, no one being able to criticize you from now until our Lord returns.

I think we see, and then don’t want to see, so we look away. I have done this. I saw signs and symptoms of a problem that didn’t immediately add up. My gut told me one thing, but I couldn’t see what I was seeing. I was manipulated into a state of unbelief until the truth was revealed, and I realized, “I KNEW something was wrong.” I wish I had trusted my adaptive unconscious response and allowed God to show me the truth sooner. It might have averted some genuine pain later.

I think God calls us to a higher knowledge. I think God equips us with a Holy Spirit-informed insight. I think we look away because it’s too painful to see what is right in front of us.

What is staring you in the face right now that you are refusing to see? Where is God sending you signals and signs of warning? What is the truth you refuse to acknowledge?

Allowing God to speak truth by the power of the Holy Spirit through your insight will enable you to clearly see the difference between right and wrong, and to be inwardly clean. So open your eyes. Open your mind. Keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. And don’t blink.

Fall Moon by Mary Anne Mong Cramer.