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!