When you think the bible, what thoughts come to mind?
Perhaps church, Christians, pastors, incense, singing, etc.
I think more often than not, what comes to mind is religious thoughts. Which is not a silly thing but an expected thing, I probably think similar things that you thought as well. But the bible is actually a non-religious book, strange statement to make. The thoughts that we have when we think ‘bible’ are minor parts of what the bible is about, they are not the major story. The bible’s major story is actually God and how He wants to relate to YOU. That’s the entire theme of the bible, even when we see those religious things we thought earlier, they are all in alignment to the theme of the bible. If God is to truly to relate to us, it can’t surely be a religious experience, it has to go beyond Sunday into our weekdays. Solomon is a bible book author that understood this and he wrote a book that powerfully illustrated this; the Book of Proverbs.
The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom, written by man whom the bible endows with the title of wisest man to ever live (after Jesus). Solomon was a wise man and a wise king, although he made a thousand mistakes (pun intended). What I find interesting is that in the book of wisdom, Solomon mentions wisdom for the first time in Proverbs 1:20, and what he says about wisdom is so irreligious and unexpected. He says “Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice;” this is peculiar because the streets and markets are the places we do our 9 to 5 and 6 to 8, they are areligious. Solomon is saying to us here that the wisdom of God is actually for every area of life, God is relevant to our 9 to 5 and 6 to 8. Someone once said that “if your religion is not relevant to your 9 to 5 then why are you in it.” I will extend it and say “if the bible is not relevant for non-Sunday lives, then why are we wasting our time with it.” So often Christians excel at being wise and spiritual (whatever that means) in religious settings but do very poorly at being work wise, business smart and relationship savvy. Surely the kind of wisdom that Solomon speaks about should impact Christian life beyond the religious settings. True wisdom from God impacts your everyday, not Sunday (alone), it impacts your work life, your relationships and business pursuits. Wisdom from God is really for the streets and much less for your sanctuary etiquette.
Solomon continues his explanation of wisdom by saying “at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:” (Proverbs 1:21). Solomon is saying that the wisdom of God is available to anyone who will listen to its cries, the wisdom cries to us continually in the streets and at the city gates. The city gates were the hub of commerce and activity in the ancient world, yet again emphasizing that this not the kind wisdom that leads to becoming monks but makes us more effective in our everyday lives. This wisdom cries at the head of streets and at the entrance of the city gate, in other words this is not wisdom that comes with time but with listening and it is available at the very start of anything. Solomon in his wisdom does make an acknowledgement that the streets are a noisy place, thus pointing to the fact that there are many distractions to walking in Godly wisdom and somewhat alternatives, hence why it is perhaps not as common thing to see Christians exercising Godly wisdom beyond Sundays. To be honest, I don’t even think even if I saw it (Christians exercising wisdom) I would be able to spot it because the kind of wisdom that Solomon speaks about can cry, it can talk, it’s personal to each individual. You see this is the kind of wisdom “we walk with” as we walk with God. That is why to attain it “you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs1:23). The cryings and calling of the wisdom are so that we can repent, which means to turn away from the ungodly things we are doing, thinking and saying, then follow godly wisdom. As we repent at the hearing of wisdom’s cry we will then have this wisdom that Solomon speaks about become a companion to us on the streets and in the markets and we will see a different kind of [_your career/business/etc_] wisdom, where our practices are phenomenally effective and clearly differentiable from conventional wisdom peers.
PS I believe Wisdom cries because, She is wise enough to see the end of those that dont walk with Her. And for those that walk with her, she makes them a phenomenal promise at the end of proverbs 1.
PPS Solomon also wrote another book which is also very good, it’s called Ecclesiastes.