Articles

Wisdom and Pride

8 March 2021

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 1:20-22

The market is a crowded, public place where everyone in the community needs to go. It is there that wisdom cries aloud and raises her voice.

Why the marketplace? The reasons one could infer are visibility and accessibility. Anyone and everyone can see and hear - if they actually wanted to - even those who aren't specifically seeking her are going to encounter her, at least by accident.

Wisdom does not hide itself. It is clear and present. Even those who don't seek it will stumble into it, at times. The only way to completely avoid wisdom is to purposefully ignore it.

When the apostle Paul was in Corinth, he said he proclaimed the “testimony of God” not with “lofty speech or wisdom.” And he further emphasized that his “speech” (logos) and message were proclaimed not with words of wisdom but “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:1, 4). In fact his proclaiming (declaring, preaching, teaching) was only on one thing and one thing only - “Jesus Christ and him crucified!”

This was considered to be crude and unsophisticated, such that it was rejected by the “rulers of this age.”

Wisdom is not heard or ignored whilst simplicity is rejected out of hand. What’s wrong with these people?

Pride.

G. K. Chesterton, an English philosopher and theologian, says, “If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be a sermon against pride”. C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity writes, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” And, of course, wisdom is from above.

The desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father (1 John 2:16) but they will deafen your ears to the cry of wisdom.

Rev. Robert Chew