Binge Reading the Bible: Wisdom Literature
Seven Sundays this summer, from July 7-August 25, 2019, we’ll follow a worship series called, Binge Reading the Bible.
This series takes its cues from our social obsession with binge-watching shows on Netflix and instead focuses on reading large chunks of the Bible all at once.
Who do you know who is wise? I think of wisdom in several layers. Sometimes it’s life experience that has helped to give us perspective. Sometimes it’s simply clear thinking. I also think wisdom has a spiritual dimension that allows room for God to inform our decisions, to help us to grow in knowledge that elevates life and inspires us and others. Wise people also help us see what is right and wrong with a perceptiveness we may be lacking at the time. This Sunday we talk about the wisdom books of the bible like Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. There is a perspective in these books that combines knowledge from life, the head and the heart. We hear a desire to know God and God’s ways. For instance, Proverbs has these wonderfully pithy sayings like “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight” (3:5) or “Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught” (3:25-26). The person who wrote these certainly knew something about facing the anxiety in life!
Books like Proverbs, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Job, offer a wisdom about life, our decisions and behavior and living as God wants. These books also entertain large questions, like why is there suffering? Or what meaning can we find in life and our work? Faithful people have been reflecting on these matters for millennia! What I also appreciate in these writings is the recognition that answers to the big questions of life cannot always be reduced to a simple formula. Wisdom also understands that how God works in our troubles and reflection is a complex matter.
Finally, I do enjoy the humor and slight sarcasm of Proverbs in contrasting the wise and foolish person: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7); “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (14:1); “Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly” (17:12). These words ring true: “The discerning person looks to wisdom, but the eyes of a fool to the ends of the earth” (17: 24). So let’s put our inclinations to foolishness aside. Sunday we look to God whose wisdom comes to us as we worship in faithfulness and love.
You’re encouraged to follow the 48-day Bible reading plan. Start today; it’s not too late!
Dave Summers, PhD
602-840-8360 Ext 131