The Spirit of Wisdom
by Mike Herrnstein
“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?” –Proverbs 8:1
This Sunday we will be celebrating Pentecost. It corresponds with the Festival of Weeks in the Jewish calendar, also known as Shavuot (Leviticus 23). It commemorates the first fruits of the wheat harvest. It also commemorates the giving of Torah on Mount Sinai to Moses, fifty days after the Exodus.
In the Christian church, Pentecost marks the day of the gift of the promised Holy Spirit, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ; fifty days after our freedom from the slavery of sin. As with the Mosaic covenant in the Jewish faith, it is the new covenant in the Christian faith marking the birth of the Church.
What ties the law and the spirit together? It is the wisdom of God. But what is wisdom? I like to think of it as knowledge distilled through the passing of time and experience. But intellect doesn’t necessitate wisdom. Many of the wisest people I know were not intellectual giants. It’s hard to define. We can’t quantify it, which tells me perhaps it has a spiritual quality.
I seem to remember reading over the years the connection between wisdom and the Holy Spirit. The book of Wisdom was canonized in the early church when the Bible was put together. You can still find it in the Bibles of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Due to what I assume was stricter criteria, that book did not make the cut for our Protestant Bible. But in that book, Wisdom is personified in the feminine (which is an interesting question in and of itself…perhaps for another devotion? 🙂 ) Since Solomon was attributed to writing the book of Wisdom and the book of Proverbs (quoted above), I guess that would make sense.
Whether we model the Holy Spirit as wisdom itself or the bringer of wisdom or both, we can be certain there is a very deep and powerful connection. So as we thank God for the gifts of the Spirit this Sunday (which would include wisdom), it’s good to keep in mind that we need to be wise in all things by opening our eyes and ears to the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, guide us in this life. Hold our church together in the uncertain future. Thank You for providing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control so that we can share them with the world and introduce You. Amen.
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