King Solomon's Mines - Part 6
It’s time to get back to basics. For the past five issues we’ve been looking at the meaning and application of some of King Solomon’s wise words in the Book of Proverbs. But there is an added dimension to the Book of Proverbs.
A few years ago I read that not only is Jesus everywhere in the New Testament but he also is everywhere in the Old Testament. I thought that’s stretching it a bit – where is he in the Book of Proverbs? Jesus is not even mentioned once. I couldn’t see one specific prophetic reference to him. The book is a rich treasure house full of wise sayings about how to live our lives - but Jesus? Where is he?
After some in-depth studying I discovered that Jesus is, yes, everywhere in Proverbs! But is that really possible? Where exactly is he?
Let’s first consider something we learn about Jesus from the New Testament. When he was just twelve years old he amazed the teachers of the law when he engaged them in a theological dialogue. Everyone was amazed at his understanding and answers. Luke concludes this account with these words; “Jesus grew in wisdom....” (Luke 2:52). His teaching also revealed his wisdom: When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!” (Mark 6:2). Jesus also often taught in parables. The Greek word translated as “parable” in the New Testament is a translation of the Hebrew word for “proverb”. Jesus was not only a teacher of wisdom - he lived the book of Proverbs during his earthly ministry.
But there is much more to this! The truth is awe-inspiring.
In the Book of Proverbs we have three distinct types of wisdom. First of all we have God’s wisdom. God knows everything. Secondly, there is the wisdom among people. This is submitting to God’s wisdom and achieving goals in the strength of God. But there is another wisdom which we read about everywhere in the Book of Proverbs. I’m sure you have noticed that wisdom is often portrayed as a person. For example in Proverbs1:20-24 wisdom is personified as a lady calling aloud in the streets, begging us to listen to her. In other parts of Proverbs, wisdom makes claims for herself which are elsewhere made only by, or for, God. For example there are many proverbs that parallel verses in the Gospel of John.
Here are just a few:
• The Word was in the beginning and was with God (John 1:1)
• Wisdom was in the beginning
• The Word was with God (John 1:1)
• Wisdom was with God (Proverbs 8:30)
• The Word was co-creator (John 1:1-3)
• Wisdom was co-creator (Proverbs 3:19)
• Christ is life (John 11:25)
• Wisdom brings life (Proverbs 3:16)
Do you see what this means? Jesus wasn’t only wise and a teacher of wisdom, Jesus is wisdom! Further proof of this is found in 1 Corinthians 1:24: “Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God” (NLT). So in the Book of Proverbs we don’t only meet the wisdom of God – we meet wisdom who is God.
But the news keeps on getting better. Not only is Jesus wisdom but Jesus is in us and we are in him. (John 14:20; 1John 4:15,16) This is about an intense union we have with the Triune God. It’s not about us trying to be wise like Jesus but it’s about Christ himself living in and through us (Galatians 2:20) and therefore enabling us to be wise. He is ever present to our inmost selves not only as the strength but also the wisdom. And Jesus invites us to draw on his wisdom within us in every situation we find ourselves.
Eternal infinite wisdom
This is difficult to grasp but surprisingly a hot cup of tea can help us understand this better! To make tea we place a tea bag into a cup and add boiling water. Then we wait as the tea brews. During this time the water and tea blend together. In times past some people would say “I’m going to fuse some tea” which is a perfect description of the process because “fuse” means to join or blend to form a single entity. When you drink the tea you are not really drinking tea because the tea-leaves remain in the tea bag. You are really drinking “tea-water” – the tasteless water that has been fused with the rich strength of the tea and made available for you to enjoy. In our union with Christ we do not become him anymore than the water becomes the tea leaves, and he does not become us, but fuses our bland empty lives with his rich eternal life that the world might taste of him through our lives.1 We have been joined to Jesus Christ which means we are joined to eternal infinite wisdom.
Colossians 2:3 reveals to us that in Christ “lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” “Hidden” does not mean that they are concealed but rather that they are stored away as a treasure. God has opened the lid of the treasure chest and says go ahead, take what you need. It’s all there. The treasure of wisdom is accessible to us! Some people are constantly looking for new “things”, going from one religion or experience to the next, trying to find the world’s treasures of wisdom. But Jesus has all the treasure. All you need is Jesus. Without him we are fools. Everything is in him. Believe it. Accept it. Accept this priceless truth and let this wisdom come to you and into you by the Holy Spirit and in so doing become a wise person.
Yes, Jesus fulfilled the entirety of the New Testament and the Old Testament – the Law, Prophets and Writings (Wisdom). He is the wisdom of scripture!
1 I am indebted to Malcolm Smith for this analogy in his book “The Lost Secret of the New Covenant”.