August 19 – 12th Sunday After Pentecost
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Read Proverbs 9:1 – 10
Grace and peace to you as you learn from God’s past about your future, from God, our Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
During this Pentecost season, we have been looking at the Old Testament to see how God has taught us in the past about our future. Today we look at the 9th chapter of Proverbs, written by the wisest man ever to rule the kingdom of Israel, King Solomon. King Solomon humbled himself and asked God to give him the wisdom to rule over His people faithfully and God gave him great wisdom. In the book of Proverbs God through King Solomon reveals to us where that wisdom comes from and how it can be a part of our lives now and in the future. In the ninth chapter of Proverbs God through King Solomon tells us, “Wisdom has built her house.” (Prov. 9:1a)
Who and what is Wisdom? Well if you only look at the English version of the Old Testament you might be very confused by this statement because the English meaning of the word ‘Wisdom’ is the quality of having and showing good judgment, learning and knowledge. The word translated from Hebrew to English as ‘Wisdom,’ is a very unique word because it is one of the triplet words of the Hebrew language. Now all the triplet words of the Hebrew language refer to God in some way or another, because our God is a Triune God. In the Bible, Wisdom refers to our relationship with God – the Father. Wisdom comes from the Word of God – Jesus Christ who is the word of God that became flesh and blood and lived among us. Wisdom is the practical application of letting God’s Word go to work in our lives giving us knowledge of who God is, the redemption that God has purchased for us and the ability to live a new life in this world, which is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Wisdom, in the Bible’s understanding, is the work of God the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
So, what has God built in our lives? Well here again to understand what God is telling us through King Solomon’s words you have to understand that the word King Solomon used in Hebrew. When this word is used, God is going to build something for us. God promised to build an everlasting kingdom through the descendants of King David and that was fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born as a descendant of King David. God is promising to us and to all the world in these words that He will build an everlasting relationship with us and that happens when we let the Holy Spirit God to work in our lives.
So, who is the her or she referred to in these verses? It is each of us, all those who in faith are wrestling with God’s Word so that we can have a relationship with God our Father, come to know God better through His Son, Jesus Christ and strive to live according to God’s Word in our lives by the Holy Spirit working in us. The Old Testament writers often revered to the people of God as ‘Her’. The New Testament writers revered to God’s people as the bride of Christ and the Holy Christian Church or the Saints of God.
So, what is the house that God has built for us. A better translation is ‘tabernacle,’ for God is building a dwelling place with all of mankind, with us His people. In this place, we have a special relationship with God and as we dwell in this place God will give us His blessings. Where is this ‘house’ or ‘tabernacle’? It’s right here in this worship, as we listen to God’s Word and partake in His Sacrament. It is where we are dwelling right now and each time that we come together with fellow believers and let God’s Word become a part of our lives and let God’s Sacraments give us the blessings that God has given them to us for.
“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” (Prov. 9:1) The number seven is a unique number throughout the Bible. The number ‘seven’ refers to God’s work of perfection done in our lives. When the word seven is used in the Bible it is referring to God working in man or for man in a special relationship. So, we have the 7 days that God took to make all of creation for man. We have the 7 acts of that God the Son, Jesus Christ, did for all mankind to bring us back into the loving relationship with God that we were created for. That is (1)Jesus Christ was conceived in the virgin Mary to be like us; (2)He was born of the virgin Mary into this sin filled world like us; (3)He was baptized into our sins and yet He committed no sin in this world; (4)He suffered the punishment and even hell that we deserved because He took all our sins upon Himself; (5) He died on the cross of Calvary for us, abandon by God and man to pay the payment we owned for all our sins; (6) He rose again to life on the third day to give us the new relationship with God redeemed of all our sins; and (7) He ascended up to sit at the right hand of God to be our counselor before God now and our Judge on that final day. Yes, the seven pillars are hewn out to build our dwelling place with God and it also involves the 7 ways that the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word and Sacraments to bring us into our relationship with God once again. The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word and Sacrament to (1) call us back into the relationship that God created us to be in with Him; (2) the Holy Spirit through God’s Law and Gospel enlighten us in our need for a redeemer and how God’s love for us provided that redemption; (3) the Holy Spirit through God’s Word given us the knowledge of how God redeemed us of all our sins by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Only Son and our Savior; (4) the Holy Spirit bring us to believe in the salvation given to us and the new life we have through our relationship with God; (5) the Holy Spirit enables us to trust in the love and new relationship we have with God; (6) with the Holy Spirit working in our lives we can find joy in the midst of the sadness of this world because we have a hope that is beyond this world. (7) as the Holy Spirit works in our lives we are given the assurance of God’s love always with us now in this world and look to the future in the heavenly home prepared for us.
“She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.” (Prov. 9:2) God’s house is built and His banquet is ready for you and me and all the world to come and be a part of this fellowship that we were all created for. Jesus Christ came to be the Lamb of God who would be slaughtered so that all our sin would be taken care of, so that we could now wear the white robes of righteousness and be a part of the banquet that our King has prepared for us. But not all of the people of this world believe the words that Jesus tells us just like they didn’t in His time. For He tells us, “Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6:54- 58)
Yes, God’s house is built and the banquet is ready but where are the people so that the banquet hall is full? King Solomon tells us, ‘She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town,4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says,5 “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”’ (Prov. 9:3 – 6)
Who are the “young women” sent out to call the people? They are the servant of God who have come to know the wisdom of God working in their lives. That’s you and me, that all of us who have come to know the new relationship that God has built in our lives. That relationship has to be share because it is living and growing in us. So, we go out to the world around us and call to the world that they too may take part in the banquet of God and find shelter in the house that God’s Wisdom has given to us. Who are we calling? We call to everyone but only the simple, those who know that they are sinners and need help will answer. We are all once simple, but through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we have come to the Wisdom of God’s love for us and strive to leave our simple ways for the insight of God’s love, forgiveness and the new life He gives to us. We too have heard the call of others to us and have come to live and walk in the ways of the wisdom of God, for we have come to understand just how great God’s love is for us. We have come to the house that the wisdom of God has built for us and we have eaten of the banquet prepared for us by God.
As we go out into the world and call others to come to the house and banquet of God we will discover just what King Solomon tells us will happen, “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. 8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” (Prov. 9:7-9)
The world hasn’t changed they will scoff, ridicule and persecute the wisdom that comes from God but our new relationship with God has given us a reason to continue to call out to them and invite them to the banquet that God has prepared for all of us, for all our actions are all built by our relationship with God and that relationship bring us to call others to come and join us who once were simple like them, but now have been given the wisdom of God as we continue to eat and drink at His banquet table.
So, we call others and know that the Holy Spirit is working through God’s Word and Sacraments to bring all those who are simple and follow the simple ways of the world to, come to fear God and as King Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Prov. 9:10) Amen.