“At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet,
she takes her stand, beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud. (v.2)”
Who is she? Wisdom! In Chapter 8 Wisdom speaks out, calls out raising her voice to us. I find it interesting that Wisdom does not position herself in a library standing among the books of knowledge nor does she position herself in the Temple among all the religious traditions we comfort our souls with. She is public, where paths meet, where we come to crossroads and must make decisions. Wisdom is there in the crises of our life that force us to dig deep within ourselves and often force us to seek help from others.
When I hear that Wisdom is positioned at the city gate, I think of the story of Ruth from the Old Testament. She was a foreigner, a refugee, who followed her mother-in-law Naomi who chose to return to her home town, Bethlehem, after the death of her own husband and her sons, Ruth’s husband. Ruth stood at a crossroad – stay in her own country and try to start life over or go with Naomi to a foreign place. She chose the uncomfortable road of being a foreigner. The choice necessitated lead to gathering, gleaning, in the fields and collecting the leftovers for the poor. We might say she went to the food shelf to survive. Boaz decided to marry Ruth and went to the city gate to speak with the elders and made the decision public and legal. The city gate is another place of crossroads, of legal decisions.
This Proverbs’ verse fleshed out in Ruth’s story makes me think that it is in the decisions of life when I must choose a path that I have an opportunity for Wisdom to speak into my life. On what basis do we make those tough decisions, popular vote or do we looks to principles that draw us closer to experiencing God? Ruth declares, “Your God will be my God!” Secondly Wisdom speaks through the group of people that legitimize and legalize our decisions. I do not believe God calls us to be a Lone Ranger fighting all the people we admire and love. Boaz went to the city gate and Wisdom sits at the city gather, speaking through responsible community and leaders who counsel us. Perhaps we might also add that Boaz was redeeming Ruth, protecting her, and not trying to take advantage of her.
So let’s take a moment and thank God for the wise people in our lives to whom we can go in crisis. It’s hard to admit we need help but we do and it is at those moments that Wisdom wants to speak into our lives.
The chapter goes on to tell that Wisdom was one of God’s first creations and she was there from the very beginning before the creation. Her depth of experience is massive. She has seen it all and is a good advisor! Blessings at your crossroads.