A feature of Pentecostal belief is an understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit, his gifts and the baptism in that same spirit. Graham concluded his series on the holy spirit last week. However, this week he looked at wisdom and the Holy Spirit in Proverbs 8.
The Holy Spirit did not first appear on the scene in the time of the apostles or during the lifetime of Jesus. The Trinity appears in the Old Testament in various ways and at various times.
Notice what Peter said in Acts 2:16
“No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…”
The disciples had an explanation concerning what the people were seeing at that time.
We see the disciple’s quote from Joel. It was relevant to the phenomenon they were experiencing and that other people were seeing then. But what else was in their national consciousness and in the history they carried in their hearts? One revelation they had concerning the Holy Spirit was the teachings concerning Wisdom. This Wisdom is revealed in scripture as something more than an idea or a matter of the human character.
1) Personification of wisdom
See Wisdom in Proverbs 1:1-7
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Here we see wisdom, in verse 7, as something to do with a person’s attitude to God. To be wise is to honour God. To be a fool (an atheist) is to reject wisdom.
In Proverbs 8, particularly verses 22 – 31, we see Wisdom spoken of as a person – what we term the personification of Wisdom.
The widely held conclusion after studying this Wisdom is that it is God who speaks here and it is therefore an Old Testament glimpse of the Holy Spirit.
From the beginning of the book of Proverbs we see Wisdom as a person. See verse 20 “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square…”
Some would claim that this merely a poetic device but this personification of Wisdom is so relentless that I, like many others, come to the conclusion that this is indeed speaking of a person, and that person was with God at the creation, and in some way was God.
Compare this thought with John 1:1-2
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
By looking at Proverbs after looking at John 1:1-2 we can see the similarity of language and we realise that here we have a glimpse of the triune God in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom speaks what is true. True because God is true and is therefore the measure of all that is true. Things are true because they are in tune with God who is the embodiment of truth.
The original word used for Wisdom is a female word
2) Relationship with Wisdom is offered
Why is it important to recognise this revelation about personification? Because this makes relationship possible with this person.
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.
Whether we see wisdom as referring to God generally or to the Holy Spirit more particularly, as I do, the invitation to relationship with this Wisdom is clear. If we, in our time, wonder at the spirituality of the ancient people of God, we have clues here. Theirs was not merely a religion of rules and regulations and strict observance, it included some sort of relationship with God. Their experience of the Holy Spirit would result in characteristics that marked them out as advanced human beings. This is what the Apostle Paul eventually categorise into a list that would come to be known as the Fruit Of The Spirit, see Galatians 5:16-23
3) Accepting the Invitation
It is our choice whether we will choose wisdom – whether we will choose the Holy Spirit.
See Proverbs 1:1-7 again.
“Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square…”
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favour from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”