The most meaningful and purposeful event that happened in this writer's nearly 66 years of life was finding Jesus Christ on June 10, 1979. As a matter of fact, He found me. I was the one who was lost.
The second most important advancement took place on May 29, 1983, when I married Cynthia Lou Goostree. Solomon puts the right words to it: "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers, and a prudent wife is from the Lord" (Prov. 19:14). In Proverbs 12:4a he writes, "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband," indicating that it's not physical beauty—although my wife Cindy is beautiful— but her steadfast, devoted character that causes her husband's heart to trust in her all of his life (see Prov. 31:11).
In his two-volume, The Book of Proverbs, the authoritative classic that took him 30 years to write, Dr. Bruce K. Waltke says of the Proverbs 31 wife: "Her commitment to her husband's well-being is true, not false; constant, not temperamental; reliable, not fickle; and discerning." He adds: "The proverb assumes that her husband himself is pious and prayerful, wise and righteous, kind and generous, sacrificing himself for her good and not self-serving."
A noted evangelical professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Waltke (born 1930) holds a doctorate in Greek and New Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary and a doctorate in ancient Near Eastern languages and literature from Harvard. He is considered the foremost living authority on the wisdom literature of the Old Testament.
In addition, it's worth noting that his landmark exegesis, Genesis: A Commentary, won the 2002 Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year award, and his An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical and Thematic Approach, received an Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Christian Book Award in 2008.
Some 11 years ago, in 2009, God positioned Waltke in my life. I was reading about the tenderfoot Solomon's rise to power in 1 Kings 3:5b, when the God of Israel came to him with a blank check: "Ask what you want from Me." Solomon asks for "an understanding heart [wisdom] to judge Your people" (1 Kings 3:9).
The Lord responds by saying, "Because you have asked this and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself wisdom so that you may have discernment in judging, I now do according to your words. I have given you a wise and an understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you in the past, and there shall never arise another like you" (1 Kings 3:11b-12). And so the Lord blessed Solomon with the wisdom that can be found in the book of Proverbs. Thankfully, God places His cookies on the bottom shelf so all will have access. British Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner (1913-2008) commented, "What wisdom takes is not brains or opportunity, but decision. Do you want it [God says]? Come and get it."
Spiritual wisdom has to be acquired. It is neither inherited nor intrinsic. And what's more, for those who gain this kind of wisdom through their efforts, it comes with a promise expressed in Proverbs 4:8: "Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her." The additional gain of exalting wisdom is that it lifts one to "high station," "societal status," "public square authority," bringing about what Solomon would describe as enabling "kings to reign and rulers to decree justice."
As Dr. Waltke elucidates: "Wisdom's communicable attributes enable one to sway nations. These verses assume administration by wise persons, not by an impersonal code of laws. 'Wisdom,' 'shrewdness,' 'discretion,' 'counsel,' 'resourcefulness' and 'heroic strength' enable rulers to decree (Heb. 'to fix, to determine')."
Professor emeritus of Hebrew and Semitic studies Michael V. Fox states, "Wisdom will grant you a splendid diadem and shield you." And: "God's protection is not a reward extraneous to the knowledge, but rather a consequence intrinsic to it."
Dr. Waltke's forthcoming Proverbs: A Shorter Commentary seeks to capture the essence of his two-volume classic with the goal of accessibility to a wider audience of students, pastors and Bible readers who are searching for God's hidden treasures buried in the depths of Scripture.
After all as Dr. Waltke says, "Wisdom cannot be bought—not because it is so expensive, but because no valuables can be compared to it. Wisdom belongs to a different category of value and hence cannot be acquired in this fashion."
For the Gideons and Rahabs entering the public square, it'll be a wise idea to read up on Dr. Waltke's Proverbs: A Shorter Commentary. To preorder Proverbs: A Shorter Commentary please click here.
David Lane is the founder of the American Renewal Project.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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