In a recent discussion with Ryan Collins he asked me if I have read the Book of Sirach. I have not, but I noted that it looked like another Book of Proverbs. He responded, “I refer to it as ‘Proverbs on the ‘roids’.” So the Book of Sirach is like the Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, or Barry Bonds of proverbial wisdom? Interesting.
I decided that I would read it, slowly.
The author begins by directing the reader to be totally dependent upon the LORD God for wisdom since all wisdom comes from God (1.1). Like the end of the Book of Job we are reminded how unwise we are without God (1.2-5). The only wise One is the One who is on the throne (1.6), the LORD who created wisdom (personified as a female, 1.7).
Since it is the LORD who does this we must fear him (1.8-11). Those who fear the LORD will be shaped in the womb to do so (1.12). Wisdom is the most honorable of women and she is described with many feminine attributes (1.13-18).
Those who receive her are depicted as patient, humble and slow to speak.
In our hyper-connected, wired for speed world these words convinct:
“A patient man need stand firm but for a time, and then contentment comes back to him.
For while he holds back his words, then the lips of many herald his wisdom.”
Why do I often feel obligated to speak quickly? Why do I often seek to have an answer that will settle the matter? Why do I want to get in my two cents before others?
Wisdom is slow to speak. She teaches us to take our time. If we stand firm we will find contentment and while we hold back our words those quick and shallow responses give way to patient, thoughtful, wise responses.
I want to be a person who allows wisdom to slow down my words to purify them.