Proverbs 9:1-2 “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.”
To help us grasp the value of wisdom, Solomon pictures it as a lady working hard to prepare a feast. He contrasts her careful preparations with the carelessness of lady Folly, described later in the chapter as undisciplined and without knowledge. This lady Wisdom is someone special. She has something special to offer.
But what makes this wisdom of Proverbs so special? What makes her any different from the wisdom we can find in the wise sayings of Confucius, Socrates, or the world’s other great philosophers? This wisdom is a spiritual wisdom. It is described in another verse of Proverbs this way, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” True wisdom has a fear, a healthy respect, for the true God. It is knowledgeable about that God and the true way of salvation. This is a wisdom less concerned with the things that man does, more concerned with the things that God has done for man.
Unfortunately, what godly wisdom has to offer is considered foolish by a foolish world. For some it is just too easy. “You don’t get something for nothing. If I am going to get to heaven, I must have to pay something for it.” For others, the wisdom of God’s way of salvation is repulsive. They find the idea that the torture and execution of a Jewish rabbi thousands of years ago somehow satisfies an angry God’s dissatisfaction with me unappetizing, or just silly.
Whether people are willing to come or not, wisdom has prepared her feast. “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.” The house wisdom has built to shelter her guests is no ordinary house. It is built on seven pillars. You wouldn’t expect to see intricately carved stone pillars in front of a three-bedroom ranch house today. Pillars go into the construction of mansions. It was the same way in Solomon’s time. A house built on pillars has plenty of room.
It is also notable that seven pillars are used for wisdom’s home. Not eight or six, but seven. The Lord often uses the number seven to signify completeness. In seven days creation was complete and God could rest. The leper Naaman washed himself in the Jordan river seven times and was completely healed. Other examples could be given, from Genesis to Revelation. The house of godly wisdom is built on seven pillars, suggesting it is complete and perfect in every way.
We can find this feast of godly wisdom in God’s word–the Bible. It is a book large enough to house all that God wanted to reveal to us. It is the most widely translated, printed, and read book in history. A book without error or contradiction, we can rely on it with all our confidence.
What is being served at this banquet which wisdom offers? “She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.” Her feast includes the finest foods. This is more than bread and milk. She offers succulent meats and fine wines, foods to make your mouth water.
Our Lord makes opportunities to gain godly Wisdom just as tantalizing. The mixture of his message in song, word, and response at worship feeds us in such a way that we may say with David, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”
His word contains a rich variety of tasty food for the soul. Like an appetizer, the Law whets our appetite for true spiritual wisdom when it convicts us of sin and makes us hunger for forgiveness. The Gospel satisfies that hunger with a full course of God’s love as it reveals our Savior pouring out his blood on the cross and rising from the dead. Like desert, the Word makes our lives a little sweeter as it lights the path God wants us to follow and guides us through the dilemmas and decisions we face.
All of us—grade-schoolers, teenagers, singles, families, or seniors—find something tasty in God’s book. We will all find his wisdom applies to me!