In the first chapter of the book of Proverbs, beginning in verse twenty, wisdom is personified:
“Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.’”
When someone is standing out in a busy square shouting and calling out while people bustle all around and go about their own business, our typical response is to ignore them and go about our own business as well.
As a matter of fact, amid the “noisy streets,” as Solomon describes them here in the Book of Proverbs, it is surprisingly easy to tune out such a crier. Especially if you live in a big city and you see the same person out preaching or protesting every day, it could be easy to tune them out so thoroughly that you cease to even notice them.
The urgency of wisdom contrasts sharply here with the mundane business of those around her who are totally unconcerned.
Maybe we are guilty of tuning out wisdom as well. Maybe we have known what we ought to do and failed to do it for so long that foolishness has become our default. Wisdom does not even cross our minds anymore. Her cries blend right in with all the other noise.
Perhaps we just do not have time to sit down with Wisdom, while the world rushes by all around us, and listen intently to her appeal.
There may come a time when we have ignored her for so long that irreparable damage has been done.
“Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
And you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof;
I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.
They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof.
So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices.”