Thursday, August 7, 2014

wisdom cares

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. 

Proverbs 31:8-9

Proverbs 31, the boon or bane of every Christian women's conference of the last half century (depending upon your viewpoint), has a lot more to it than just the "virtuous wife" litany. I've never spent much time looking at the first nine verses. In my haste to jump on the bandwagon of biblical feminity theology, I missed some really important truth.

This last chapter of Proverbs is the record of the sayings taught by "King Lemuel's" mother. It's mom's advice. And it is really, really good. She warns her son the king not to abuse his power or waste his position in personal excesses. It's pretty good stuff. And one firm warning is to be sure to apply royal power to help meet the needs of the lowest of his subjects. His justice would be real only if it extended to the rights of the impoverished, the neediest of his citizens. She seems to insist that a king is only as good as his mercy and power will help the poor.

This strong note of social justice ties wisdom to practical impact and societal change. Real wisdom, when applied to my life, will seek to use my efforts and my influence to make life better for others. Wisdom is not consumed with personal enrichment. Wisdom that honors God also loves people made in God's image. And it will seek to frame a society in that truth and mercy.

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