Christianity 201

October 17, 2011

Prophetic Wisdom

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:27 pm
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When I was younger, I played a form of the “match game” with a set of cards identifying different species of birds.  The cards were actually a premium item when you purchased a particular brand of tea, though I don’t remember that much tea consumption going on.  I think some other people were saving them for us.

Many of the birds look very similar until you study the drawings more closely, but every once in awhile a card would turn up that you might have forgotten was in the deck.

I think the book of Proverbs functions in a similar fashion.  There are definitely verses — especially about the value of wisdom itself — that seem to repeat from chapter to chapter.  You could cut them out and shout “match!”

But then there are little nuggets of wisdom that are entirely unique, like the one I spotted this morning:

Unused fields could yield plenty of food for the poor, but unjust men keep them from being farmed.  (Prov 13:23, Good News Bible)

In a world where people get paid not to grow certain crops; in a world where we are told that we have sufficient food to meet world demand, but the issue is distribution; in a world where relief and development agencies ship grain overseas but corrupt political groups prevent it from being made available; in a world where all these things are happening at once, we see the Bible has already been there, it has already made the necessary observation.

So Proverbs — in a situation it somewhat shares with Psalms — remains essentially what it is, a book of wisdom, but sometimes speaks with a prophetic voice.  We look back at what some consider an ancient book, and with that book in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other, we discover the Bible already has the story covered.  

And we clearly see, in this one verse, that the problem is not overpopulation, or global warming, or economics; but injustice.

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