Wisdom’s Mug Shot

November 6th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 8: 12-16 (NLT)

 12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.
      I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil.
      Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
      corruption and perverse speech.
14 Common sense and success belong to me.
      Insight and strength are mine.
15 Because of me, kings reign,
      and rulers make just decrees.
16 Rulers lead with my help,
      and nobles make righteous judgments.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Last night, I was watching CSI Miami and absorbing the incredible display of acting talent.  One of the laboratory technicians was running some blood through a DNA database when they found a match.  The face that popped up on the screen was a scruffy, intimidating image . . . exactly what you’d expect from a crime drama criminal.  The woman working the case then made an interesting statement, “Now that’s a face only a mug shot could love.”

Ah, mug shots.  Most of us have never had them taken.  News stations love getting their hands on the mug shots of celebrities in trouble because the picture is never flattering.  At possibly the worst moment in someone’s life (or at least in their day), a police officer forces them to stand against a wall and “pose” for a photograph.  Yeah, now that’s some “photo opp”!  I’ve never seen a mug shot where the incarcerated individual is smiling or attempting to make a good impression.  Facial flaws, complexion issues, and dark circles under the eyes are all left unedited.  You wouldn’t expect to walk in a police station and catch an officer editing a criminal’s mug shot in Photoshop.  “Ah, now that’s better!  All it needed was a little sepia and a few touch-ups!  Now, that’s one beautiful murderer!”

Truth be told, a mug shot is probably the most accurate of photos because the individual facing the camera has no chance to primp or prepare.  They don’t stop by the restroom to fix their hair or adjust their wardrobe. They don’t get to shave or pick out their favorite outfit.  No, a mug shot is a raw image taken at a distinct moment in time.  It is unforgiving and unconcerned with any cover-up.  All in all, it’s pretty accurate.

This passage does just that for wisdom; it gives us an accurate image of what it is like.  Again, scripture gives personality to the inanimate wisdom so that the reader can better understand what she’s all about. Here, we can see wisdom if all things were equal.  No flowery illustrations.  No make-up artist or pastor giving additional shades to her characteristics.  No, what we see is what we get.

First of all, wisdom gives us the location of where “she” lives– with “good judgment.”  Hmm, that’s an interesting address, don’t you think?  Instead of a stationary, permanent address, we discover that wisdom is nomadic, wondering about through every aspect of life.  However, you can always find her when you look for “good judgment”.  Yeah, they’re roommates.  Have you ever been unable to locate someone?  So you call their roommate to get the lowdown.  In the same way, whenever you can’t seem to find that elusive wisdom, try asking her roommate “Good Judgment”— there’s a good chance she’ll help you track down wisdom.

Next, Wisdom gives us some details of her personal beliefs.  “Look, since anyone who fears and loves God will hate what is wrong, you should know that I hate “pride, arrogance, corruption, and perverse speech.”What’s the implication?  These things should be considered evil.  Hold on!  Where’s murder and adultery?  What about grand theft auto?  Those were the kinds of crimes that I expected wisdom to hate the most.  For that matter, pride and arrogance are found right here in my own church . . . maybe in my own life!  

Yeah, maybe you’re beginning to get to know Wisdom for who she truly is.

Let’s continue to process of “booking” Wisdom by looking at what’s in her pockets.  Hmm, a pack of gum. Lint.  Oh, and what’s this?  This looks like “common sense.”  Wait, here in the back pocket . . . I think that’s “success.”  Dude, she’s got all kinds of stuff here.  “Insight” and “strength”?  Man, Wisdom is loaded!  

It’s important that we interconnect the items that we’ve found on Wisdom because they go together. Common sense leads to success.  Now, I could write a book on that subject (consequently, I am at the moment).  What is success?  Well, instead of defining it by what we think it is, let’s let the other items show us.  Insight comes next.  Wow, what a treasure insight is!  Hard to cash in, but still a feature of those who are truly successful in life; notice I said successful, not necessarily wealthy.  Finally, success is also followed by strength.  Hmm, I kind of expected strength to come before success.  No, if we truly meet Wisdom, we learn that it is through Godly insight that we experience success and learn to be strong by the grace that He gives.  Seems backwards, doesn’t it?  Yeah, if we feel backwards, we’re probably in just the right place.

Finally, after running Wisdom through the computer, we begin to understand her influence . . . her accomplices.  “Kings, rulers, and nobles.”  Yikes, Wisdom is well-connected!  But notice that all of these rulers don’t necessarily have associations with Wisdom; only those who make “just decrees” and “righteous judgments.”  With the recent election, I think that we should all pray that our new President will befriend Wisdom; sounds like she’s pretty helpful.

Wow, Wisdom’s mug shot is pretty impressive.  She doesn’t need make-up or a second take.  Maybe if we all get to know her better . . . you know, become her accomplices . . . our mug shots will improve as well.

Book em, Dano!  Sorry, I just enjoy saying that.


~ by johndriver on November 6, 2008.

One Response to “Wisdom’s Mug Shot”

  1. I liked the statement you made about if we felt backwards we were probably in the right place. Wow. That is so true. I always have such a different view than what really takes place in my life. What I think is going to happen either just doesn’t happen, or it takes place in a completely different way. My point is, I cannot get comfortable at any moment. I will lose opportunities to be successfull, or to even gain strength! Perhaps God made this wisdom thing “backwards” because of that very reason. He knew that for my sake at least, I would not be as prepared because I would expect something totally wrong. I want to be on my feet ready for all of the supplies wisdom has in her pockets. I definitely want to be wisdom’s partner in crime! 🙂

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