“The Lord begot me, the beginning of his works, the forerunner of his deeds of long ago, From of old I was formed, at the first, before the earth… there was I beside him as Artisan. And I was His delight daily, Rejoicing always before Him”-Proverbs 8:22-23,30
Wisdom was with the Lord as the Universe we experience came into being. If the Godhead were an artist Sophia would be the canvas. She is the formless void imbibed with all the potential for life to be. We could easily paint this as the reason for all of the particles and forces comprising the observable universe being interconnected. Think about how every particle is a wave in existence with an awareness of every other particle of the wave there is. Everything exists in a wave of infinite possibilities until we observe them causing them to collapse into particles we can physically see. Since the wave functions between particles collapse at a rate faster than anything we know of the moment they’re observed science has concluded that everything in the Universe shares a singular source- an “I”- awareness observing the activity on Her.
“When He fixed the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him as Artisan.”
In the formless, inconceivable void that existed before the world could be God created Wisdom. She is the governing principle that represents the very Soul of existence itself. But for a brief moment in cosmic time she was the only companion of the Godhead. Proverbs describes Her as Gods delight playfully interacting with Him before anything else was made. We see this joyful interaction of laughter and delight taking center stage as creation as we know it came into being.
Moreover, King Solomon made Wisdom a central theme in his works. Look at the instructions he gives his son in Proverbs 2:
“to seek Her like silver, and like hidden treasures search her out, then you will understand the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of God you will find.
Solomon places an emphasis on the act of seeking and the Wisdom being sought being deeply interconnected. He was instructing his children the same hidden Wisdom of God he was taught by his Father.
Even then, we almost have to hear the words in a way we can culturally understand. Eckhart described this spiritual sight by saying:
“The eye through which I see God, and the eye through which God sees me is the same eye.”
If only we were as diligent in searching the depth of our souls to find God as we are in our search to accumulate wealth and status. Of course, the only real difference in those searches is the latter tends to be accompanied by action. We have our professions and status because we put in the effort to learn what we needed to know and applied what we learned to our field of interest. This is what Solomon is telling us to do.
Finally, we see the phrase yirat jehovah (יהוה יִרְאַת) “fear, or awe of the Lord.” Solomon uses this phrase 14 times in his Proverbs. Granted we should probably fear the ruling power behind existence and hold it in reverential awe but this verse goes a bit deeper than that. It’s not like the mere act of respecting God gives us instant access to all of the accumulated wisdom of the cosmos anyways.
Solomon wrote yirat- fear with two nouns. When a noun precedes another noun, the first noun is in the construct state, meaning it is connected to the second noun bringing the two together to form a single concept. When a feminine noun ending with the letter ה, such as yirah-יִרְאָה, is used in the construct state, the ה is converted to a ת, in this case it becomes ‘yirat’ (יִרְאַת). This is a similar dilemma to the one we found in the opening line of Genesis. Our fear/awe of the Lord being intimately connected to how we exist.
The root word for yirat is- יָרָא yara “flow, as in the sense of flowing – or flowing from the gut.” Well… what does the sense of water flowing out of our gut have to do with the fear of the Lord? This sense of flowing is found throughout the Hebrew scriptures and is riddled with these same sorts of noun-noun constructs. Ru’ahh EloHim (יהוה רוּת) “Spirit of God” being the one relevant to our discussion here. This is the same Spirit of God that hovered over the water in Genesis 1:2 that we discussed flowing through the primordial chaos before creation came into being.
We experience this flowing of God as a gut feeling. The still, small voice that acts as a moral compass when we may be making a mistake with devastating consequences flows from deep within us right. This is the Soul of the Universe speaking through the essence of our material form
“The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.”-Proverbs 14:27
What Solomon is saying is that the beginning of Wisdom is to be totally immersed in the Living waters of Spirit that flows through the very core of our being and give us life. When we fear God and show our reverential awe towards him we are illustrating our respect for the life force within us that flows from Him. In cultivating feelings of admiration and respect for God we are preparing our hearts to enter into relationship with Him.
This is MYSTICISM101 here. We settle ourselves into our heart spaces and we prepare to encounter God. That’s how it starts. You’ll see it as a few minutes of morning meditation and devotional first thing in the morning. Maybe a couple of minutes reading a motivational parable on your lunchbreak. A few minutes of light reflecting on the day accompanied by reading a few paragraphs of philosophy. Whatever the rhythm you start to develop looks like it will eventually gain momentum. You’ll start seeking the silver linings and search for those moments to treasure. Morning routines expand and it just becomes a part of you.
Then you get to play connect the dots with all of the cool kids you met on the internet who are just as abnormally nerdy as you are. There’s a lot of knowledge to be found in that. Peace be with you dorks! Virtual hugs!
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