May 18th 2018 – Proverbs 8:22-31

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

In these verses we have one of the most remarkable passages in the whole of the Old Testament. It is easy to see the underlying unity between these words and those of Paul in Colossians and John in the Prologue to his gospel. The thought is majestic and mysterious throughout, and it flashes and gleams with glory as we are taken back to the beginning of things, before creation. The word 'possessed' in 22 is perhaps best taken to have the same kind of meaning as the word 'begotten' in John 1:14 and 3:16, referring, in Christ, not to His creation, for He is not a created being, but to his eternal existence with the Father - what the theologians speak of as the eternal generation of the Son, proceeding from the Father, yet co-eternal with the Father. The phrases 'I was there' (27) and 'as one brought up with him' (30) underline this mystery in a wonderfully graphic way. The eternal co-existence of wisdom and God, and the equality between them make the identification between wisdom and Christ inevitable. The AV reading in 30, 'I was daily his delight' suggests a reference to the communion that exists between the Father and the Son before all worlds, that ineffable relationship that is given expression in the story of the Transfiguration, when the glory of the Son blazed forth on Mount Hermon. It was the passion of our Lord's life to do His Father's will, and in fellowship and communion with the Father that passion and love suddenly blazed out and He became, as it were, 'incandescent' with the glory of it. It is something of this ineffable relationship that is spoken of in this remarkable phrase in 30. There is another point in this connection, in the further reference to 'delight' in 31, and we shall look at it in tomorrow's Note.