Anglican Morning Devotion for 5 December 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
17The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. 18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:16-19; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
All Wisdom comes from God and the upright will be guided by that wisdom in the way that they walk. There is always a choice either between the HIGHWAY of the upright or the MAELSTROM of the unrighteous whose vortex forces only drag us into the very depths of the sea.
God’s Word is pure wisdom undiluted. It is our Star to guide us. The Magi traveled desert, mountain, and barren wilderness following the Star that heralded the Coming Christ; however, as they neared Jerusalem, they took their focus off the Light of the Star and, instead, focused on the manmade lights of the city and the king’s palace. Once they left the gates of the city, they again saw the Star and followed it to Bethlehem. Man’s wisdom is not wisdom at all but a depravity of darkness.
How close can man’s own thoughts seem as wisdom seems to those who take their focus off God’s Word. Most readers will know the term ‘bedlam’ as an unpleasant term to describe confusion and pandemonium. It also identifies an institution of insanity. The word is closely related to another word that in Hebrew, means “House of Bread and Praise” or, BETHLEHAM! How can this be? In London of past years, there was an institution for the insane in London whose name was ‘Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem.’ The common folk, always pleased to abbreviate pronunciation, called the place, ‘Bedlam.’ That is the etymology of the word, bedlam. Man always corrupts proper meanings and the wisdom that is behind it.
Words are important, and wise words are the crown of dialogue in any language. Wise words are like gold – uncommon, scarcely heard, and precious.
In our Proverb above, we are told “the HIGHWAY of the upright is to depart from evil.” We all, before being reconciled to God, are on the Broad Road to evil. That is why the wise will realize the error of that way and will, therefore, DEPART from evil. My Granny Mae (grandmother) used to slightly misquote the Proverb: “Pride goeth before a fall.” Actually, we are already in a fallen state before we turn to wisdom as our guide and teacher. The righteous HIGHWAY is always the wise and best way to live and travel.
Perhaps the greatest mathematician who ever lived was Blaise Pascal. He is the founder of the science of probabilities. In his book, Pensees, Pascal advances a principle of probabilities called Pascal’s Wager. In summary, Pascal’s Wager posits two opposing options:
1) You wager that there is a God, or
2) you wager that there is no God.
Pascal says of number one, if you wager there is a God, and in the end, there is, then you gain everything. If there is no God and you wagered there is, you have lost nothing. In the second case, if you wagered there was no God, and there is a God, you lose all. But if there is no God, you have gained naught. Clearly, according to this precept, there is only gain in faith and no possibility of loss. “If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.” (Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy)
Well, Pascal was very wise in setting forth this notion of a wager; but isn’t it far better to have a certainty of knowledge and wisdom of God gained through faith and Scripture? In the reading of Proverbs, we find Wisdom personified almost as a spiritual type of Christ. Wisdom is all truth. We do not need to winnow the Word of God to eliminate false doctrine – we have only truth and wisdom in our Bible.
“Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 2She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. 4Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. 5O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 6Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 9They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 10Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 11For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (Proverbs 8:1-11)