Wisdom Builds the House

by Catherine McNiel on July 10, 2020

Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.  She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.  She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city,  “Let all who are simple come to my house!”  To those who have no sense she says,  “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed.  Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”

—Proverbs 9:1-6

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

—Proverbs 16:3

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

—Proverbs 21:30-31

Earlier this week I was reading an old classic book out loud to my kids. One of the main characters was getting married and a very detailed chapter ensued, describing the many, many tasks the engaged couple and their families carried out to outfit their new house. I explained to my baffled children the long-standing tradition of “showering” a new couple with all they will need to run a household and family together—at least, so far as housewares are concerned.

This week we’ve been looking at what Proverbs has to say about marriage, hidden away in lessons that are valuable for all people. We’ve looked at the need for and value of companionship, the skills of communication, the necessity of healthy conflict, and the value of strong community.

Here’s the thing about marriage: It’s about going the distance, digging deep and doing the work, staying on track for the long haul. Unlike other areas of life where we are tempted to stay shallow, flitting from one thing to the next without putting down roots, in marriage we are invited to deeply know and be known, and to be confronted with the long-term ramifications of our choices and behaviors.

And so, the most valuable insight the wisdom of Proverbs has for marriage is the repeated exhortation to seek God, to look to the Lord.

We’ve seen this week that “A gentle tongue is a tree of life” and that it is better to have “a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife” but that “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” We’ve remembered that “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,” but that “in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Just as we all pitch in so a newly married couple can buy a KitchenAid mixer and bath sheets, so the community of Christ can (and must!) shower a new couple with wisdom, with a house built on insight, with a community of wise advisors, and a path forward lit by God.

This “new house” should be Wisdom’s house; these counselors and friends should be listening to Wisdom, committing their plans to the Lord. In marriage, we have the invitation to trust in the Lord together, listening together, wresting with faith together.

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. (Proverbs 21:31).

Questions for reflection and discussion: Have you helped prepare a newlywed house for housekeeping? How have you prepared a marriage (yours or someone else’s) to be built on wisdom?

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