The passage referenced is a most intriguing portion of Holy Scripture. Here wisdom speaks as a person. The question often posed is interpretive - as to whether wisdom happens to be a personal entity beside God or an aspect of God. Some choose to explain this section as Messianic others as metaphorical. Is it a description of the eternal Son of God soon to be among us as man, or is it a poetic description of the wisdom of God in creation and his generous guidance of humankind that preserves and enhances our life?
The arguments are attractive either way. What is beyond doubt is the direction in which the passage points. If these charming verses do not describe Messiah in a direct way they do prepare us for the full revelation of Messiah as the ultimate expression of divine wisdom both in the creation and control of the universe and all that it contains, and of all that unfolds within it.
New Testament comparisons permit us, with hindsight, to view this passage as a “preview” of the status and meaning of the Lord Jesus. Fuller insight into his Person afforded by the apostolic teaching enables us to peruse these verses in Proverbs in symbolic parallel to actual later disclosures concerning the Lord Christ. He does personify the wisdom of God as well as all the other divine qualities.
Jesus is the Word made flesh; God’s self-expression in every way. He has ever been with God and is his collaborator in making all “that has been made” (John 1: 1-3). A most captivating expression in our chapter sets the mind to magical musing, for without original intention on the part its author it applies aptly to Jesus both in his divine nature and human nature. It is a gem of Scriptural portraiture. “Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence” (v30).
Father and Son are depicted as joyful and affectionate collaborative artisans bringing the cosmos and our earth into being through the Spirit (Genesis 1:1-2). The passage is especially affecting when we think of Jesus as the master carpenter of Nazareth, the craftsman who made the best wooden objects in Galilee.
Colossians 1:15-17 Here is the Pauline version of the notion of “the craftsman at his side”. Speaking of Christ, the apostle remarks: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him.
Just as wisdom was begotten or possessed by God at the beginning (Proverbs 8:22), so the Word was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and that Word in all his reasoning and instruction was pure divine wisdom - inherent wisdom (we might think analogically of thought, intention, or plan) - and active wisdom; divine success and achievement in all that God proposes or constructs as the supreme power and architect. Christ participates in that supremacy of concept, control, and completion. His supremacy is adorable and evokes our reverence and worship.
Colossians 2:2-3 We encounter and receive the benefits of divine wisdom in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul desires that we should have “the full riches of complete understanding, in order that we may know the mystery of God, namely Christ” - the mystery of God, i.e. all the secrets of the divine mind and purpose of salvation are disclosed to us in our personal knowledge of Christ in whom his purpose for mankind is made plain:- “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.
Christ is wisdom. Christ imparts wisdom. He is our means of seeing things as they are, the way that they ought to be, and the end that is best for us. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6). His wisdom is a joy to contemplate, and a blessing to fulfill in all its dimensions of conduct and commanded obedience.
Well might we borrow the concluding words of Proverbs 8: “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death” (vv 33-36).