I’m a bit of a movie buff.
One thing I have noticed in a lot of Hollywood movies is that when the main character is out of ideas, down on their luck or simply at the crossroads of their lives, they often seem to end up in a bar. Of course in said bar they always seem to receive the wisdom or breakthrough which leads them on to their inevitable happy ending at the conclusion of the film.
However, this causes me to ask the question: where do you find wisdom? I believe that Proverbs provides a curious and multifaceted answer.
Prov 8:1-2 Listen as wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.
To be honest, I have never really paid much attention to where Proverbs says that ‘lady wisdom’ positions herself, so what follows was a bit of a revelation to me. Although the passage goes on to say that she stands at the gates of the city on the road heading in, the first mention is on the hilltop and the crossroads.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she’s trying to get our attention before we enter the metropolis, before we settle down somewhere. Indeed, all these pictures invoke wisdom and understanding as meeting us on the/a journey.
Out of these metaphors, the one that particularly struck me was the crossroads. Have you noticed that we’re often only really listening when we feel like we are at the crossroads of life? It’s hard to receive instruction when you think you know what to do. That’s why so many movie characters find so much wisdom in a bar. It’s nothing to do with the bar, but everything to do with the fact that when you’re out of ideas, you’re open to new ones.
Then I was thinking “hmm, ok, thanks God, this is my insight for today from your Word.” But no he had more, a LOT more. So bear with me for a second.
I also realised that in the ancient world before free wi-fi, hilltops were a key part of communication. Visual communication.Do you know why the Roman empire crucified people on hill tops? Especially beside roads leading into occupied cities? Because they were proclaiming something. They were trying to communicate a ‘wisdom’ of sorts, a lesson, an understanding. What lesson? Simple:
“This is what happens to you when you mess with us, so you’d be wise to fit in with our agenda if you want to preserve you life.”
Crosses were ancient signposts, communicating a worldview. They still do in fact. the figure of the cross still stands fast on the very ‘hill top’ the great philosophies, faiths and worldviews on this planet.
In fact, the figure of the cross has communicated to billions more people than the Roman empire ever expected it to because one day, one of those crosses, on one of those hilltops outside one of those roman occupied cities had a Jewish carpenter-come-itinerant preacher nailed to it.
And the world has never been the same since.
Jesus, took a roman cross and made it famous on hilltops around the world not for a worldview which says ‘fit in or else’ but one which says; ‘come, lose your life for my sake and you’ll find it….to the full.’
Of course it’s hard to notice the enormity of the cross when you’re not at the crossroads.
But what if you are?
What if you feel like you’re on a never ending desert road searching for the place of belonging? What if you feel like you’re at the cross roads.
The good news is, that is where real wisdom is found; the hill by the road.
Because now, there’s a cross on it.