“She walks with him as a stranger and at first she puts him to the test.”

Jumping ahead a couple of chapters (Sir 4:11-19), Sirach begins this section by listing the benefits to those who love, seek, serve, trust, and obey the wisdom of God: they will get the Lord’s embrace, glory, blessings, and love.  Their possession of Wisdom will be passed on to their offspring as well.  But all this comes only after testing and trial (see above).  Those who persevere, though, find happiness, insight, knowledge, and understanding.  Any who fail Wisdom will be abandoned and given over to their enemies.

The testing to which the author refers is not very difficult for us to understand.  In a time when far too often our society has “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Rom 1:25), standing resolutely with the wisdom given from on high through the example of our lives and the force of our words will not only cause ridicule or even rejection by the dominant culture, but sadly we can become outcasts among our friends and acquaintances or even within our families.  Are we willing to go through this testing?  Do we embrace all of God’s wisdom or only that which is easy, convenient, or non-controversial?  Although we hopefully have experienced some of the benefits listed in the passage are we willing and able to see their full flowering through steadfastness in the face of the enemies of truth/Truth?  Do we think that hedging our bets in such matters will not lead to us falling “into the hands of despoilers” either in this life or the next?  What “little” compromise doesn’t lead to more if we let it?  Let us overcome the “fear and dread” sure to come as we are “[tried]…with her discipline” by showing that we “love[] life” with God here and in eternity.

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