Wisdom Will Mock You in the Street
I hate to admit it, but I’ve made lot of dumb decisions in my life. With all the will in the world to do right and be smart, I’ve still messed up more than my fair share of times.
Recently, I read the first nine chapters of Proverbs. And then I read them again. And again. Not really because I like those particular chapters so much but because I usually skip that section altogether.
Seriously, it is just such an odd passage. I am kind of disturbed by the image of a woman called Wisdom wandering through the streets and yelling, “Hey, Stupid, listen up! Tune in, and stop being so dumb!” (my paraphrase). She declares that if people keep being foolish and won’t follow her ways, she will laugh at them when they are in trouble and mock them when disaster overtakes them. I mean, ouch. That seems pretty harsh to me.
It kind of reminds me of how toddlers will run around like whirligigs back and forth, back and forth, and in circles until you want to throw up for them. You’re calling to them, “Slow down! You’re going to get hurt!” And sure enough, five seconds later, they slam into the wall, collapse, and start bawling.
Sadly, we adults do that kind of thing too. We willfully make disastrous decisions while refusing to exercise common sense (or any other kind of sense for that matter). We reject any good advice and go our own way. Then, when everything turns out really, really badly we ask, “Where was God in all of this? How could He have let such terrible stuff happen to me?” Trust me, I have had more of those moments than I care to remember.
I think the bottom line is that God is not the one mocking us when we suffer the consequences of our folly. Neither is He standing over us with a stick to hit us when we mess up. He loves us and wants us to succeed. He wants to bring blessings into our lives. In fact, foolishness brings its own punishment. My own foolishness brings the mockery as I sit alone regretting the wisdom I should have followed.
But if we go looking for her, seeking after Wisdom like buried treasure, searching for Wisdom like a suitcase filled with a million bucks, Wisdom will bring us joy and honor. Instead of snickering when despair is dragging us to the grave, Wisdom will protect us.
If you love Wisdom, she will love you.
So, what is wisdom?
There is more to wisdom than I used to think. Something unexpected.
As I read Proverbs and the passage begins to soak in, it’s like wisdom goes beyond being smart, clever, or using good judgment. I think it is more than even doing right or living righteously. As the themes sink into my consciousness, I realized the “wisdom” also encompasses what we would call maturity and stability. And it sure seems like we could all use more of that in this chaotic world.
Wisdom begins with keeping God at the center of life. I want to walk with the wise so I will grow wiser. I want to soak in the wisdom of Scripture. I want God’s Word to challenge everything I think and believe. I want to apply wisdom to my life. I want to cultivate maturity, stability, right thinking, and right living. In a word, I want wisdom. I need it desperately. Instead of paying the price of foolishness, I want to be rewarded for living wise.