Explore: Wisdom of how to walk

• The Explore the Bible lesson for March 16 focuses on Proverbs 8:1-6, 17-21, 32-36; 9:12-18.

On my 50th birthday, my wife gave us a cruise to Alaska. It still ranks as one of the most fascinating experiences of my life. A group of us paid extra to ride a helicopter to the top of a glacier at Juneau.

As we stepped off of the helicopter, the pilot warned us not to talk to each other or take pictures but instead pay absolute attention to each step we took. All around were crevasses, some hundreds of feet deep. It would be easy to step into one if we weren’t cautious.

Watch your step

Sure enough, as soon as we stepped out of the helicopter, one member of the group started taking pictures even though she’d been warned otherwise. In just a few steps, she walked into a crevasse that swallowed her up to her hip. She was fortunate because nothing except her ego received serious injury.

The ability to walk, to take one step after another, is one of the most remarkable of God’s gifts. Wisdom is the capacity to discern where best to place our steps. Most people are born with the ability to walk. This passage in Proverbs is a stark, in-your-face reminder wisdom is one of God’s gifts that must be sought. Wisdom is available to all who seek it, but it doesn’t come naturally. “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17).

The author of this passage personifies wisdom as a gracious and beautiful woman calling out to passersby at the crossroads of life to seek her out. Again, wisdom must be sought. Those who ignore that warning and plot their own path face a ruinous future. In time, nothing affects the course of our lives more than whether we seek the wisdom of God available to all who choose its way.

A world of boundaries

We live in a world of boundaries. There are physical boundaries, but the Bible, from cover to cover, is Eternal God’s word that this world also is governed by spiritual boundaries. Wisdom is the choice to live within the boundaries that govern all of God’s creation.

The lady of wisdom calling out to all who will listen is a beautiful word picture of how, each day, numerous voices call out to us to follow their path. No voices are louder than those that call out at us to feed the natural passions of the flesh, especially those that have to do with material gain or simple human impulses.

The best parents are not those who teach their children how to gain material wealth. The best parents are those who teach their children how to think carefully and wisely. No other job of parenting is more sacred. If we bestow every material gift available upon our children but don’t teach them how to choose between good and bad, justice and injustice, we have wasted the precious years God gave us to be stewards of our children’s futures.

Listen to wisdom

It’s at this point that the lady of wisdom takes a maternal tone: “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life” (Proverbs 8:32-35).

She made this declaration after warning anyone who would listen, “My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver” (Proverbs 8:19). Nothing will define our character more than whether we believe those words or not.

When we are young, it’s tempting to ignore the counsel of our parents. We sometimes think them to be foolish or old-fashioned in their thinking. As we grow older and our parents pass away, we often find ourselves revisiting special moments when our parents gave us counsel that changed the course of our lives for the better.

Seek out wisdom

The greatest challenge we face is to seek out wisdom while it can still be found—the younger the better. Wisdom existed before the earth was created (Proverbs 8:22-29). That’s because God is Wisdom. All who are wise or who want to be wise will seek God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

To fail to seek God through Christ will lead to a wasted life, one Scripture refers to as sheer folly. The wisest thing any human can do is seek the wisdom of which Jesus spoke when he warned us about the folly of building our lives on sand instead of the solid rock of his teachings (Matthew 7:24-27). Otherwise, we’re walking blind into an ice field full of crevasses that can and will swallow our souls.

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