1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.
Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
Four days into the book of Proverbs and we are starting to see how clear a picture Solomon is trying to paint us. There is almost nothing more worthwhile in this world than the pursuit of wisdom. Wisdom protects us from the attacks of the enemy; it guides us away from the schemes of men and leads us to the place where righteousness and holiness are found. Simply said, wisdom is the key to a fruitful and purposeful life.
So, how do we start? What is the first step down this beautiful path that we all desire? Again, Solomon resorts to brevity to drive his point home.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
That’s it. If you long for wisdom, then begin accumulating it. Are you frustrated by his answer? Don’t be; there are steps to take, namely one. Look at these first four Proverbs, at how often we are commanded to LISTEN. See how we are told that the Lord gives us wisdom FREELY. Each command promises that if we pay attention to the Lord, the understanding will be there for our benefit.
It’s simple; save one question.
What are you willing to sacrifice to obey that command?
We live in a time where almost anything you need, you can buy and have shipped to your house in less than seven days. The idea of sacrificing one thing to gain another is almost foreign to us. And now more than ever, we give our attention away at an unprecedented rate and dangerously cheap. Our heads are turned by every tweet, every headline, each voice clambering to be just a bit louder than the one before. But are they leading us to wisdom?
Are you willing to sacrifice the fraudulent voices of pleasure in order to hear from God?
Choosing to tune them out and wholly listen to God is not a passive action, for the Lord has made one thing evident in these first four Proverbs: Wisdom comes only from His mouth and His mouth alone.
So, are you willing to pay the cost asked of you to hear Him? Are you up to the challenge to lay aside the things you would rather hear, the things that line up with your opinions or your desires? Are you willing to trade something that might sound good for the things of God that are best?
Lord, tune my ears to what You have for me. Help me set aside the “wisdom” the world is peddling and subscribe wholeheartedly to focusing my attention on Your Word and Your Holy Spirit.