The Right Stuff
Today’s Text: Proverbs 4:7
21C LIVING—ALIGNING YOUR MORAL COMPASS
Have you ever been in the position where someone talks about an eagerly anticipated vacation? You don’t know this person well enough to offer advice, but can’t stop yourself from asking a few questions hoping they’ve done their homework.
This guy admitted he was inexperienced in wilderness trekking, but had planned what he thought was the perfect low budget vacation. They would haul their gear to a nearby national forest, hike to a remote lake and leisurely fish for trophy-sized trout instead of packing dehydrated food.
A week to bond with teen-aged sons in the Great Outdoors—How hard could it be?
IGNORING CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
To further economize, my acquaintance had settled for a less expensive general reference map instead of a detailed topographic map. According to his map, he could drive to a point much closer to their lakeside destination and save a day of backpacking. I expressed concerns about the limitations of the general map, but my fears were quickly dismissed believing he had found a quicker route.
Eight days later, he told me it was only when they reached the end of the access road that he realized his error. They were in a box canyon surrounded by rocky cliffs.
High above them on an alpine plateau lay their destination. They wasted two days trying to find a way to traverse the cliffs without climbing equipment before driving to a U.S. Forest Service office. There, he bought a topographic map and got directions from the ranger.
While it gave me no pleasure, the guy confided that he had ignored advice to invest in the “right stuff” that would have gotten their vacation off to a better start. Had he acquired the right map to chart his course and sought expert advice, three days of his dream vacation and physical energy would not have been wasted.
THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON
In a similar vein, King Solomon describes the importance investing in the right stuff for navigating one’s path of life.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
The Hebrew adds nuance to this statement that is not immediately evident in English translations. The idea conveyed in the Hebrew is that the starting compass point for wisdom is a determination to “get wisdom.”
Many fail to realize that the book of Proverbs was written for the wise rather than to correct the unwise. It is only the wise who actually seek wisdom.
As a wise father, Solomon whets the appetite of his son to seek wisdom. He emphasizes that the good judgment embodied in the word “wisdom” is inseparably linked to a fear of the Lord who is the ultimate source of wisdom (1:7).
Earlier Solomon challenged his son to,
“Incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding . . . Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (2:2; 5-6).
Near the end of his instruction King Solomon counsels, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (23:23).
No time, expense, effort or hardship should be spared in acquiring and appropriating wisdom. Likewise, wisdom should neither be exchanged for any possession or sensual pleasure, nor should it be forsaken in the face of criticism, intimidation, false reasoning or popular culture.
Wisdom is of supreme value because it is the key to successfully navigating a productive life.
Amazingly, Solomon assures that wisdom is not hidden, but available to all who seek it (8:1-7). The apostle James underscores this truth counseling,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
The wise earnestly seek God knowing that wisdom originates with Him. The unwise, on the other hand, fail to recognize their lack of wisdom or arrogantly believe they have no need of God until they find themselves in serious trouble.
Unlike one’s IQ, wisdom is not innate. Seeking wisdom involves a choice driven by one’s attitude toward God who is the source of true wisdom.
When it comes to plotting your course through life, make sure you have the “right stuff.” Go directly to the source of true wisdom—God’s Word. A simple way to seek God’s wisdom involves reading one chapter of the book of Proverbs each day. Start by reading today. It is the best way to meet the challenges of life without wasting time and energy!
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth, Rev. McCracken’s presentations are relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Compass by the Swedish manufacturer Silva. By Tobias R. Metoc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Angels Landing trail looking northward to the Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah, USA. By Tobias Alt (Own work) [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Categories: Aligning Your Moral Compass