There’s a whole lot of talking, but not a lot being said.
Pretty much sums up our culture, doesn’t it? Everybody has a take or a taunt. You know it’s only going to get louder as we head into 2020. This introvert gal has had about enough and would sign up to be a hermit if it weren’t for how much I love my family and friends.
I’ve been challenged lately, though, not to retreat (much) but to listen for a different voice calling out to be heard above the noise.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.” Proverbs 1:20-23
God’s wisdom is there, vying for our attention in the middle of the hustle and bustle. I love the image of a wise teacher who has gone into the marketplace to gather up any students willing to abandon simplistic thinking, know-it-all mockery, and general foolishness in exchange for life-giving instruction. How about if you and I go join her class?
We are called to pay attention to that nudge that says, “Be quiet and listen! God’s wisdom is ready and waiting for you to learn!” and then, to get after it! I find it significant that the words “listen” or “hear” show up at least thirty times in the book of Proverbs, calling us to tune out empty chatter and tune in to what matters. We don’t have to hide from the noise altogether, but we can learn to filter what we’re hearing through God’s truth, choosing what thoughts to entertain and how to act in a world that’s hellbent on destruction.
Wisdom’s first and fundamental lesson? Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
To become truly wise is to start with deep reverence and respect for the Lord. Scripture calls this reverence “the fear of the Lord,” but it’s not the kind of fear that sends us into a panic. The fear of the Lord is the healthy, awe-struck realization that the most majestic Being in the universe, the one who created all things including us, chooses to concern Himself with our lives. Better yet, He chooses to love us, rescue us, and grow us to maturity. It’s the reverence that made former slave-trafficker John Newton pen the lines, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!” Only a fool would turn her back on wisdom and instruction from such a God!
In the next several posts, then, would you join me in listening for wisdom’s call? I long to be a wise woman, one who doesn’t simply react to the world but who acts in accordance with God’s will. I believe there’s no better place to start than by focusing on Him and His word:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
October Challenge: Join me in memorizing and meditating on the wise words of Proverbs 3:5-8 this month. Pick your favorite translation and add one verse of the four to your memory bank each week.