Whether you invest thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions, the advice is always the same. Don’t stake everything on one investment. There is never a “sure thing.”
But there is always the exception that validates the rule, and wisdom is that exception. Invest everything in wisdom. This is an “all in” proposition. He “sort of” lives wisely is an idiom that says he isn’t living wisely.
We “sort of” lost the game.
She is “sort of” pregnant.
We “sort of” finished the job.
We “sort of” did the wise thing.
It’s like making chocolate chip cookies. You just follow the recipe.
Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 4 dozen)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried rat poop
Mix all. Place into an oven preheated to 450 degrees for 10 minutes and you have cookies. The cup of rat poop lets you get 4 dozen cookies instead of only 3 dozen. Pretty good deal, don’t you think?
Well, they are “sort of” chocolate chip cookies.
The author is telling us what he has been telling us for the first three chapters. Wisdom is good. Wisdom is worth it. Wisdom is the only choice for good living. Get on the path of wisdom and stay there. Other paths are not healthy. Some lead to devastation. Some lead to death.
The author is presenting wisdom as a father would to his son, and that son would someday teach the path of wisdom to his son. It was the practice expected of God’s people that God’s ways would be taught to each generation.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Wisdom was to be every family’s inheritance. It was to be passed on generation to generation.
The author continues with many metaphors, but one in particular should gain our attention. Consider the 9th verse.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.
We have seen wisdom as apparel before, but here wisdom goes from bestowing things that adorn—apparel and accessories to providing wisdom as a crown.
Crowns in the Bible denote authority and victory. Perhaps both apply here. For if we consistently follow he paths of righteousness forsaking the paths of wickedness, we will become an authority on wisdom and claim victory over temptation and that will result in right living.
This chapter is an appeal to risk all, spend all, invest all in the path of wisdom and avoid the path of wickedness at all costs.
We are blessed in this age as beneficiaries of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us. When we have taken the wrong path, he rescues us time and time again. Our salvation is assured, but sometimes we forfeit the fruit and abundance of wise living.
Our salvation is never in doubt but you can’t eat rat poop cookies and not have some unsavory consequences.
Likewise, even under the umbrella of once saved, always saved, wisdom bears good fruit and straying from the path of wisdom still carries adverse consequences.
You would think that we would all live wisely.
But we do contend with our human nature. Have you ever been stuck in traffic due to construction or an accident? All the traffic is reduced from 3 or 4 lanes into 1. Frustration levels rise. All that you can see is the vehicle or a few vehicles in front of you.
Then somebody cuts out of the line onto the shoulder of the road and speeds by hundreds of cars. Our first response is outrage and anger. “I hope God strikes him with a lightning bolt.”
But then, we start wondering if we might get away with the same thing. After all, we have important places to be and urgent things to do. Maybe we could stray from the prescribed path just this once. Our human nature says, “Go ahead. It would not matter just this once.”
And so the counsel and teaching and mentoring and coaching and parenting and partnering and committing to stay on the narrow path must be continuous for the enticement to venture elsewhere surely rears its head time and time again.
Rejoice in our salvation and be ever vigilant in our wisdom. There is no such thing as too many reminders to stay the course.
Stay the course of wisdom.