"For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things;
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness . . ." NASB
Wisdom, the art of living life well, brings with her many benefits. We see just a few of them in this section: pleasure for your soul; a guardian for your life; deliverance from the way of evil (disaster); and deliverance from evil people.
The author is piling up proofs, or reasons, to convince the reader to believe the thesis. It's a simple thesis, with a clear call to action: Get wisdom, it's worth it!
Look at the second half of this section, the part about being delivered from the way of evil. I think this section can go at least two ways.
First, the more obvious way: wisdom teaches us not to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of disaster that seems to follow fools. If we will hear God's instructions, interpret life according to his word, and make decisions based on his description of reality, we will avoid so many traps and tricks. It is foolish to get wrapped up into debates where nobody wins, and the only fruit is poisoned relationships. It is foolish to go into business with greedy, or ignorant people, where the only outcome is financial loss. It is foolish to trust untrustworthy people, with our things, our time, our money, our relationships, our hearts.
Second, and perhaps more subtle, is the protection wisdom gives from becoming an evil person. Wisdom delivers us from the way of evil. Not only does this mean we are protected from being victimized by evil; we will be saved from participation. I won't give examples, or take time to describe this - I'll just point out the poetic imagery the author uses:
"the way of evil . . . perverse things . . . leave the paths of uprightness . . . walk in the ways of darkness . . ."
Only a blind fool would choose to leave the paths of uprightness, choosing instead to walk in the ways of darkness. Yet, this is what we often choose by default, when we reject wisdom.
Today, when facing choices (yes, even the little ones - especially the little ones, like how to answer when our children nag us) where we know the correct option, let's consider: would I rather walk in the ways of darkness, or stay on the paths of uprightness? Do I want the fruit of wisdom, or folly?
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