How many times do you have to hear something before you learn it?
Have you ever thought of that? Maybe you’re unlike me. I need to hear something more than once before I learn it. And by “learn” I’m implying more than simply being able to say, “I’ve heard of that.”
The Proverbs of the Scriptures are often like that. They are repetitive, and it’s for a reason. We need to hear something more than once before it sticks with us.
Not only do we need it to stick with us, we need to embrace and be encouraged that the path of the Lord’s wisdom is the path of life.
Proverbs 2:12-15 serves as one of these times. Here, we are reminded of why the Lord’s wisdom is important to us.
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.Proverbs 2:12-15
New International Version
Even when we know we should seek to be wise, we need reminders of why wisdom matters. These verses remind us of five things wisdom gives us by taking some things away from us.
First, it saves us “from the ways of wicked men” (verse 12a). People whose hearts are set on evil walk down paths we should not be down. Wisdom helps us to know we might be considering dangerously foolish behavior by seeing the path the wicked are on.
Second, wisdom saves us “from men whose words are perverse” (verse 12b). Words are powerful. I’ve heard it said, “Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.” Gaining and walking in Godly wisdom protects us from those whose powerful words are twisted and mean us (or others!) harm.
Third, it saves us from those “who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways” (verse 13). When people leave the “straight and narrow” of the way of righteousness, they are on dark paths. Wisdom helps us notice their straying and prevent us from going the same way. At the same time, the Lord’s wisdom helps us know that we must reach those who are on these paths without imitating them.
Fourth, wisdom saves us from those “who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil” (verse 14). It is very easy to “go with the flow” when evil is called good and good is called evil. Godly wisdom, however, protects our minds and hearts from falling prey to that trap ourselves. We know good from evil, right from wrong, and wisdom allows us to not lose our heads.
Fifth, it saves us from those “whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways” (verse 15). As has been said, “There is no honor among thieves.” Those who walk crooked paths and are engaged in devious living will turn on others—us included. How do you spot those who do this? Wisdom. Wisdom helps you see they are living this way and be aware they will turn on you.
By implication, wisdom does not only help us avoid certain things. Wisdom helps us rejoice in what is righteous, holy, just, and good in the eyes of the Lord. It is the path of wisdom where we find the Lord’s blessings.
He blesses us with a full life, provision, thick skin, good stewardship, and His pleasure. These are the gifts of the Lord’s wisdom. These are the blessings wisdom gives us and the blessings of what wisdom takes away.