Written By Nancy Blackford
Of all the traits listed regarding those who are wise, the discipline of warding off trouble seems to be a kind of bland side effect. “Warding off” sounds like we are practicing the “same old”, “same old”. We rather desire the increased knowledge and discernment those who are wise seem to possess. How can just remaining and not swerving off the main course be that exciting?
Proverbs 2 is filled with words such as guards/protects/saves and praises followers who are trusting, discrete, righteous and steadfast. Boring huh? But then the writer goes on to compare this kind of believer to others who seemed to have started on the right track with at least a basic knowledge of God. They “strayed’ from their faith precipitating darker sins. It states these people delight in doing wrong and rejoice in being perverse. The writer talks about a wayward woman who at least initially seemed to be a devoted follower. She made a decision to go off course and to ignore her covenant with God. She is then described as adulterous, seductive and deadly. Those who follow her lose their life and never return. The discipline of simply staying on course does not seem to be that monumental, however those who remain steadfast will live and remain with God eternally. The only reward for those who stray is to be torn away to a place of eternal banishment. No guard or shield protects them from their own self-initiated fate.
What does steadfastness, walking uprightly and blameless look like in me? To seek wisdom and live in God’s wisdom is to stay the course. Faithfully serving an elderly friend, being committed to your schedule of teaching or leading a group when at times it seems unfulfilling and boring.
For men it may be running from sexual impurity by carefully evaluating what you watch or read. In women it means daily abstaining from gossip or being a busy body, intentionally turning your thoughts from self-seeking fantasies and reframing from being critical and negative.
All believers should strive to be intentional in their prayer life and scripture study, listening for and seeking to obey even the smallest prompting from God.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, his is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” Proverbs 2:6