Please forgive me if you’ve heard this one, but it’s old enough that it actually might be new to you. A policeman is walking down a street on patrol at night. He spots a man bent over under a bright streetlight, and the guy’s obviously looking for something. The cop comes over to him and asks if he can be of any help. “No thanks,” the man answers, “I’m just looking for my car keys.” “When did you last see them?” “I pulled them out of my pocket in front of O’Malley’s down the block, and I probably dropped them there.” “So why would you be looking for them on this spot?” “The light’s better here.”
I was thinking of that story while reading today’s passage. If you asked most people if they want wisdom, there’s probably no one who'd tell you “No.” But then the next obvious question is “Are you looking for it in the right place?” It’s no good if you’re searching for it in an “easy” spot if it’s nowhere near where you lost it.
And the sad irony here is that—in a sense—it’s not that difficult to find. God has revealed himself through his word and through his Son, so there’s no excuse for any of us. That’s what vs. 20 is saying when it says that “wisdom” (a personification of God’s invitation) is calling “on top of the wall” (or "on a street corner" depending on your translation), and is raising “her voice in the public square.” She’s not hidden away in some dark corner somewhere. Yes, there are aspects of our faith which are difficult to understand, and which people on the outside can’t grasp. But all of God’s message, everything we need for this life and the next one, is easily accessible. I know you're probably sick of hearing it, but my favorite saying from Alistair Begg: "The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things."
Another thing I get from this passage is that there are dire consequences to not seeking God’s wisdom while it can be found. If we don’t listen to “her” voice while she’s speaking, it'll come back to bite us later. The passage speaks in general terms like “disaster,” “calamity,” “distress,” and “trouble,” but if you’ve read the Bible, you know how the story ends. This is not a nice option for us to take advantage of. Once the consequences come upon us, we’ll try to find her and will end up crying out for her in vain.
What’s the point here? We need to seek God’s wisdom now. Not tomorrow. Not when we’ll get around to it. Now.
Maybe someone who’s reading this has never received Christ as your Lord and Savior. If so, then this message is particularly crucial for you. The wisest thing for you to do is to place your trust in him alone for salvation and surrender to him. Please read this.
Or maybe you are a believer, and you know that you’ve been making some bad decisions in your life lately. You know better. Before we get to the specifics of the book of Proverbs, you need to surrender that part of your life to him. Why should he give you any special instructions while you’re being openly disobedient to what he's told everyone?
God’s word, personified by lady Wisdom, is calling out for you. Don’t walk past her. Please.
Lord Jesus, I’m listening. Please give me ears to hear, and a soft heart that’s easy to penetrate. Most of the time, it’s not some special revelation that I need. I just need to start doing what you’ve already told me to do. By your grace.