A couple of weeks ago, Sue and I and three other couples hung out together. Kind of literally. We were grouped together, told to climb a cargo net to a platform 40 feet off the ground, double lobster clamp ourselves to a safety wire, and to work our way across thin wires using only each other. Sometimes just men and wives relying on each other. Other times working our way across as a group of 8. While the different challenges required different reliance techniques, there was one thing that all had in common . . . keep your eyes on the wire . . . stay focused on where you needed to place your feet. Or, as my reading in Proverbs reminded me this morning, “ponder the path of your feet.”
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. (Proverbs 4:25-26 ESV)
“Let your heart hold fast my words . . . get wisdom . . . get insight . . . do not forsake her . . . love her . . . prize her highly . . . embrace her” (4:4-8). That’s how the father impresses upon his son the importance and value of seeking wisdom. The charge is clear . . . be in determined pursuit of wisdom. The promises of such pursuit are also clear, “She will keep you . . . she will guard you . . . she will exalt you . . . she will honor you . . . she will place on your head a graceful garland, she will bestow on you a beautiful crown” (4:4-8).
But what is also evident from this fervent exhortation is that, with the pursuit of wisdom and despite know the blessing of wisdom, there will come opportunity and temptation to “enter the path of the wicked” and to “walk in the way of the evil” (4:14). To start on the path of pursuing wisdom doesn’t guarantee staying on the path. And so, says Solomon, “ponder the path of your feet.”
How easy it is take our eyes off the finish line. To take for granted that because we once were pointed in the right direction we can coast our way to the prize. To not read our Bibles as much because we know them pretty well. To stop thinking critically because we assume we have a heavenly mindset. To get drawn into the word’s riptide current which, at first, gently carries us along until we realize we are enveloped in a way of thinking or a way of life that, without escape, will eventually drown us. How we need to ponder the path of our feet.
Using King James language, Paul says we are to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Eph. 5:15). To walk like a cat on a fence top, carefully placing each paw in front of the other, giving great attention to each step so as not to fall off the fence. Or, like people on a high ropes course who, while having a lot of decisions to make and needing to test out different techniques for advancing, need to never take their eyes off where their feet are at or the steps they need to take to reach the next platform.
When I read Proverbs, I often find myself interchanging the personification of wisdom with Jesus. So, I need to “get Jesus” . . . to love Jesus . . . to prize Jesus highly . . . to embrace Jesus. And I do so believing that there is a promise realized with the pursuit. That Jesus will keep me . . . that Jesus will guard me . . . that Jesus will, one day, exalt me and honor me for His glory . . . and that on that day, when by grace I hear, “Well done good and faithful servant,” Jesus will place upon my head a graceful garland and a beautiful crown — the likes of which I will lay back down at His feet as the only One worthy of all such crowns.
And if Jesus is wisdom . . . and wisdom is Jesus . . . and I can be prone to wander . . . then I would do well, by His grace, to ponder the path of my feet . . . every day . . . and in every decision. I would do well to cry out to the Spirit who lives in me to help me keep my eyes looking directly forward, and my gaze focused straight before me . . . all in the anticipation of one day seeing my Savior face to face.
Pursing Wisdom . . . walking circumspectly . . . all because of grace . . . and all for God’s glory.