Proverbs 24: 1 – 9 (The Message)
1-2 Don’t envy bad people;
don’t even want to be around them.
All they think about is causing a disturbance;
all they talk about is making trouble.
3-4 It takes wisdom to build a house,
and understanding to set it on a firm foundation;
It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms
with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.
5-6 It’s better to be wise than strong;
intelligence outranks muscle any day.
Strategic planning is the key to warfare;
to win, you need a lot of good counsel.
7 Wise conversation is way over the head of fools;
in a serious discussion they haven’t a clue.
8-9 The person who’s always cooking up some evil
soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues.
Fools incubate sin;
cynics desecrate beauty.
Today’s title brings back memories of the TV show, Survivor, on the season when they divided the contestants into 3 categories – brains, brawn and creativity. On that show, it seemed that the brawn group with the big muscles always won. And sometimes in real life, that is the way it seems to go as well. The most aggressive and noisy people seem to get their way the most often. You may have experienced this at work or in your extended family. Who seems to get the most attention – the quiet, thoughtful ones or the loud, pushy ones?
Yet Solomon is clear about what the winning side is like. Here are some of the words and phrases that stand out to me – wisdom, understanding, knowledge, intelligence, strategic planning, good counsel and serious discussion. These words emphasize listening and taking careful looks at all the options before making decisions. Frankly, that’s often hard to do. Our culture moves so quickly; decisions are made in a hurry. We often feel like we have to make a move or we will lose out.
I don’t know what decisions you have to make today, or this week – decisions about finances, about a job, about a big purchase, about a health issue, about whether to send your children back to school, etc.. But take Solomon’s advice and think it over. Get some good counsel. Have some serious discussions with people you respect. Make sure you understand all the consequences and advantages of what you are planning to do. “It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation” (v. 3). That’s what we really want more than anything.
There’s another verse that comes to mind when I think about this issue. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46: 10 (NIV). Pray about those decisions. There is no better counsel than our “discussion” with our Heavenly Father.
Today’s song is Take My Life by Chris Tomlin.
It’s an older hymn written in 1874, but the words are so appropriate for 2020.