When my daughter was two years old, she enjoyed two activities: playing outside and removing her clothes. More than once, she sprinted out the front door and down our quiet residential street completely nude. Neighbors peeking from behind their blinds saw a tiny girl squealing with glee barreling down the road with her mother chasing her and yelling, “Come inside! Put on your clothes!”
Shortly after one of my daughter’s joyful escapes, a police officer rang our doorbell. “There’s been a report of a naked child in the streets,” she said. “I’m here to make sure she’s okay.” One look around our living room confirmed my daughter was well loved and nurtured, and the officer soon left, reassured. But clearly my daughter’s outdoor shenanigans had caught a neighbor’s attention!
Today’s proverb tells us Wisdom calls from the streets, and in this passage, she speaks loudly and clearly. Much as my neighbors could not help but see my jubilant toddler, Wisdom is hard to miss. Her voice is God’s voice, and the way forward is clear. Why, then, do we struggle to make decisions? Why do we worry and fret? If Wisdom is calling with all the clarity of a naked child in our front yards, why does she feel so complex and elusive?
We know what we’ve been called to do, but we fear trusting God or ourselves. We’re afraid of failure and humiliation, so we listen for a different answer. However, as today’s passage warns, we need not fear the call but rather the consequences of refusing it. God will allow us to reap the disastrous rewards of our complacency, but we can live at ease if we choose to follow God. What we need now is the courage to heed Wisdom’s call.
Lord, when Wisdom is in plain sight, please give us the courage to follow her. Amen.
Through the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God shows the paths of righteousness and warns against the ways of destruction. The writer of Proverbs describes this as the voice of Wisdom crying out, yet some refuse to listen—to their peril. The psalmist rejoices in the law of the Lord, for God’s decrees teach us how to live well. Living a godly life includes paying attention to our speech. How can we, James asks, praise God with our lips and then curse others with those same lips? Peter is tripped up by his words in Mark. He declares Jesus to be the Messiah, yet in the next scene he recklessly rebukes Jesus for speaking of his death. Our words matter, and God desires purity and consistency.
• Read Proverbs 1:20-33. How clearly can you hear Wisdom’s call? What keeps you from answering?
• Read Psalm 19. How do your words and your heart’s meditations reflect your faith? Do you think God finds them acceptable?
• Read James 3:1-12. Consider your words. Do they honor the image of God in those to whom you speak?
• Read Mark 8:27-38. When has God called you to be silent? Were you better able to hear an unexpected call from God?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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