By James Lee
When we were born into this world, taking our first breath and cry, we were so helpless and small. We did not know anything; our minds were like a fresh page with nothing written in it. So innocent, so pure, so cute and so vulnerable : a new-born child.
Since then, at least for about the first two decades of your life, you would be under your parents’ wings. Like any good responsible parent, they would want the very best for you and your well-being. They will teach and guide you what they know and experienced, in a way teaching you knowledge and wisdom. They will want you protected and safe from all harm. Hoping and praying earnestly that you are well prepared for the next stage in life when you leave the nest, or when they cannot be by your side anymore.
Come with me down memory lane, take a moment or two to meditate, and reach deep down into your memory bank to relive your younger moments. Remember the days when your parents first taught you how to ride a bicycle for the very first time or their immediate selfless care when you hurt yourself or the corrections they gave when you did something wrong or that sound advice that still rings true today – to not trust strangers.
Remember the times when your parents had to punish you for something that you did wrong. You could be very angry then and might have thrown a tantrum. Being young, we were very emotional. We might feel that our parents don’t love us. But indeed, they do. It is just the way they demonstrate their love. Though you may not have noticed it, but I believe they do hurt inside when they must punish you but deep down, they know that this is best for you. Love is longsuffering. I am not a parent yet, but I believe it is a very tough responsibility.
“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” Proverbs 19:18.
“Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die” Proverbs 23:13.
Remember your teachers as well who taught you about good morals and if you were enrolled in Sunday school, you were taught biblical wisdom too. All these are equally important to equip you with the knowledge to distinguish right from wrong. We were defensive and at times got angry when punished by our teachers when we did something against their teaching and principles.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6.
When we were younger, being taught and to obey discipline is a very tough attitude to get hold of. Most of the time we would want the easy way out as discipline takes effort and at times it is painful. It is a strong mindset choice to stick to your principles and execute them no matter what.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by ” Hebrews 12:11.
Being chastened means being disciplined, and in the context that we are being taught and disciplined right by our parents, teachers, and the bible, it is to produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Godly wisdom is more important than worldly wisdom, for we are taught not to forget that this world is only temporary. We need more of God’s wisdom to carry out His will on earth in preparation to be in Heaven as we leave this place when our time is up.
Thus, looking back we can see and visualize that while we were under our parents’ guidance and care, we were constantly or at least very frequently
protected, taught, and guided on how best to make decisions in life. And if we make any mistakes, usually there is a cushion below to absorb our fall.
For most, the shelter underneath their parents’ wings is lifted as they enter university life and later into working life. During these stages in life whether you started with university or straight into the working world, it is an entirely different ball game. This is where you ought to be more independent and have more freedom to make your own choices in life. It is where you might discover what you like and don’t like as well as new experiences. It is perfectly normal to venture into these things, especially after being let loose and be freer!
However as in the words of the wisest man King Solomon, who has experienced it all under the sun, when we do what we do on this earth every day, we are highly likely exposed to danger be it physically or spiritually. Sometimes it is both. And if you ever come across such situations, wisdom helps in averting these dangers.
King Solomon said, “He who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks
through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits wood may be endangered by it. If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success. A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; the babbler is no different” Ecclesiastes 10:8-11.
In each verse, King Solomon expounds that wisdom is crucial to avert dangers in everyday life. This includes temptation and snares of the devil. Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement; the quality of being wise. Wisdom is also righteousness by practical obedience to God’s word. Let every action or counteraction you make have God in mind first.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” Colossians 3:17. The ability to be able to sense and be confident that the decision or action made is correct in the sight of God and with common sense is a very crucial skill in aiding our daily lives. Do not be naive (opposite of wisdom). Expounding on
each of the verse:
- He who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
Here it portrays that if you intend to do something new or have no knowledge at all about. Do not jump into it blindly! You could be digging your own grave. Research beforehand. Study and be sure that there isn’t any danger lurking behind. An example in the world today are those who get rich quick seminars or schemes which promise you riches but most likely may be a scam.
Another example is putting yourself in a situation that you are unlikely to be able to resist from the temptation of sin such as visiting red-light districts, clubs and the like. You may think you are strong to resist but I say that in such cases it is best to look away rather than try it out. As King Solomon put it simply, once hooked the way out is very dim.
2. He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
Certain things that we do daily have a certain risk to them. Here, King Solomon is implying to always be wary of what you do. It can be while you are driving; always pay attention to the road for it is a wise thing to do. For motorcyclists to always wear a helmet with the buckle fastened.
As Christians, be aware that you have godly standards to live up to. Remem-
ber to practise the fruits of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23.
Do not let your possible ungodly actions and behaviour bring danger (sin) towards yourself. Repent, forgive, make amends, be righteous and be favourable in the sight of God. Do not slack or be complacent with your wisdom as unfortunate times can happen and if you can prevent it, thank God! If not, then pray for wisdom as you seek how to learn from this experience so that you are ready next time.
3. If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success.
Having wisdom does give you the edge over others who have not. This is why in job applications, the experience usually beats out even those spectacular academics from prestigious universities. Having knowledge is one thing, but how to apply that knowledge efficiently according to the situation is another.
Working hard is fine. But working smart compliments it well. As mentioned by King Solomon, you must be wise to know that the axe is blunt and needs sharpening. If not you are losing valuable output from the amount of energy you applied! This extra energy can be used for something more!
In the case of us Christians, when we spread the gospel, we must be wise to know that each encounter we are to meet, they are different from the last. And thus during the initial meetup, it is wise to listen first and understand where they are coming from.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19.
From the first session, sharpen up and adjust your future lesson according to their level and this a more efficient way of teaching. This way the percentage of success is higher and faster.
You do not change the material you are going to chop, instead, you make better the axe head that is blunt.
4. If the snake could bite before it is charmed, the snake charmer is in trouble.
If you are forced to face a situation that you have never been in before, be extra careful and put up all protective measures before attempting to get on with it. As an example, a bomb defusal squad, prior to attempting to even get near to the bomb will study everything about it as to the what, where, who, when and how. Then they will suit up to the best they can and approach it, sometimes with a robot first. This is to ensure that if the bomb indeed explodes, they will be best prepared. If not, they are now bitten.
Similarly, in our Christian duty to spread the gospel, if we are to venture into the study with someone new and unfamiliar, it is best and wise to study up beforehand. Also, be prepared for the worst possible outcome and know-how to respond in an appropriate manner.
Additionally, in the various other aspects of our life, an example is how we spend our money wisely. Do we let it control us? Or we control it? If it were
to control us, we would have gotten ourselves into a mountain of debts due
to our uncontrollable spending habits or a luxurious lifestyle. We are bitten by the wealthy lifestyle of the world.
Flexi plans are quite the thing nowadays to have the cost spread out over a long period of time and thus we don’t feel the pinch until it’s possibly too
late. We might have thought that we can control it, but instead it might control us. Be wise for indeed the love of the fleshly things of the world and the love of money could be dangerous.
Therefore brethren (especially those going into universities or working life), having said all this, King Solomon implores all of you to be wise always in all that you do to avert everyday evil.
The world nowadays is full of it and it will come across your path one way or another and you being wise and righteous in the sight of God will have an advantage over it. Remember always that your soul is at stake for placement in heaven. Be that all that you do to have God in mind first and pray for His wisdom be upon you. Do not forsake wisdom. Love wisdom.
“Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” Proverbs 4:6-7.
Proverbs chapter 4 delivers a very good finish for this article as it is a whole chapter on why wisdom is important. Do give it a read when you can for it relates closely to what King Solomon had to say after he experienced it all under the sun.