June 4, 2021 - Proverbs 4
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Proverbs 4:18-19
There are some passages of Scripture that have been discussed and written about so well, it’s tempting simply to copy and paste those writings into new devotional words. I feel that temptation writing this, wanting you instead to read C.S. Lewis’s “Meditation in a Toolshed.” Here’s an excerpt at least…
“I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.
Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam and looking at the beam are very different experiences.”
The book of Proverbs spends a great deal of time encouraging us to find wisdom, even at all costs. This raises the necessary question, what is wisdom and how is it different than intelligence.
I think C.S. Lewis would argue that intelligence is like looking along that beam of light in the tool shed: you see the thing itself but not much else. There is appeal and it’s necessary, but you’re removed from the object and external to it. Wisdom, on the other hand, is like looking at the beam itself and seeing where it comes from; experiencing its radiance from the inside out and allowing it to expose wonders beyond what you could see before.
If you are seeking wisdom and the bright path of righteousness Proverbs encourages, it requires us to step into the light in a new way. Maybe you’ve looked at Jesus externally, evaluated his teachings, read passages from the Bible, attended worship services just to check things out. You feel like you have good knowledge about Jesus, but something isn’t connecting. Stepping into a relationship with Jesus will open your eyes to something different, a wise and righteous awakening to the world God can show you by the light of his Son.
Lewis would write in another work, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else. Allow Jesus to be the light that illuminates the world around you and you’ll never see things the same again.
Questions for reflection:
- How would you describe the difference between intelligence and wisdom?
- What would it look like for you to pursue a “wise” life? What’s a first step you could take?