“Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.”
Proverbs 4:26 (ESV)
Last week, as I was bringing my neighbor’s dog back into their house, I was met unexpectedly by one of their other pets: a bearded dragon. Even after taking care of my neighbor’s little dog every day for the past six months, this was the first time their other pet was not in his glass cage. Being terrified of reptiles my whole life, I just had to stare at the big lizard that was not supposed to be there in the foyer. As the bearded dragon and I were staring at each other, I began pondering my options:
- Just pretend I didn’t see him and leave. No, that would not be the Christ-like thing to do. Plus, I didn’t know how the cat or the dog would do with the bearded dragon walking around.
- Pick him up. No. Too terrified to do that.
- Call the owner and then follow the bearded dragon around the house until the owner called me back. Yes.
Then, in a stroke of luck, as I was following the bearded dragon into the living room, he jumped into a basket filled with cat toys and just sat there, looking almost stunned in his new environment. Wisdom told me this was my chance. I scooped up the basket and rushed him back to his cage, praying he wouldn’t move, bite or spit. I really didn’t know what he was capable of. He was quite good, though, and probably more scared than I was as we made the quick trip to his cage. I nudged him out of the basket and into his cage, closed the door, and took a deep breath. All was safe… for both of us!
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make a quick decision? How did you handle it? Did you heed Proverbs 4:26, which exhorts us to ponder our ways before moving?
Throughout Chapter 4 of Proverbs, Solomon continues to exhort us to heed wisdom, and he relates wisdom to the idea of a path. According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a path is defined as “a trodden way; a track specially constructed for a particular use; a way of life, conduct or thought.” From this definition and from our own experience, we know that a path has been walked along many times; after all, that is what made it become a path. When making decisions, we usually want to know what someone else has done in a given situation because they know the end result. They’ve been down the path.
In all of life’s situations, we can count on the Lord knowing the end result. That’s where wisdom comes in. Heeding wisdom is good because it leads us along straight paths (Proverbs 4:11). Godly wisdom always points us in one direction: that of love. Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31 the two greatest things we can do are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (NIV).
Wisdom keeps our steps from being hampered and it prevents us from stumbling (Proverbs 4:12). In verse 26, we read that wisdom is the act of pondering the path we want to take. And when we ponder, or think carefully and thoroughly through a decision, our path will be level or sure. It’s hard to stumble on a sure path.
As you are faced with decisions, keep your feet on the firm and sure path by remembering the origin of wisdom, the Lord.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
This week, walk securely in the light of God’s word, and run in the path of his commands!