At the apex of the Roman Empire there was a famous saying, “All roads lead to Rome.” This was so because the whole Roman road system was designed for travelers to have a way back to the Capital. In a spiritual sense Jesus also spoke about a system of roads in Matthew 7:13-14 that lead to two different places: destruction and life. In life there are two possible destinations. Which road are we traveling on? Word to the wise: wisdom can only be measured by our actions. In what direction are our actions walking?
“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Proverbs 4:18
Solomon used words that vividly depict the act of walking: “abandon,” “turn away,” “directed,” “your way,” “led,” “upright path,” “walk,” “run,” “pass by,” “steps,” “stumble,” “proceed,” “depart.” Solomon is intentionally associating wisdom with an action, because that is the only way to measure it. Wisdom only becomes wisdom when it is demonstrated by actions. God is very concerned that we demonstrate wisdom in the way that we walk, He wants us to walk in paths that lead to life. Herein is wisdom demonstrated–the wise walk in life. In verse 20 God is telling us to hear His words, it reminds me of what Jesus said in John 10:27-28, that His sheep hear His words and follow Him.
The word “hear” implies more than just the audible reception of words, rather it implies the application of the meaning of the words. It is like the verse that says be a doer of the word not just a hearer. The listener actually applies the words in his life and they produce life in him. That’s where true wisdom resides in making God’s words practical in our lives; to do so, one is wise–perhaps not in the eyes of the world, but at least in the eyes of God, which truly is the only set of eyes that matter in regards to right and wrong. To hear and do God’s words will be walking on a path of light that gets brighter and brighter until the full day when
“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”