“Let’s go to the beach! The beach! The beach!” my son kept saying. “That’s not gonna happen, buddy,” I told him. “We’re in Indiana.” To my surprise, we saw a sign for the Indiana Dunes National Park, with a large lake and a beach (please forgive my ignorance of geography). That’s where the same son, who can’t swim, stepped into water that immediately covered his head. I panicked mildly, then lifted him out of the water to safety.
Whereas yesterday’s shield metaphor indicated God’s protection from direct attacks, today we learn that wisdom saves us from more indirect attacks: the allure of evil. Proverbs 2:12 says wisdom will rescue us “from the ways of wicked men,” and 2:16 says “wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman.” The original audience of Proverbs was primarily young men, so the author highlights the ways a young man might be tempted. Men can also be adulterous, and women can also be wicked, but that’s not the point Solomon is making here.
Solomon compares wisdom to a father lifting his son out of too-deep waters. The crooked path of wicked men promises much, as does the “wayward woman with her seductive words” (v. 16), but wisdom quickly lifts us out of the water and shows us the truth: “the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it” (vv. 21–22). Wisdom rescues us by showing us what awaits us at the end of each road, and only one road leads to life.
>> There are times when we, too, are in over our head. We find ourselves in situations that threaten to drown us; we have no idea what to do. Rest assured that your heavenly Father is present and ready to scoop you out of your circumstances. He is with you.
Lord God, there are unfriendly powers at work in this world—and not all of them are human. Knowing that evil is greater than we are, we turn to You like little children, trusting You to keep us safe.