Pulpit-Press is pleased to announce the release of our latest book: Wise Up! A 12-week study of the Proverbs.
Here is an excerpt:
Author Max Lucado tells the story of a wise woodcutter who once lived in
a small village. Although the man was poor, he owned a beautiful white
horse, and everyone who saw the animal was envious of the man’s possession.
People would offer him vast amounts of money for it, but the man always
refused. After all, he said, to him the horse was not a possession but a
friend. And how could he sell his friend?
The villagers thought the man to be incredibly foolish. “One day,” they
said, “someone will come along and steal your horse, and then you will have
nothing.” This appeared to be proven true one morning when the old man could
not find the animal in his stable. “You see,” said the villagers. “Someone
has taken the horse. It would have been better for you if you had sold it.
Now you will die in poverty.”
The old man shook his head. “How can you say that the horse has been
stolen? We only know that it is not in the stable. It is foolish to assume
anything more.” The villagers laughed, but two weeks later, the horse
returned. He hadn’t been stolen as the villagers thought. He had just run
away into the forest, and when he came back he brought a dozen wild horses
“Old man,” the villagers said, “you were wise not to jump to conclusions.
Now we see that the horse going missing was actually a great blessing.”
The old woodcutter shook his head. “How can you say that this is a
blessing? We only know that the wild horses returned with him. It is foolish
to assume anything more.” The villagers laughed, for they knew that with a
little bit of work, the old man could train the wild horses and sell them at
great profit. But a few days later, they learned that the old man’s son had
broken both his legs trying to do so.
“You were right,” they said to him. “The wild horses have proven to be a
curse. Now you have no one to help you in your old age, and you will be
poorer than before.”
The old man shook his head. “Once again you assume too much. We only know
that my son broke his legs. Who can say if this is a blessing or a curse?”
Sure enough, a few weeks later, a war broke out in the region, and all the
young men in the village were required to join the army. However, because
the old man’s son had been injured, he was spared from the draft.
“You were right,” the villagers said as they wept. “Your son’s accident
was a blessing. At least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”
The old man shook his head. “I see that there is no way to reason with
you, for you always jump to conclusions. Who can tell if your sons going to
war will be a blessing or a curse? Who knows if they are gone forever? Only
What separated the old man from the villagers? How was he able to see
past his immediate situation and not make rash decisions? The answer is that
he had wisdom. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, once wrote, “Wisdom
is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get
understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you
honor, when you embrace her” (Proverbs 4:7-8).
Solomon says that godly wisdom is to be valued above all other things in
this life. Why? So that we can live well. Again and again in the Bible we
read the phrase, “That it may go well with you.” We are told to keep God’s
commands “that it may go well” with us (Deuteronomy 4:40). We are told to
honor our parents “that it may be well” with us (5:16). Three times the
prophet Jeremiah tells us to walk in obedience to God “that it may go well”
with us (7:23; 38:20; 40:9).
Notice also that Solomon says, “Therefore get wisdom.” We don’t come into
this world already possessing wisdom. In fact, we are born into this world
as fools, and if we don’t work to change that, we will remain fools. The
apostle Paul put it this way to the believers in Corinth: “I fed you with
milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it,
and even now you are still not able” (1 Corinthians 3:2).
So, how can we obtain wisdom and reap its benefits?