“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks." Proverbs 1:20-21
Frank Sinatra famously sang about New York City, "If I can make it here I'll make it anywhere!"
The city requires survival skills. The competition is tough, the living conditions cramped, and the work hours long. Now that I live near Manhattan, and in its busy commuter community, I realize how many distractions press down daily upon those who are fighting to survive. Some are distracted by trying to afford the cost of living, those more fortunate are distracted by the many pleasures their money can afford.
The verses above remind us that wisdom is readily available for those who listen. Yet many do not listen because they are distracted. Wisdom wants attention, but competes with noisy streets and marketplaces. You do not have to live in New York City, or in any big city, to recognize such distractions. If nothing else, distractions are delivered to our televisions 24/7. The city never sleeps, indeed!
But look again at these verses and notice something. Even though the streets are noisy, wisdom “cries aloud.” Wisdom goes to the marketplace. Wisdom positions herself at the city’s entrance so she is seen bright and early. What prevents us from paying heed? Perhaps these “distractions” are really choices.
Listening to wisdom is shorthand for listening to God, and taking God’s words to heart: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). Why would we distract ourselves from such a privilege?