This week I’ll be comparing Proverbs to my Shelby GT500. I know that seems strange, but when I read the words in chapter four I am reminded of the beast in my garage. Well, she’s in my dad’s garage at the moment, given that I am living in Korea right now, but anyway, you get the picture.
My Shelby GT500 pulls close to 600 horses at the crank and about 520 at the wheel. She’s fast. Very fast. Faster than most cars on the road. And if I’m not careful, she’ll scare the daylights out of me. One time I did a 180 on my neighborhood street without even trying – not that I would in that kind of area – by touching the gas pedal on a wet road while simultaneously turning the wheel to round a corner. That’s it. But in that split second I was facing in the opposite direction from where I was just traveling.
Not long after Bill brought home my beautiful steel horse he showed me this article about a woman who crashed her GT500, which disintegrated all along the freeway she was driving on. StangTV.com reported:
You can only tell that this disintegrated Mustang is a 2009 supercharged Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (because of) the stripes, wheels and the Shelby Cobra emblem. Parts of the car scattered everywhere….Speed seems to be a factor in the wreck, which tends to be when people have 500-horses under the hood and a lead foot. According to the source, she was trying to turn onto the interstate via the on ramp a little too quickly and hit a dirt embankment near the bottom instead and the car flew into pieces. Large parts of this pricey GT-500 were strewn all over the place and came to rest yards away from the completely mangled frame. The supercharged 5.4-liter engine that was powering the Shelby flew out from her car and struck a small car behind her….
Chapter four in Proverbs is a reminder to men (and women) that wisdom reigns supreme. If you keep the words of God close to your heart you will live (Proverbs 4:4), if you follow the voice of God He will protect you (4:6) and if you appreciate the advice given to you in scripture you will be praised (4:8). But if you fail to do these things you will falter; you will swerve off the road and suffer great misfortune.
Part Five – Chapter 4:1-27
Wisdom is Supreme
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a boy in my father’s house,
still tender, and an only child of my mother,
4 He taught me and said,
“Lay hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor.”
The lady who was driving the GT500 in the picture above apparently lacked a proper respect for the massive torque and power that her car possessed. Rather than abide by the speed limit set for that particular portion of road, she took matters into her own hands. Thinking that she could handle excessive speed on an interstate on-ramp she tossed the speed limit rules set forth by her state government aside. But by doing so, her car wound up in pieces, literally, and she barely made it out alive.
Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
11 I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
King Solomon tells us that Godly wisdom is given to us for our sake, so that we will not be thwarted by obstacles or caught up in the weeds of the world. The speed limit is there for our safety, so that we may live to see another day.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot sleep until they do evil;
they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
24 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Make level paths for your feet
and take only the ways that are firm.
27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
This is how a young man (or woman) will ruin his life: walking in the footsteps of the corrupt before them, taking others with them down a dark path of wickedness and feasting in the sin of their ways (4:14-17) until one day they look up from their darkness wondering how they ever got into the pit of ruin they are festering in in the first place (4:19). These wayward youth speak evil, seek evil and walk down the dark alley paths. Are you one of those who is following in the ways of another, traversing down a road of life that will lead only to wreckage?
I can hardly blame the woman who drove her car a bit too fast, losing control and scattering her GT500 all along the interstate. My car is every bit a temptress as I imagine her’s was. I’ve driven it too fast along the freeways of my town too; it’s hard to listen to the voice of wisdom when the whine of her supercharger screams “floor it!” Oh yes, I can relate.
The impact from the crash described above caused the massive V8 engine to detach from its mounts, sitting yards away from the body of the car. I’ve burnt up an engine before too, although I did that on a race track. Still, it could have very easily been me in the news that day in 2012. We all need to keep our eyes fixed straight ahead (4:25). We’ve got to stop swerving from one lane to another and instead pick the one right down the middle. We need to take our foot off the gas and instead let God take control. Feed the vehicle that is your body with the words of God and you will not veer from the interstate that leads to Heaven.