"On top of the heights beside the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand"
Wisdom wants to get the word out to people to live a different way. She does not hide what she knows in some dark place reserved only for the special few who will spend years looking and recite some bizarre incantations. Wisdom is right out in the market place.
Wisdom is in a prominent place. When life is not working the way you have put it together, then look up for there is a wiser way of living. And right around you – in a prominent place – are the people who will give you the answer.
There are a few things that are interesting in this verse:
Wisdom is prominent -- she is on the tops of the heights, right beside the way, where the paths meet.
She calls for people to turn in and listen to a different way of life. She does not call out what to do. Wisdom does not spew her pearls to everyone. You must turn in and be willing to listen before you hear it. Some people are just not ready to listen that there is a better way than working harder and doing what seems best.
The place where wisdom stations herself is the same place that the elders of a town station themselves or where the supervisors of a crew or company station themselves. There are people who have gone down the road you are on that would love to share the secrets of how to get ahead, but you must be willing to listen. You must turn in. In other words, you must be willing to listen and submit to those who have been down the road farther than you.
Wisdom is not internally discoverable. You can't just think about things yourself and come up with the better way to live. You need to read a book or talk to people who are wise. Many times we try and appear self-contained, not needing anyone to help us figure things out. This is the fool's plan. Wisdom is calling all around you about how to build a better life, but you do have to be humble enough to listen and change.
Now it is important to say at this point that wisdom – as delineated in the next few chapters – actually has succeeded at the area being considered. Unfortunately in our day, we have a host of "experts" who offer their ideas on how to live, but they have not succeeded in that arena. They have degrees and the ability to lecture convincingly. This kind of academic learning is not necessarily connected with wisdom. It is important to recognize this distinction because we do have people tell us to learn from them, but they have not been wise themselves. We have "psuedowise" people who have studied all the different things to do and then begun teaching the one they like – not because it worked but because they like how it sounds.
Do not be fooled. Those who have raised great kids should be listened to. Those who have succeeded in business without blowing out their marriages and kids should be listened to. Those who have amassed wealth without becoming greedy should be followed. Those who actually have a righteous walk with God should be listened to. Those who have a great marriage should be followed.
As you are reading this, it may be that some aspect of your life is not working. It could be your marriage; it could be your family; it could be your money or your career. God has stationed people around you who understand wisdom in the area you are lacking. If you ask, they will tell you. It requires humility and a willingness to change the way you live your life. If you are unwilling to do things differently, then any wisdom they would share with you would be worthless.