5 A wise warrior is better than a strong one,
and a man of knowledge than one of strength;
6 for you should wage war with sound guidance—
victory comes with many counselors. – Proverbs 24:5-6
This ancient Proverb from Fellowship West’s Daily Scripture Reading strikes me as particularly poignant. As I reflected on the meaning I believe Solomon was trying to convey, I contemporized the verse a bit for our day.
In ancient times, strength was the most prized commodity. In a society where soldiers, farmers, and hunters dominated the workforce, the strongest man could produce the greatest wealth. In a sometimes violent world, the strongest man was the safest and most feared. Physical strength was a powerful commodity to leverage or acquire. It was “the thing” from a cultural standpoint. If Solomon were writing this proverb today, it might go like this:
5 A wise leader is better than a charismatic one,
and a man of knowledge than one who is affluent;
6 for you should navigate life and career with sound guidance—
success comes with many counselors. – Proverbs 24:5-6
From childhood, we’re conditioned to pursue what is cool, popular, and pragmatic. We are motivated to acquire whatever will help us make the team, get the job, or join the exclusive friend group. As life goes on, we oftentimes discover that in our ambitious pursuits we make big mistakes, which lead to big regrets. Solomon is encouraging us to avoid those mistakes and regret by advocating for wisdom over cool. He wants us to seek out wise, thoughtful friends more so than charismatic and powerful friends. He wants us to listen to voices who will tell us the truth we need to hear, not the truth we want to hear.
Dads, Moms, Managers, Teenagers, Business Owners, Coaches – Solomon is saying, surround yourself first and foremost with wise people. The rest will take care of itself.