Proverbs 10 – August 10

CC Image courtesy of david gee on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of david gee on Flickr.

Proverbs 10
Author: Daniel Wheeler

Hatred stirs up conflict,
but love covers over all wrongs.
(Pr. 10:12)

So simple and so profoundly true.

I see this in a world of malice,
never resting from its search
to conquer and destroy.

I find this in those I know,
some who shelter hate as if a dying ember; and
still others who have grace to bury it in ash.

I see this in myself – in the animus
leaping from the shadow of my heart and from
the harm it leaves behind.

I find this in Almighty God and his
great undying love, a light that
blinds him to offense.

So profoundly simple and so true.

Where you see strife, there
you will find hatred;
Find forgiveness and
you will have peace.

Proverbs 26 – July 26

CC Image courtesy of Rachel Monroe on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Rachel Monroe on Flickr.

Proverbs 26
Author: Daniel Wheeler

So, do I or don’t I “answer a fool according to his folly?” This is the question in light of Proverbs 26:4-5. One verse cautions that if we do we will become fools ourselves, the second cautions that if we don’t the fool will become “wise in his own eyes.” Frustrating.

We so desperately want things to be simple. Life is complicated and navigating it equally so. Proverbs, at first glance, appeals to that desire for simple, clear instruction.

However, when we look carefully at Proverbs, we discover that living wisely is not so simple. We discover that it is not enough to know what to do, we must also know when to do it, “There is a time for everything…” says the Teacher.

So, how can we know the proper time to “answer the fool?” The text itself may provide some clues. To begin, we should note that all fools are not created equal. Some are simply naïve and don’t know any better and may yet respond to instruction. But some are fools because they are proud – these fools are “wise in their own eyes” and have rejected wise instruction because they “know better.”

Interestingly, verses 4-16 all have something to do with fools. First, in verses 6-11 we are given two examples of persons who are made fools because they trusted a fool to perform work. (26:6 and 10) Were they somehow “answering the fool according to his folly?”

Next, the phrase, “wise in his own eyes” appears in some form in verses 5, 12, and 16 – first in reference to the fool, next in contrast with the fool, and last in reference to the sluggard. Thus, linking the proud fool of verses 4 and 5 to the proud sluggard.

Finally, verses 12-16 concern the sluggard with verses 12 and 16 indicating there is more hope for a fool than a sluggard who is proud. Is this fool is beyond instruction?

So, how does this help us answer the question? Perhaps, the text is telling us what to do – answer the fool according to his folly – and when to do it – before he becomes proud – because then it will be too late. The example then is the one who will not work. Teach him to work before he becomes proud. If you try to teach him once he is proud, he will only make a fool out of you.

So, do I or don’t I? It depends and only God can provide the answer. Frustrating. The good news is that he is faithful to do it, if we will ask and listen.

May God give us wisdom to know how and when to act – that our knowledge may be used effectively, in ways that bless and lead to righteousness.

Proverbs 20 – June 20

CC Image courtesy of Ed Schipul on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Ed Schipul on Flickr.

Proverbs 20
Author: Daniel Wheeler

One of the early instructions we hear in Proverbs is to keep or protect sound judgment and discretion. There are many things that endanger our sound judgment and discretion and will lead us astray. Some are obvious and some are not.

Proverbs 20 touches on a few of the things we encounter that can deceive us and entice us to act like fools. Alcohol is one of the obvious. We don’t have to look very far to find examples of people who have allowed alcohol to rob them of their sound judgment and have suffered terribly as a result.

Likewise, we can be deceived by others who wish to rob us – for example, dishonest buyers and dishonest sellers. We must be aware of circumstances where people may not be telling us the truth.

Perhaps the most deceptive thing we encounter is our own hearts. Knowing our own hearts and our own motives – seeing our own pride – hearing our own lies – this wisdom and insight can only come from God. Only God can reveal the heart.

Perhaps the most deceptive thing we encounter is our own hearts. [Tweet This]

 
So, how does God reveal this wisdom? Ironically, it may come in the sincere rebuke of a wise person who wounds us with God’s truth.

May we have the humility to reject deception and accept instruction.