Today, I am thankful for the book of Proverbs. I read a chapter out of this book every day, and I’m so grateful for it – there is so much practical life wisdom contained within its pages!
Consider the truth found in this verse, which I read only yesterday:
The book of Proverbs is super clear to indicate how God differentiates a wise person from a fool. From what I can tell, the world is full of a lot of educated fools, but very few people actually seek and attain wisdom.
What I really like about this book is how practical it is. In fact, I had an opportunity to personally appreciate and apply the principles of this passage only earlier this evening:
I was in a meeting at church, speaking with a woman with whom I am not well acquainted (or even acquainted at all, if I’m honest). Anyway, she was talking at some length, and it seemed like she had a lot going on in her personal life. Unfortunately, she did not seem to respond to the normal social cues I was giving that the conversation should be concluding, and continued to prattle. As I stood there, I waited for my conversational offramp – the opportunity to discreetly, yet politely exit the conversation as quickly as possible. However, I was completely floored when this woman made an offhand remark about me that was incredibly thoughtless and rude.
In retrospect, I don’t think that she meant any harm. I sense that she lacks a verbal filter, and just says whatever comes into her mind. However, her remark was still quite rude, nonetheless.
To her credit, she seemed to recognize her faux pas and apologized. My impression, though, was that she was apologizing more out of her own sense of embarrassment, rather than out of any sense of regret for the pain she might’ve caused me. I’m still rather stunned as I think about it.
Anyway, I don’t think I’m overstepping when I say that this woman’s behavior is a perfect example of how the Bible describes a fool. I’m not making any judgments about her intellectual prowess, but rather about her ability to discipline her thoughts and her speech. When we lack discipline in our conversation with others, we demonstrate a profound lack of wisdom.
In contrast, this verse in Proverbs 12 describes a key attribute of the “prudent man” – one who possesses the discipline to keep his mouth shut at the appropriate time, and to appropriately filter the thoughts that comes into his mind. By God’s grace, it is my sincere hope to be a prudent woman who is marked by wisdom, rather than as an imprudent one who bluntly says whatever is on her mind.
To me, the quest for wisdom is a lifelong journey – I’ll never reach the end of it (at least not in this lifetime). I believe there’s always room for improvement, and that there is always an opportunity to learn and grow, if we are open to it.
If you feel like this is an area where you’d like to develop, I would encourage you to start the habit of reading a chapter from the book of Proverbs every day. It really doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or not – you’ll find that the wisdom contained in the book is extremely helpful for most any situation in life.
I think I might’ve made this suggestion in another blog post, but my experience this evening reminded me that it bears repeating. There are many people around us who have acquired vast storehouses of knowledge, but comparatively few individuals are wise by God’s standards.
Here’s my prayer for today: Dear Lord, I thank You afresh for the book of Proverbs. Thank You for the way You are teaching me something new from it each and every day. Help me to remember that the quest for wisdom is an ongoing one, and I will never really “arrive” until I meet You face-to-face in heaven. In the interim, I thank You for the wisdom and grace that You’ve given me to navigate the peaks and valleys of life, and the prudence and discipline You’ve instilled in me so that I know when to keep my mouth shut (or when to speak). You know that the book of Proverbs is one of my absolute favorites – I am so very grateful for it, as well as for the life-giving wisdom that You provide through it! In Your name I pray, Amen.
PS – I selected this picture intentionally. The photo is from a black sand beach in Hawaii; the way I look at it, you can either appreciate the uniqueness of the black sand, or you can spin your wheels trying to understand why the sand isn’t white. It’s all a matter of perspective – it’s much the same with wisdom, too.