Steer A Straight Course
God of power and glory, I praise Your holy name. Speak to me and work through me today.
Consider: "The value of experience is not in seeing much but in seeing wisely" (William Osler, 1849-1919).
I chew the rich diet of these verses slowly, cherishing old favorites and savoring new tastes. The Lord is mentioned more times than in Proverbs 10. I look for a pattern of these occurrences. There are again several proverbs about speech--gentle words (1), bull's-eye words (23), words pondered rather than gushing out (28). There are other favorites, about the happy heart and cheerful face (13) and about consulting the board (advisers, 22). The jaws of death open suddenly in verses 11 and 24, hidden from us but open to the Lord.
I write out the eleven or so verses that focus on the wise person and/or the fool, the scoffer. The fool nibbles on folly (14), ignores or spurns discipline, resents correction, lacks judgment. In 10:1 he causes grief to his mother, but here in verse 20 he has grown more callous. In contrast, the wise person keeps her eyes fixed on the goal (21; Prov. 4:25), is teachable, seeks knowledge and makes good use of it (2a), shrewdly heeds correction and spreads joy. The fear of the Lord (33) is not just the gateway to this behavior; a God-fearing humility characterizes her whole course.
I reflect on my own teachability, not just the correction of my external behavior, for this chapter mentions "the heart" seven times (7,11,13,14,15,28,30), and what comes out of my lips reflects the state of my heart (7). I turn to James 3:17 and lay this verse on my heart, asking God for wisdom with its eightfold fruits, remembering the whole emphasis of James on practical Christianity--so that wisdom is not just about knowledge and information, but about discerning and generous action.
"Be teachable" is a four-fold admonition (5,12,31,32). How teachable are you? What attitude can help you be a good learner (33)? See what Paul had to say about the subject (Phil. 3:12-15).
Lord, give me gentle, observant, diagnostic wisdom. Keep my eyes and my heart close to You.
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