Verse: Proverbs 12
1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.
In a general attempt to be accused of heresy (or at least disrespectful), I can best compare Proverbs 12 to a pile of fortune cookies. There’s what I would consider two parallel trains of thought going on here. There’s encouragement to actually being receptive to outside advice and then there’s the end result of being wicked (not the play, which is amazing).
On Taking Advice
15 The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.
16 Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult.
Have you ever worked with or had a teacher who was just utterly obnoxious? Be it mansplaining or more generic condescension, the message gets lost in the delivery, right. Its hard to, while you’re certain you know what you’re doing, have patience for someone telling you how to do your job. Its not fun to be treated like an idiot. Here’s the thing, though, the value is in the knowledge. And you can discipline yourself to love that knowledge; you can crave it enough to put up with anything.
At least, that’s Solomon’s position. It’s mine, too. In my job, I work with A LOT of different kinds of people, and I’m rarely in a position to reveal my annoyance at anything. So, if I can get to the end of a call or (dare I invoke the word) zoom and have my questions answered, I’m willing to receive all the extraneous “noise,” be it over explaining or hearing out a person’s frustrations with some part of a project. Well, that’s the case when my mental health is intact. I was once sent to an eight-hour Microsoft Excel seminar (for beginners). I’ve been using Excel since its inception (which is to say at about age 12); I’ve used it so long that I started on Lotus 1-2-3.
I learned one thing. It wasn’t the focus of the seminar, it took 30 seconds to learn. During the other seven hours, fifty nine minutes, and thirty seconds, I knew more than the teacher. Think Ron Swanson at Lowes. That one thing I learned was a single trick. I taught it to all of my coworkers and it saved about 20 hours of our modeling time. So, that’s about $5,000 for each of our clients.
The point here is just a practical lifehack. If you are slow to retort, and patient in your listening – you’ll gather up treasures of knowledge that others will miss.
On the Wicked
2 Good people obtain favor from the Lord, but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.
3 No one can be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
5 The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them.
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.
10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
12 The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers, but the root of the righteous endures.
21 No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22 The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
Have you ever noticed that wicked people always fail? They always get what’s coming to them. Most of the destitute got that way through their wicked ways and business dealings. Right, no, we see the opposite. So how wise was Solomon? This is one of those “take the long view” passages or have God’s priorities. I can’t promise you that they’ll all “get what’s coming to them” on Judgement Day. God’s made it pretty clear that it’s not our business. Don’t worry about the wicked, worry about being or becoming the wicked. The focus is on the foundations and roots that the wicked have. When trouble comes and wipes away all you have built. The righteous have a foundation of which they can rebuild.
How can we say the house of the righteous stands firm, when we see good people fail? We can rebuild. It may take the help of those who honestly care about us, it may take the kindness of strangers, it may take a little energon and a lot of luck, it may take relentless effort to claw back to where you were, but a strong foundation will let you rebuild or build new. Focus on building that, and ignore the wicked, they’ve got all their fill of trouble to deal with anyway.
Father, quiet my mind and give me patience. Teach me to hear and crave what is good, and to filter out what is not. Show me how to build a strong foundation, so that I can weather any storm. Amen.
Author: Chris Simmons