Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 48, Wisdom Gives Us Patience

Solomon begins by talking about the folly of the foolish, then he concludes with a profound statement about the value of patience.

"Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools." (Proverbs 16:22) Since he is a king, Solomon has likely seen many examples of the differences in circumstances in the lives of the wise and the lives of the foolish. He's seen bad choices come back to haunt people. He says, "The wise person will avoid a great deal of trouble, but the foolish person causes himself harm."

"The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction." (Proverbs 16:23) This is similar to a verse we studied yesterday, in which Solomon said the wise have persuasive words.

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24) I know which people to talk to when I need encouragement, don't you? They can be counted on to strengthen us in our faith. They speak wise words, godly words, that we need to hear.

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 16:25) Solomon previously made a similar statement in Chapter 14. We can't trust our human instincts. We have to live by the word of God. The things that seem right to our carnal minds may be contrary to what He's said. For example, eating the fruit seemed right to Eve. It was attractive to her. It looked tasty. The serpent promised it would make her like God. But all it did was drive a wedge between her and her Maker. That's what sin will do.

"The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on." (Proverbs 16:26) The king says, "A man who doesn't work will soon be hungry. When the pantry gets empty he will be driven to work. This is a good thing. There's nothing wrong with doing honest work to put food on the table."

"A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire. A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." (Proverbs 16:27-28) I don't know what makes a person want to keep people at odds with each other. Life is so much nicer when everyone gets along. It's very un-Christian to stir up trouble, for the Lord Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35) Our testimony won't have much influence on unbelievers if they don't see the love of Christ in us.

"A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good. Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity; whoever purses their lips is bent on evil." (Proverbs 16:29-30) It's not enough for some people to be troublemakers themselves; they want to be a bad influence on those around them.

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness." (Proverbs 16:31) A person who is both old and wise is a person sought after for advice. Living righteously doesn't guarantee a long life, but there is honor in having lived many decades for the Lord. Likewise, it's a shame to have reached old age and still be living in sin and to have learned nothing from mistakes.

"Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32) This is one of those verses that stings me a little. I'm an impatient person, as I've mentioned before. I have a very intense awareness of time and whether or not I'm using it wisely, so anything that holds me up during the day has a tendency to make me irritable. Multi-tasking makes me incredibly happy because it makes me feel like I'm getting the most out of my day. But there's a downside to all this productivity, because it sometimes hinders me from obeying this command, "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10a) I get so caught up in everything I'm doing that time with God gets pushed to the side. I start thinking I'm in control of my life instead of trusting in the Lord. I miss opportunities to be a godly influence on others because I'm so caught up in my own stuff that I hardly notice what's going on around me.

Who would have thought a patient person deserves more honor than a mighty warrior? But that's what Solomon is saying. His own father rose to fame because of his victory in battle. No one had ever heard of young David from Bethlehem until he killed Goliath, the Philistine giant who no one in Israel wanted to fight. David was a mighty warrior all his life, but Solomon says it's even better to be a patient person. He says that self-control is better than brilliant battle strategy. The Bible tells us that God is patient. Being patient makes us more like Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment