Monday, July 17, 2017
Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 54, The Wise Person Accepts Help
Today Solomon talks about having a humble spirit that is willing to accept help. He praises the wisdom of being humble enough to realize we don't know it all.
"Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor." (Proverbs 18:12) Haughtiness is similar to pride, pride we may not even know we have. But anytime we think we can take care of ourselves without God's help, we have gotten prideful. We think we are a big enough deal to handle things, so the Lord has to show us we are wrong. Verse 12 reminds me of something that happened when I was a little girl. I was the kind of kid who never wanted anyone to help me with anything. I thought I was a big girl and didn't need my hand held while crossing the street. I didn't want help with tying my shoes or buttoning my coat or any of the things parents have to do for a little kid. I remember being with my mom at the post office one winter morning and she was trying to hold my hand to help me down the snow-covered sidewalk. I refused to let her have my hand and I slipped and fell on my bottom right there in front of everyone. I felt so humiliated. I'd never read any of King Solomon's sayings at that young age, but if I had I would have known he was right when he said, "Humility comes before honor." I would have had to agree with David who said, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word." (Psalm 119:67) You can bet the next time my mom wanted to hold my hand, I let her. And that's how it works with God. We refuse His help, then we take an embarrassing tumble, and then we learn we should always take the hand He has held out to us.
"To answer before listening---that is folly and shame." (Proverbs 18:13) This is another example of a haughty heart. We don't know it all. We should listen to the whole matter before we offer an opinion on it. It's better to think about our answer and be correct than to blurt out something silly and be wrong.
"The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" (Proverbs 18:14) Sometimes it's easier to be sick in body than to be sick in mind. I went through an odd immune system illness back in 1998 that caused my body to attack and inflame all my joints. The pain was worse than anything I'd ever experienced or have ever experienced since. But the mental anguish was even worse. I didn't know what the outcome was going to be, so I panicked often about whether or not I was going to be able to keep working, whether or not I'd end up unable to walk, and whether or not I'd be in pain for the rest of my life. It came to the point that I felt I could endure the physical ailments if my mind could just be at peace. We can get through pretty much anything as long as our spirit isn't broken, as long as we can find it within ourselves to not give up. This is why David once prayed, "Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (Psalm 51:12b)
"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out." (Proverbs 18:15) The wise person is willing to learn because he doesn't think he already knows it all. The wise person has a hunger for God's word and a desire to know Him better and better every day.
The truth is that we need God for everything. He created us. He sustains us. He supplies everything we need. Imagine if a wealthy and powerful earthly king came to our house and knocked on our door and said, "Everything you will ever need...I've got it! When you're sick I'm your healer. When you're discouraged I'm your hope. When you have material needs I'm the one who will supply them. There's nothing you could ever need or want that I don't have." Would we slam the door in his face? Would we say, "No thanks, I believe I can take care of myself"? I think we'd invite him in and give him the finest chair in the house and start serving him coffee and cake. I think we'd listen to everything he had to say. So why do we treat the King of kings any differently? Why do we spurn the hand of Almighty God, the hand that created everything that exists? There's nothing we could ever need or want that He doesn't have! Let's invite Him into our homes, into our hearts, and into every aspect of our lives. There's no need to go it alone. The One who possesses infinite power is ready and willing to help us.