Today’s Reading Proverbs 17:1-28
Have you ever sat in the presence of an old sage? A person who is full of wisdom and knowledge. One of my dearest mentors and confidants was my former pastor. This was a gentleman that knew my grandmother and grandfather, they were a minister and minister wife. He would fellowship with them on a regular basis. This means a lot because my grandfather passed away two years before I was born.
This pastor and I had a great relationship. We met when I was in middle school and he was such a gentle and caring individual. We continued our mentorship into my adult life. There were many instances that I would call him in the middle of the night with many dilemmas and situations. He always would have the right words to give me in those times. But I only understood him after I was an adult. He passed away a couple of years ago, but I can still hear his voice and his many sayings.
The most interesting part of our relationship is that as a young youth, I could hardly understand anything that he said. The words were intelligible and crafted, but I was still without experience to fully understand the true meaning of the wisdom. It was only several months before he passed away that I found the key of his wisdom. We can spend countless hours trying to understand what our elders are saying, but it is only revealed when we have the experience to truly understand and make the correct choices.
In this proverb, it reminds me of my time with my pastor. At first glance, there are many different pieces that somehow come together. I picture the author writing things for a purpose, but they are also somewhat random. From my understanding there are four people that are addressed in this proverb: the children, the fool, the wicked, the wise. Throughout our lives we can be each of these individuals. We have to make the deciding and discerning effort to listen to the wisdom of the spirit.
We understand that children are individuals that are not able to make decisions on their own ability to see the best for themselves. Fools are by biblical definition are is someone that disregards God’s word. Fools are individuals that do not learn from their mistakes. Someone that continues to do the same thing even though they know it is not correct. Proverbs 26:11 – Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.The wicked are those that overtly despise righteousness, truth, justice and honor. The wise are individuals who have keen judgment, deep understanding, and a capacity for sound judgment.
6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool bent on folly.
16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom,
when they are not able to understand it?
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues.
23 The wicked accept bribes in secret
to pervert the course of justice.
Wise Counsel or Advice
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
26 If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good,
surely to flog honest officials is not right.
27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
We at one point and time in our lives have been part of each of these individuals. We all have had times when we were young. We didn’t have the ability to see the fullness of life and had to have mentors and helpers to guide us to sound judgment. We have been foolish in many ways. We knew that God needed us to do and continue to make the same follies. When we are corrected with love and support we are able to transition to understanding. There may be times that we are wicked in our own way. But there are many times and opportunities that God will give us a way to step away from wickedness and understanding and choose Him. Then after many iterations and times we are hopeful to get to the point of being able to discern and understand more with experience and trials. But with the new understanding comes more responsibility, we have to help the others that come behind us.
So this proverb is for all of us. It is stating something for each of us at different times in our lives. Let us pray that God will be able to use us in all of our forms: child, fool, wicked, and wise; to be able to allow His glory to prevail in spite of the craziness of life.