Journal Proverbs 14 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: (Excerpts and paraphrase from Prov 14:1-9)
“The wisest of women builds her house…Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord…Knowledge is easy for a man of understanding…The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way…the upright enjoy(s) acceptance (with the guilt offering).”
“(the) folly of the hands (of a women) tears down (her house)…(whoever) is devious in their ways despises the Lord…By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back…a scoffer seeks wisdom in vain…the folly of a fool is deceiving and deceives his own way…Fools mock at the guilt offering…”
Observation: I find it instructive to break up the various verses of Proverbs to separate descriptions of the way of righteousness from the way of foolishness. At times, I need the description of the foolish more than the righteous because when I peer into the mirror, I need to determine whom I am looking at?
Analysis: The folly of the fool. What defines being a fool? Goodness, I should know by now, for I have years of experience in practicing.
One of the ways I have discerned the way of a fool is that it is easy; I go with the flow of life and culture, I don’t buck trends, I find pleasure in what the world around me finds pleasure in.
I have noticed I have become numb to certain ways of the world and even make excuses for them.
When I took my first steps in Christianity, it was during a time and around a sub-culture that “Christians were to live differently; Christians are to be counter to the culture of the world around us.” I should pull out some of the old publications of the times. Communes were a big topic.
Should I notice fools in the Church? Sometimes it is so demonstrative that it cannot be helped but be noticed. But that isn’t the thrust of the scriptures.
The purpose of the Scriptures is to look into the mirror. I cannot even end that sentence with “first” because that insinuates that “once I am through looking at myself, others are now fair game, the “hunt for fools” is on.
And that is where I (and perhaps a lot of other folks) tend to fail. I do not like peering into my own soul.
Paul told the Corinthian church to “examine yourself; see if you are in the faith.” David figuratively pulled out his own soul and demanded, “Why, soul, are you despondent within me? Hope again in God…”
Prayer: Father, waiting upon You must be one of the hardest things to do. Patience with others is difficult enough but exercising patience with You? Excruciating most times. I am at war with desiring to walk fully in Your Ways and my compromising self which says to me “that’s good enough today…”
Honor, uprightness, understanding, wisdom: Most folks (including myself) have difficulty in fathoming the fullness of these words, much less invoking them to action.
Help me, O Lord. AMEN