Journal Proverbs 9 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer or he will hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me (wisdom) your days will be multiplied, and years added to your life.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” Prov 9:7-12
Observation: What do I want to be when I grow up? A scoffer or wise man? What am I now?
Analysis: The Scriptures are eye-opening with “if/then” statements, especially in Proverbs.
“If I act in [this] way, then it is called and/or recognized as either foolish or wise.” Pretty much as simple as that. It may be why Proverbs are good to read but not heard from as much as other parts of the Bible.
After all, if I peer into Proverbs and I see “hey, that sounds like me!” and continue to read a description of a fool, then I can feel bad about myself (and that isn’t good, right?).
Proverbs isn’t for the soft minded.
In Chapter 9, I read two things in the same sets of sentences: The proclaimer and the recipient. I am convinced I can be both at the same time.
What is the main characteristic of a scoffer? I think “he is wise in his own eyes.” Self-proclaimed knowledge can do that to a guy—make a “feeling” of wisdom where none exists.
What are the main characteristics of a wise man? Solomon is blunt and without equivocation: “The FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” and “…knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
Wise insight. I noticed in myself that this two-word phrase rolled effortlessly off my lips—and I paid ZERO attention to “fearing the Lord” as the precursor to everything. Does this happen to everybody like it did to me?
I want to avoid scoffers and the repercussions that speaking/correcting scoffers can bring; so I naturally focus on gaining wisdom and knowledge for those are the tools to be successful. But here I am noticing that I do not address the Precursor: Fear of the Lord.
Sunday, Kel preached out of Acts 9. Towards the end of the chapter, the scriptures reviewed the expansion of the local church: “And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it (they) multiplied.” (Acts 9:31b)
If the “fear of the Lord” is so important, why don’t I pay attention to cultivating it more?
Prayer: Father, I humbly call for your guidance. Book learning isn’t enough although it starts the process of action resulting in CHANGE. Learning must continue through the process of turning to change. Help me, O God. I call for you. AMEN