Proverbs 18:1-4

Solomon begins Proverbs 18:1-4 with a warning that being isolated is a very bad way to live.  To cut one’s self off from family, friends, and community is often to express a selfish desire. It shows an unwillingness to make the small (and sometimes large) sacrifices to get along with others. We were created to be part of community.  Life is not a solo event. So we need to be connected to others for many reasons. “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” God designed us after His own triune nature; He designed us to live in community. The instinct many have for isolation must not be over indulged; it is against all wise judgment.

Fools obviously resist all input and rely only on their own thoughts. The wise man or woman has great satisfaction in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. This is not so with the fool; they find no delight in wisdom. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” But fools love to hear themselves talk, and want the world around them to know their opinions. Fools are never satisfied with interactions with others. If they ask questions it is to show how clever they are rather than to learn. They focus on self instead of God, and their folly flows from this wrong priority and wrong place to find delight.

Wickedness has some characteristics that define it.  Solomon reminds us that the first of those is contempt. The wicked bring contempt with them, the proud, superior attitude that thinks itself better than others and looks at those thought to be lesser with scorn. Yet it can also be said that contempt follows the wicked, because God will scorn those who scorn others. “When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace.” The second characteristic that accompanies wickedness is dishonor and disgrace. The wicked bring insults (reproach) upon those they consider dishonorable.

Solomon yet again reminds us how important our words are. With those words we can build up and help others, or tear them down. The idea isn’t that everyone’s speech is deep and meaningful. Instead the idea is that we revealed the depths of our heart by the words of our mouth. What we say matters and reveals much about our own heart. “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” When the wellspring of a man’s being is rooted in wisdom, it will then flow out from their words. Clarke wrote “That is, the wise sayings of a wise man are like deep waters; howsoever much you pump or draw off, you do not appear to lessen them.”

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