Archive for February 18th, 2019

Proverbs 18:13-16

In Proverbs 18:13-16 Solomon reminds us again that our words matter, and that we need to listen before we speak. It is common to give quick, impulsive answers to questions and problems. We respond without thinking, or without hearing the full story, or without listening completely, sometimes more interested in what we hope to say than what the matter before us really is.  That kind of response can create issues. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” To whatever extent we do this, it is foolish and shameful. It is folly because a wrong or misguided answer is likely; it is shame because we do not represent ourselves well in doing so. We need to slow down, listen and then thoughtfully respond.

God created us strong in spirit.  We can endure much. Many have wrestled long and hard under sickness but have felt themselves sustained—sometimes miraculously so—by the strength of their spirit. God put strength within us, and we can endure much. “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” But when the spirit is broken, instead of giving life it proves to be something few people can bear. We lose hope, and we cannot carry on. The definition of a ‘crushed’ spirit suggests a broken will, loss of vitality, despair, and emotional pain. Few things in the human experience are as difficult to cope with as this. It can bring anyone down.

We can never get enough knowledge, and the more we have, the more we know we need and want.  We pursue it. Wisdom desires more wisdom and knows how to get it. They show their intelligence by seeking and getting more knowledge. It is there for us to pursue and find. “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Wise men and women seek after wisdom with all their being—their heart and their ear are given over to the pursuit of more wisdom. Ross wrote “the ear of the wise listens to instruction, and the heart of the wise discerns what is heard to acquire knowledge.”

Solomon then tells us that gifts can open doors.  This is different than the earlier verses about bribery which spoke of a gift in the sense of a bribe, but a different word is used here. This proverb is a simple recognition of fact: generosity and politeness open many doors. It can get us entry. “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.” It is true that a gift can be effective in gaining an audience of even great men. We are grateful that nothing is required to come before the greatest Man, the Man Christ Jesus who offers His work as mediator without cost.  He has already chosen to love us as we are without cost except coming to Him seeking His forgiveness and love.

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