The Wise Listen to Advice

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Sunday - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM Worship Service

by: Denise Robinson

11/20/2020

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Chapter 12 of Proverbs continues with random comparisons of righteousness vs  wickedness. The chapter begins with the warning that to love knowledge is to love (or accept) discipline or rebuke. Those who hate to be corrected are called "stupid" - a word we would consider insulting, but one that works in opposition to "wisdom." The wise person heeds these admonitions and changes their lives accordingly and, as v. 2 says, gains favor with God; the stupid person ignores them and lives just the opposite and is condemned by God. Here are today's admonitions from Solomon:


The thoughts of the righteous are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous. The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush, but the speech of the upright delivers them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. One is commended for good sense, but a perverse mind is despised. Better to be despised and have a servant, than to be self-important and lack food. The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. Those who till their land will have plenty of food, but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense. The wicked covet the proceeds of wickedness, but the root of the righteous bears fruit. The evil are ensnared by the transgression of their lips, but the righteous escape from trouble. From the fruit of the mouth one is filled with good things, and manual labor has its reward. Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice.   (Prov. 12:5-15)

Was there a verse in there that made you scratch your head? For me it's verse 9: "Better to be despised and have a servant, than to be self-important and lack food." In the preceding verse we were told a perverse mind is despised. Now we're told better to be despised.... I get that last part of the sentence: it warns about being unable to care for yourself and your own basic needs and yet bragging about how wonderful you are. But what about the first part? We need to understand the context if we're ever to understand the meaning. In Solomon's time, there were laws governing master-servant relationships. The servant was more of a live-in worker with rights to pay, clothing, food, etc. The servant's salary and term of service were negotiated. So, the one hiring the servant had to be able to not only care for themselves, but care for the servant (and the servant's family if they had one). So, what the verse is saying is better to be held in low esteem and be able to care for yourself and others than to be unable to care even for yourself and go around falsely boasting about how great you are. Simply put: let your deeds talk and not your mouth. Now it makes sense. 

Meditation: pick one verse and mull it over like I did with verse 9. What more can you learn when you spend a few minutes really struggling with what a verse has to tell you?
Chapter 12 of Proverbs continues with random comparisons of righteousness vs  wickedness. The chapter begins with the warning that to love knowledge is to love (or accept) discipline or rebuke. Those who hate to be corrected are called "stupid" - a word we would consider insulting, but one that works in opposition to "wisdom." The wise person heeds these admonitions and changes their lives accordingly and, as v. 2 says, gains favor with God; the stupid person ignores them and lives just the opposite and is condemned by God. Here are today's admonitions from Solomon:


The thoughts of the righteous are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous. The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush, but the speech of the upright delivers them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. One is commended for good sense, but a perverse mind is despised. Better to be despised and have a servant, than to be self-important and lack food. The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. Those who till their land will have plenty of food, but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense. The wicked covet the proceeds of wickedness, but the root of the righteous bears fruit. The evil are ensnared by the transgression of their lips, but the righteous escape from trouble. From the fruit of the mouth one is filled with good things, and manual labor has its reward. Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice.   (Prov. 12:5-15)

Was there a verse in there that made you scratch your head? For me it's verse 9: "Better to be despised and have a servant, than to be self-important and lack food." In the preceding verse we were told a perverse mind is despised. Now we're told better to be despised.... I get that last part of the sentence: it warns about being unable to care for yourself and your own basic needs and yet bragging about how wonderful you are. But what about the first part? We need to understand the context if we're ever to understand the meaning. In Solomon's time, there were laws governing master-servant relationships. The servant was more of a live-in worker with rights to pay, clothing, food, etc. The servant's salary and term of service were negotiated. So, the one hiring the servant had to be able to not only care for themselves, but care for the servant (and the servant's family if they had one). So, what the verse is saying is better to be held in low esteem and be able to care for yourself and others than to be unable to care even for yourself and go around falsely boasting about how great you are. Simply put: let your deeds talk and not your mouth. Now it makes sense. 

Meditation: pick one verse and mull it over like I did with verse 9. What more can you learn when you spend a few minutes really struggling with what a verse has to tell you?
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