Every time I read Proverbs I am struck by something new. I don’t know why I haven’t noticed it before, but there is a tremendous emphasis in today’s reading on “the righteous” – how much better off they are than others, and how hopeful their lives are. Of the 78 times this theme occurs in the Proverbs, 48 of them are in chapters 10-14.
The righteous are those who make God’s way their own and seek to follow that way with all their heart.
Of course, there are always those who reject that way, who don’t see why they should take it, who believe they know best and elect to do as they see fit. Throughout the Proverbs, watch for Solomon to address those folks too. A sampling of the comments in chapters 11 – 14 is as follows:
* “The wise in heart accept instruction. The chattering fool comes to ruin” (10:8).
* “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (12:1).
* “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored” (13:18).
* “There is a way that looks harmless enough, but in the end it leads to hell” (14:12).
The whole idea is that the wise person works within community, seeking wisdom from others to help guide his life. The wise person also seeks the wisdom of God. Put it together and you have a prescription for a successful life. Note these verses: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (11:14). “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (15:22).
The problem with our time is that we often feel by seeking advice, we’re saying we don’t know how to do anything. In other words, our pride keeps us in the dark, and, as we shall see in chapter 16, that pride leads to something greater than failure.