"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 his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Proverbs 9:8-10
God is reachable. Prayer makes that possible. The Wise are teachable. Humility makes that possible. The distance between reachable and teachable is only as far away as a teachable spirit. People who know it all are very common, and so are their first cousins... The Fools. The Wise cultivate a heart that is open to receive the seed of God's Word. They allow it to take root until it bears the fruit of His character, and they are able to reap a harvest of His wisdom.
The wisdom literature of Proverbs points out that success in life is a result of meeting God at the juntion of the vertical and the horizontal. Being rightly related to Him holds the key to being rightly related to others. Self-absorbed people blasting through life politely ignoring God end up running over others who get in their way. When someone gets the idea that God is merely a speed bump on their road to success, they do not mind crashing through a crowded crosswalk filled with ordinary people.
"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name." Author Unknown
Prideful people are prayerless people. There I said it. Calling pride by the right name leaves some hope for putting it where it belongs. It must be kicked to the curb or it will constantly try to get in the driver's seat. Prayerless people have great difficulty yielding the steering wheel to God and allowing Him to be in control of their lives. They have grown accustomed to being large and in charge. They don't know where they are going, but they are making great time. Racing everywhere they go, running on fumes, and terrorizing anyone who gets in their way, they seldom stop and ask God for directions. The last words out of their mouth as they crash through the last barricade and plummet over the cliff is, "Jesus Take the Wheel!" It is little wonder that the writer of Proverbs saw this coming from a long way off.
"The wise at heart will receive commands, but a babbling fool will be ruined (thrust down)." Proverbs 10:8
My first born, Ashley, opened up a Twitter account for me. She has introduced me to the sound byte world of Tweeting. I love the gentle reminder that flashes on the screen, when I have used more than my 140 characters to Tweet my message to the waiting world. It is profound to be told by an unseen monitor of the account that I must be more clever. WOW. That is a nice way of saying, "You twit!" It gives me pause, causing me to distill my thinking into less expansive prose or write in unintelligible text-speak. U No Wht I mn?
A recent study of the Hebrew word, "wisdom" led me to "Hebrew for Christians." Thanks to John J. Parsons I learned that the Hebrews defined wisdom (khohkh-mah) as a noun that meant wisdom or cleverness. They thought of the wise man (khah-kahm) as one who was prudent and clever. The Hebrews believed that the sage advice of a person who was wise at heart came from walking circumspectly. This describes someone who had lived a life clever enough recognize what they had learned was a landmine, and to see the wisdom in walking around it rather than stepping on it. They did not yearn to personally experience the trauma and drama of an explosion. They chose to learn, not to yearn. I was reminded by Parsons that the "wise" are "clever." I couldn't agree more. I think the person who had a hand in setting up the automatic warning on my Twitter account might agree with him too. Less is more. Be brief. Be clever. Be safe. Be quiet.
"A babbling fool will be ruined (thrust down)." What a statement! It makes a strong case for keeping one's proverbial pie hole shut. Clever people are those who learn to listen to the one in authority. A fool yearns for the sound of his own voice. Go figure. Clever people learn to pray through a crisis. The Fool yearns to talk his way out of it.
The writers of Proverbs would feel right at home on a Twitter account. Very few of the statements made in the thirty-one chapters of this book would violate "The 140 Rule." The prose, parallelisms, and poetry of Proverbs are brief, to the point and packed with wise counsel.
The clever person will learn to pray. They hear and obey God's voice. The Fool debates with God and delays obedience to His counsel. The Wise learn to listen. The Fool yearns to speak. The clever learn. The foolish yearn. One humbly places themselves under authority and listens for marching orders. The other grabs the command seat, and starts giving directions. Humility leads a clever person to realize that there is no need to experiment with every disastrous decision in life. The humble do not yearn to use their lives as a test lab or their bodies as a crash dummy to prove God wrong. Through prayer they yield to His perspective, His principles, and His Person. They are wise because they have learned to listen. They have heard God's voice, and have come to trust His direction, protection and correction. They are clever because they have come to the end of themselves, and the beginning of God. They are not whipped down, stripped down versions of what God had in mind for their lives. Through prayer they have learned to rest in God's best for them. Through prayer they turn their eyes towards Jesus, and away from themselves as their center of attention and center of gravity. Prayerless people are prideful people focusing only on themselves and their own solutions.
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." C.S. Lewis
The Wise lead the way to the next great spiritual awakening. It will begin in the Church, and it will be a result of the obedience of Christ followers to the commands of Jesus. He described what He was looking for from His Church as a First Love Awakening. Jesus called His Church to remember that leaving Him and serving Him are not compatible concepts. Lack of intimacy with Him reveals a corrupted character that must be corrected. The Wise hear and obey. They learn to TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 2:7