A Proverbial Potpourri
Let’s read Proverbs 16:17-22
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul. 18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. 20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he. 21 The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. 22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.
There are several different ideas here that I think are important. First, one verse that I have committed to memory is verse 18. Pride is an attitude that usually precedes a problem. This idea is portrayed often in TV and the movies as someone bragging about something and then that very thing goes haywire. It’s usually pretty good for laughs unless it happens to you or me…then it’s not so funny. We are told in other passages of the Bible that God resists the proud and exalts the humble. Humility is a defining characteristic of the child of God. This is also reflected in verse 19. Humility is to be valued far above pride.
Verse 20 is a general truth. If we obey or “heed” the word of God we will find good. We will be happy, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Verse 21 is also something to take to heart. “Sweetness of the lips” is an expression for something that is pleasant. Pleasantness increases learning. When we are pleasant to others, we are a more effective teacher.
Finally, verse 22 is wisdom to take to heart for all of us. Understanding is something that we all find ourselves lacking in at some point or another. When we say, “I don’t understand” we communicate our lack of wisdom. Sometimes, it is not our fault and so when we gain that understanding we feel great…like a well spring of life. However, the fool does not respond to correction; therefore it is folly to even try. Of course, we don’t find this out until we’ve tried a few….hundred…times. All of us are wise to evaluate any correction or instruction that we receive.