Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mocker and Wise

Proverbs 9:7-9.  Mocker and Wise.

What separates the mocker from the wise is the simple, but apparently not so common trait of listening.

Naturally you would think that a fool, a mocker, a wicked person is in need of correction and rebuke.

Naturally you would think a wise person hardly if ever needs either of these.

But you’d be wrong.  Very wrong.

If you try to correct a person who is by nature not open to anything resembling correction you are likely to be insulted, hated, or even hurt.  Their folly is that they don’t and won’t listen.  That is precisely why they are fools to begin with – nobody can tell them a thing.  The Instruction of Ankhshehonqy (c200 BC) states, “fools cannot tell teaching from insult.”

But if you rebuke, correct or instruct a wise person they will grow in wisdom.  It appears as if a wise person doesn’t need these means of help but this is why they are wise in the first instance – they do listen.  They may not enjoy it but they recognize their own need of external recalibration and instruction.

A wise person is one who listens to their own need of wisdom.  They are wise in as much as they don’t think they are wise.  This is contrary to what it is imagined a wise person is.  We’d thought that a wise person is already wise, already knows – instinctively.  But this isn’t a definition of a wise person.  On the contrary.

So then Wisdom isn’t so much a state as it is a process  – a process that challenges and changes us.  It is not a finished product so much as an attitude to life and learning.

People become wise or people become fools.  If you listen you have a chance of becoming wise, and if you don’t you are likely going to become foolish.  And both these qualities compound with time.

“Instruct the wise, and they will become even wiser.  Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.”


Going Guarantee – Going Broke

Proverbs 6:1-5.  Going Guarantee.  In short – don’t. However, this Proverb is to the end of getting out of this pledge/guarantee.

But before we look at this Solomon speaks loud and clear on this matter.  He tells us it is unsafe to go guarantee – 11:15.  Why?  If the person can’t pay their debt you will and that may wipe you out.  And it has, countless times – hence his advice.  He also states it is not good judgment to go guarantee for a friend – 17:18.  If the friend defaults at some point the friendship simply won’t go the distance and your family are going to pay for their ineptitude or folly or lack of wisdom?  And even if was just that they got caught in a market downturn, through no fault of their own, you are still going to pay.  So you face the fact that a friendship will be at very least profoundly affected, and the pressure within your own family could well lead to further harm and sorrow.  And it has, countless times – hence his advice.

If you can afford to loose the sum guaranteed, well that is another matter, but in this case it is probably better to make it either a gift or a long-term-maybe-never-to-repay loan.  This way you are at the beckon call of no-one.

Going guarantee for a friend is a temptation, but going one for a stranger is extremely unwise.  Some people’s mercy speaks louder than their wisdom, and some people’s capacity to get their way drowns out common sense in those they are appealing to.

If you have gone guarantee for either a friend or stranger, and “you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said” then you need to go, swallow your pride, and do all in your power to extricate yourself from that agreement.

This is one place in scripture were your yes should have been a no, and doing something about it is encouraged.  This is one agreement you need to break/turn over.

If you can afford the loss then that is another matter, but if you have put up as security your home or livelihood then you are wise to struggle your way out of that snare, because that is what it will become.

Solomon speaks with urgency in this matter – “Don’t put it off; do it now.  Don’t rest until you do it.”  And to strengthen his advice he uses the analogy of a gazelle escaping from a hunter, or a bird from a net.  They exude maximum energy in their life saving struggle – so should you, so should we.

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

Proverbs 3:5-6.  Trust is an active quality of life and faith.  It isn’t a passive quality.  It is found/realized in the process of doing.  “Seek his will in all you do.”  Some people think of ‘trust’ as not doing anything, and waiting for answers, guidance or miracles.  But Solomon will have none of this as he sees trust is something we do on the run.  If we are doing something we have something to trust God about.  If we are doing nothing we are not trusting, we are only doing nothing.   We have no reason to trust.

Trust is something I have in God when I am committed to a course of action.  Trust is that he will guide and help us on the path, on the journey, in the process.  God isn’t our excuse for a lack of activity and risk.  He will not do what we must do, can do, should do.

‘He will show you which path to take.”  We find this out when we are walking – not when we are sitting, pontificating.

Doing gives us reason to trust.  Being committed to a course of action is when we can trust.

Do something and then trust, expecting God to guide your momentum to the right or to the left, straight ahead or turning around.  You’ll never know until you go.


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