Thursday, January 24, 2013

Proverbs 9:1-12 No need to RSVP - just come!

Chapter 9 of Proverbs, Solomon’s final exhortation to gain wisdom, ends with two invitations: one from Wisdom and one from Folly. He paints the picture of Wisdom having prepared her home for guests, setting the table and calling out to all:

“Let all who are simple come in here!”

    she says to those who lack judgment. 
“Come, eat my food

    and drink the wine I have mixed.  
Leave your simple ways and you will live;

    walk in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:4-6)

Notice that this is an invitation to those who know their weaknesses. The “capable and self-sufficient” need not come to this party! Wisdom invites the simple of the world - those of us who have failed to figure it out on our own but long to understand! Those who respond to correction, rebuking, and instruction are the ones who may eat at this banquet:

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;

    whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 
Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;

    rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 
Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;

    teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” (vbs. 7-9)

Jon Courson speaks of this chapter as an invitation to enroll in the college of wisdom. He warns those who think to enroll that they need to know that they will be required to take the course on criticism. He writes, “Author Norman Vincent Peale said that the trouble with us is that we would rather be destroyed by compliments than saved by criticism. Most people would rather hears compliments than the instruction and wisdom of criticism.” (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Old Testament, Volume 2, P. 201)

This is a recurring theme in the Proverbs. Years ago I had been studying the Proverbs for a few weeks, and it seemed that every time I came to a verse that spoke to the need to be open to instruction, it was as if the LORD had highlighted those verses in my Bible. So, one day as I was speaking critically of someone to my husband (who normally would have been on board with my opinion), he turned to me and said, “Who are you to judge?” Wow! It was like a slap across the face! But, because I had been studying the Proverbs, I immediately knew that his words were not his own, but directly from the LORD. It was a rebuke from God, and I immediately admitted that Don’s words were true and deserved, so I apologized!

And what does Wisdom say about our heeding her rebukes?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  
For through me your days will be many,

    and years will be added to your life. 
If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
    if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” (vs. 10-12) 

The college of Wisdom is a tough school! Reading God’s Word and looking at yourself through its lens is painful! But if we will look intently into the mirror it holds up to us, and will trust God to work in us and make those choices necessary to make the changes, we will be transformed more and more into His image. We will graduate with honors, hearing, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Sign me up!

No comments:

Post a Comment