Pondering the Principles of Proverbs
We laughed ourselves silly watching his antics, but probably never got the message.
Personally, I doubt that is the intent of the verse. I believe that, once again, we have a statement here filled with wisdom for any who will listen. I think it is much more than a simple, although covert, gospel message.
I am not denying that particular application, however. That certainly has its place. It's just that there is more.
How often have I gone off into something, because I thought it was "right," only to discover later that I was wrong! (I'm sure that has never happened to you--that's why I used myself as an example.)
The way seems right, seems good, maybe even noble, but eventually it turns out really bad.
Therefore, what is the purpose/intent/meaning of this proverb?
It would serve us well to read the context. This particular verse is 'sandwiched' in the middle of a series of statements contrasting foolishness with wisdom in various ways and settings. In each instance, there is something 'good' contrasted with something 'bad.' In each instance there is a 'way' and a 'not way.'
So, it appears to this writer that the idea of this particular verse in question has much to do with wisdom and little to do with hell.
The emphasis of this section is on wisdom and its benefits. Indeed, that is the thrust of the entire Book of Proverbs, and that is why we are pondering its principles.
Pro. 12:15 says that "the way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." The very next verse we have already looked into in "Give It No Energy."
We can see here that thinking something right in our own eyes just might qualify us for a fool's crown.
I've also learned that just because someone else thinks it's the right thing for me is not necessarily true either.
So, what are we to do? Is there a way that does not lead to death?
Of course, there is; and it is simplicity itself--though difficult to learn.
It is called wisdom. Get it. Use it. Live from it.
The three methods for obtaining wisdom are clear and concise.
The first, reflection, is required at all times in all situations regardless of which method is being used. In other words, experience without reflection will most likely incur a repetition of the performance. The same is true for imitation. Without reflection, there may just as well be imitation of the fool's game as of the sage's.
Be that as it may, let us give our attention to the three methods as listed.
The idea here is thoughtfulness; thinking about one's life and the direction one is choosing.
Much of the wisdom of Proverbs has to do with considering the things life places before you. A willy-nilly, Pollyanna approach to living may work for awhile, but the consequences pile up and before long, there will be the devil to pay.
Much of today's success literature promotes this idea.
Just do what successful people do, and you will be successful.
Just think like rich people think, and you will be rich.
This is good so far as it goes, but it will not necessarily make one wise in the totality of life.
Imitation, without reflection, may just lead you into the fool's game. In other words, the modern proverb says it this way: "learn from other people's mistakes."
However, with a mentality of "I am in charge of my own life," we fall into the trap of "Mother please! I'd rather do it myself." (which I've mentioned before)
So, IMITATION is good as long as it is accompanied by reflection.
As mentioned before, one wit has stated that wisdom comes from experience, and experience is nothing more than a series of bad judgments.
EXPERIENCE is the bitterest, because you must go through what you failed to consider either in your own life or from the experiences of others. Maybe you even opted for the "I'd rather do it myself" form of gaining wisdom.
Again, though, if not joined with reflection, thoughtfulness, PAYING ATTENTION, it is something you will undoubtedly experience again and again until you do so. And, Dr. Phil will be right there asking, "How's that workin' for ya?"
A verse from Aerosmith's song, "Dream On" may be appropriate here:
Half my life's in books' written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it's true
All the things you do, come back to you
Therefore, if your way seems right, GO FOR IT! You will find out eventually if it was the way of wisdom.
However, if you will first apply some of the principles mentioned here, you may be able to avoid unnecessary heartache.
All comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. They will be posted immediately without the necessity of approval.
If you haven't already, sign up to have these studies FREELY delivered directly to your inbox. The link is just above the picture of the ugly guy who writes this stuff. Your e-mail address is safe with me, and will NEVER be given, sold, rented, or otherwise distributed to anyone else. Nor will I use it to solicit you by any other means. You will have the option to opt out of receiving the e-mails with each and every posting.