PONDERING the PRINCIPLES of PROVERBS
Solomon wrote his Proverbs for the people of Israel over whom he ruled. We saw in the beginning that his purpose was for anyone who reads them to grow in wisdom.
But, we no sooner get out of the gate than we are confronted with a controversial statement:
Are we to assume from this statement that non-believers don't know anything? Try it, and you will be laughed out of town losing all credibility with anyone. That is obviously not the intent of the verse.
So then, what about the second part: “...but fools despise wisdom and instruction?” Are we to assume that all those who despise instruction are fools?
There is no escaping the fact that holding instruction in contempt is a foolish thing to do. Kids drop out of school after years of not paying attention. Their foolishness catches up with most of them later on in life.
Adults who quit learning after their school years also fit this category of foolishness. I know that the learning curve on many things is steep and challenging the older one gets; but that is no reason to give up learning. People of my parents' generation gave up trying to learn how to use a dvd player. People of my own generation have not tried to keep up with technology forsaking such things as a cell phone, because of the learning curve associated with mastering the device.
Can they get along without whatever it is they refuse to learn? Absolutely.
However, that is not the point. The cessation of learning, or the refusal to learn is contrary to nature.
When we first come into this world, we begin exploring everything we can. It is in our makeup, genes, DNA, however you want to place it. It is natural to learn. Not learning is unnatural.
So, we see that there is a certain element of truth in the second part of the verse apart from the first.
However, this verse cannot be fully understood in parts, but only as a whole. The first part is explained by the couplet adjoined: “...fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
According to Keil & Delitszch, scholars of the Hebrew language, the inverted placement of the couplet implies that “the wisdom and discipline which one obtains in the way of the fear of God is only despised by the hard, thick, stupid” people.
So, we might render this verse: “Those who discount the knowledge that comes from the wisdom and instruction of following the Lord are not very bright.”
This is the situation we have today—as we have had probably in every generation. There are those who discount, despise, or count as useless anything that may seem like “religion” to them. They learn, but not from any spiritually-based texts, especially the Bible.
The sadness of their situation is rendered plainly by Paul in his letter to Timothy--”Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Tim. 3:7) How many of these types I have known in my life—ever learning, but never finding peace with their learning.
Yes, true knowledge—knowledge that liberates—begins when one submits oneself to the grace and mercy of God. Everything else is simply pieces of a puzzle that will never make sense without the knowledge of God.
What about you? Are you a life-long learner (student)? What are you in process of learning at present?
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